2016 — 20 September: Tuesday

It occurs to me that another — much simpler — pointer to the onset of greater maturity, of course, could be the Old Age Pension that's about1 to kick in! Perhaps I should rush out and buy some purple clothing? Or settle for another cuppa until the shops actually open?

A long, very interesting, essay...

... titled "I used to be a human being" on some of the woes and unwisdom of the distractions of our modern, webbed age. The surprise (perhaps) being the identity of its author.

While I won't...

... be getting Paula Becker's biography of Betty MacDonald I remember reading four of her books with great pleasure, in the early 1960s. My favourite (I was an odd child) being "The Plague and I". And my favourite line from that being "I wanted to say, 'Look who's talking', for Charlie's b.o. preceded him like a fanfare and followed him like an echo."

Speaking of plagues...

... I notice that BEPA, the polygraph association, is still peddling its pseudoscience. And still failing to poof-chek its website. Amazing. I regard the continuing presence of the antipolygraph folk a much healthier sign. Would I lie?

If the leader...

... of the Lib Dems thinks the UK can fully fund the NHS just by putting up taxes (without also saving some serious money like, say, cancelling the renewal of Trident, and not paying at least twice as much as 'needed' for the latest nuclear power plant) then he faces a rude awakening. Demand in the NHS is essentially infinite; has nobody realised that yet?

I returned...

... from my little bookshop expotition — to the well-stocked Waterstone's in Ringwood2 — happily clutching further proof that no time spent in a bookshop is ever wasted, though money may well be. The (by then) fully-defrosted slices of banana I'd chiselled out of the pack of frozen raspberries and blackcurrants made a pleasant 'late lemonses' snack with an elegant scoop of vanilla icecream — is there no end to my life of utter unbridled hedonism?

And my subsequent/consequent 'late lunch' of roast chicken was much improved this time by adding the plum sauce to the rice and peas to soak up some of the excess microwaves. Rather than pouring it on as a chilly afterthought.

My clutch, beginning with the non-fiction:

Four non-fiction titles

Plus some (very rare) short fiction from one of my long-time favourite writers:

David Lodge short fiction

Having dipped, with some delight, into each of these goodies I've chosen a telling little anecdote about La Thatch:

... her speechwriter Ronnie Millar took her to see Evita. "It was a strangely wondrous evening yesterday leaving so much to think about," she wrote to Millar the next day. "I still find myself rather disturbed by it. But if they [the Peronists] can do that without any ideals, then if we apply the same perfection and creativeness to our message, we should provide quite good historic material for an opera called Margaret in thirty years' time!"

Date: 1978

The same tale is recounted a little differently in Millar's own (excellent) memoirs, "A View from the Wings":

I took Margaret to the Tim Rice / Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita at the Prince Edward. She thought the direction by Prince Hal was terrific. Hal Prince would have been doubly flattered.
In her bread-and-butter letter to me she wrote, "I was thinking, if a woman like that [Eva Peron] can get to the top without any morals, how high could someone get who has one or two?"

Date: 1993

I wonder if we'll ever find out?


1  Assuming my recent online application works its way through a guvmint IT system without glitching. What are the chances of that?
2  My cunning way of dodging the Soton Boat Show.