Author Archives: Jot 101

Going to the Sales in 1906

olivias-shopping-001Now that the January sales appear to be in full swing it might be valuable to take the advice of the pseudonymous ‘ Olivia ‘, a copy of whose ‘ prejudiced guide to the London shops ‘of 1906 cropped up in a pile of books. This chatty and opinionated, and possibly American-born, veteran of West End emporia, took retail therapy to new heights in her search for quality, elegance and good value. Here’s what she has to say about the vexed matter of sales.

The magic word that stocks our wardrobes, deletes our purses, disorganizes our routine, fascinates us, repels us, delights us, disappoints us twice a year regularly in London—for how much is it not answerable?

The ethics of sales are so disturbing, one time so morally and clearly good, the next minute so conspicuously disappointing and bad, that no woman, I believe is quite settled in her mind regarding them. 

Personally, I find it a delightful thing to buy a pretty piece of stuff ‘marked down ‘.Even when I can buy the same thing fresh and by the yard, and at the identical price, it never thrills as does that remnant with the wrong amount of yards, the torn edge, and the marked down price. There is no doubt we all love a bargain, even when it is only on paper.

This trait in our feminine character is fully appreciated by the shopkeeper. Therefore, there are sometimes disappointments to be encountered at sales. On the other hand, some of us attempt to remain level-headed in the matter, and are not to be won over. Continue reading

Google Blaster – the name game

A young jotwatcher, one Simione, from the Silicon Fen area has sent in famous_fantastic_mysteries_195306this amusing game that can be played using an iPhone or laptop. One player picks 3 people of seemingly equal fame and then all the players have to say (in order) who has the highest google rating i.e. number of hits. It is best when searching to put the full name in inverted commas – e.g. “Kevin Bacon.” Players score 1 point for naming the person with the most hits and an extra 2 points for naming all 3 in correct order. First to ten , at that point you can play again but one session is usually enough. Try Marcel Proust, Jorge Luis Borges and Vladimir Nabokov. The leader is Borges at 7.88 million, Proust at 4.68 and Nabokov at 3.3 million.

In the realm of popular youth culture who is the biggest – Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga? Bieber wins at 168 million, Lady Gaga 137M and Taylor trails with a mere 127 million. Results can change day by day and rather randomly. People currently in the news do well, as do those associated with technology. Best to avoid common name like James Brown or John Taylor.

You can mix cultures to make it more challenging – say Kafka, Ayn Rand and Samuel Beckett— predictably Kafka comes in at number one with 7.74M, objectivist Ayn Rand at 5.7M and Beckett with only 3.97 million hits.  [See our illustration which brings Rand and Kafka together.]
Names of rock bands can be fun – try Kraftwerk, Radiohead, Metallica (it’s Metallica by a country mile.)

With Elvis, Bob Dylan and Albert Einstein, the scientist leads, followed by Bob and trailed quite closely by ‘The King”. (Allegedly Dylan once chucked  Phil Ochs out of a limo for suggesting he would never be as big as Elvis – turns out Ochs was wrong!) Super heroes throw up some surprises- at 100 million Super Mario has more hits than the Hobbit and Darth Vader combined. Theoretically you could try Oranges, Apples and Lemons or Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle but celebrities are the most fun. The name of the game, according to Simione was suggested by the cocktail in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster*. Simione also suggests it could be a drinking game with the loser having to buy a round or the winner drinking a shot. More sober players could play for money, say a  $1000 a point.

He (or she) suggests you try William Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling and John Lennon or Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Bjork. Such fun!

*Beeblebrox advised that you should “never drink more than two Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters unless you are a thirty ton mega elephant with bronchial pneumonia.”

 

George Sims and espionage

img_2750Found in a thriller by George Sims (1923 -1999) an interesting letter about the book. Sims was a successful and much admired dealer in rare books, something of a poet and a novelist with several of his books being about the book trade (bibliomysteries.) This book Who is Cato? (Macmillan, London 1981) actually has an art dealer, one William Marshall (rich but disillusioned), as its hero. He becomes involved in espionage through his connection to  ‘Intelligence’ in WW2 and finds himself working against the KGB many years later while on holiday in Majorca…

The letter from Sims to a woman friend, who ran a bookshop, is on headed notepaper from his cottage ‘Peacocks’ in Hurst, Berkshire. It reads:

Many thanks for your helpful cheering letter. I was glad to have it. Probably I’ve told you that when Cato was published we were in America and our daughter phoned to say that there had been a mysterious burglary at our cottage in which nothing was taken. When I came back I was puzzled as to how an entry was made into our cottage and my office; nothing was missing not even some £10 notes in the office drawer… exactly like the burglary which took place at William Marshall’s cottage near Hambleden!!

Obviously someone thought I knew more than I did. I was to blame as I had signed the official secrets document when I was at the SCU, and there was quite a deal of fact mixed with the fiction. Love George.

The S.CU. ‘Special Communications Units’ were outstations of S.I.S (‘Special Intelligence Services’) involved mostly with radio communications. They were disbanded in 1946. Sims, known to be irascible, appears quite philosophic about this incident. His books are collected, especially the bibliomysteries, also his excellent and still mouthwatering catalogues

The Bruno Hat hoax 1929

13883Found – Society Racket: A Critical Survey of Modern Social Life (Long, London 1933) by Patrick Balfour (Baron Kinross) – a journalist. At the time of this book he was ‘Mr Gossip’ at the Daily Express and the character Adam in Waugh’s Vile Bodies was probably partly based on him (Adam becomes ‘Mr Chatterbox’ at the ‘Daily Excess’.)

Balfour covers the 1929 hoax surrealist exhibition at the Guinness’s house in Buckingham Gate SW1:

‘Then an invitation was sent out to a “First exhibition of Pictures by Bruno Hat” in Mr and Mrs Guinness’s house. It was accompanied by the following biography:

Mr Bruno Hat came to England with his father in 1919 from Lubeck. After having lived in this country a short time, Mr Max had married an English woman, and bought a general dealers shop in Sussex, where he lived until he died in 1923. The shop is now managed by Mr Bruno Hat with the help of his stepmother.

Mr Bruno Hat is now 31 years of age. Apart from some two months or so at a Hamburg art school, he is entirely self-taught. In frequent visits to London, exhibitions provide him with little little more than a glimpse of contemporary movements in painting. He has never, until now, exhibited a picture. A month ago, however, several examples of his work were taken to Paris, and the opinion there was so immediately favourable that successful arrangements have been made for an exhibition there In the early winter. Continue reading

More Bright Young Thing Parties

img_2731In an earlier jot we referred to a Schoolboy Party held at the Punch Club in 1932 which was attended by the cream of young society but there are many more such parties covered in the now rare book Society Racket: A Critical Survey of Modern Social Life (Long, London 1933). Patrick Balfour (Baron Kinross) was a journalist, at the time of this book he was ‘Mr Gossip’ at the Daily Express and the character Adam Fenwick-Symes in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, who works for a while as ‘Mr Chatterbox’ at ‘The Daily Excess’ may have been partly based on him.

Balfour traces this style of party back to the ‘freak’ parties of the nineteenth century citing Lady Castlereagh’s parties where guests took chloroform. In the era before the BYT’s many parties were marked by extreme drunkenness among the young toffs  and women were either excluded or fled to their rooms rather than risk an encounter with ‘drunken gentlemen.’ Balfour writes “..right up until the war, in the days of the Empire Promenade, young men used to behave drunkenly in public.’ By the late 1920s this was disapproved of. He notes that the themed parties started in a modest way with things like ’Treasure Hunts’ and ‘Midnight Chases’ as a reaction to the dullness of the sozzled, dowager-ridden previous generation.

They set the Thames on fire at Henley, they held a false surrealist exhibition of a hoax artist called Bruno Hat, the leaflet for which -‘Approach to Hat’ is now extremely collectable. Among the parties recorded by Balfour were a Circus Party, A Russian Party, A Baby party, A Wild West party and the famous ‘bottle and bath’ party put on by Brian Howard and Elizabeth Ponsonby. The two hired St. George’s Baths at the height of a heat-wave, so that their guest might swim between dancing and supping. This do caused a shock in the media, mainly because the music was provided by a ‘negro’ band. David Tennant gave a Mozart party where guest wore 18th century costume, there was a wild party in Royal Hospital Road in ‘fancy undress’…

In Vile Bodies Waugh writes: –“…Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Wild West parties, Russian parties, Circus parties, parties where one had to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St John’s Wood, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and night clubs, in windmills and swimming-baths, tea parties at school where one ate muffins and meringues and tinned crab, parties at Oxford where one drank brown sherry and smoked Turkish cigarettes, dull dances in London and disgusting dances in Paris – all that succession and repetition of massed humanity … Those vile bodies…”

Guernsey – a WW2 Press Diary

img_2725Found – a small  44-page wire-stitched newsprint pamphlet (no date or printer specified) entitled “PRESS” DIARY of Island Life during the German Occupation 1940-1945. Probably printed in Guernsey in late 1945. It records life under German occupation  in Guernsey through short news items. It is much concerned with the many changing rules and proclamations by the Germans regarding cars, tobacco, potatoes, curfews,  penalties for plunder of unoccupied premises (death) also it  records local crime, entertainment and privations. Cigarette rations were down to 20 cigarettes a week and 2 oz of tobacco. Many notices are brief – ‘’Rat Destruction committee advertise for dogs and ferrets.’  ‘Owners of private cars ordered to report.’ ‘Potato Board report that shortage of potatoes is due to hoarding.’ ‘First case against cyclists for riding abreast. Fined 2/6 each.’ ‘Germans order collections of old bicycle tyres, and tubes, rags, old paper, feathers, rubber, bones, leather and unbroken glass bottles’ ‘Appeal for old felt hats for making into slippers.’

Ships arriving with supplies are noted including  the one ton of delicacies- milk, chocolate, cheese and sweets donated to the island’s children by the Swiss International Red Cross in April 1941. The  Guille-Allès Library of Guernsey allowed residents 2 books at a time (raised from one.) There were many burglaries and break-ins reported and several profiteers and black marketers arrested and fined. One man arrested for breaking into a house and stealing and assaulting a woman received 12 strokes of the whip and 5 years in prison, a few were summarily shot. Continue reading

My wife is uncultured—can I improve her? (1938)

19744241506Another ‘solution’ to ‘real life problems’ from the pen of the redoubtable ( and mysterious) R.Edynbry, who doesn’t seem to have published any book other than this little volume (Real Life Problems and Their Solution) of 1938 from Odhams Press, London.

I realized when I married that my girl had few brilliant mental attainments. She had no interest in literature, nor had she even a parrot-knowledge of the names of writers or the classic books of the past. She is a product f the film era, and I have come to the realization that I have married one who comes within the category of the lightheaded. She cannot be serious for more than one minute at a time, and I get no intelligent response to my suggestions. Do you think that, with careful handling, I could introduce her into the ways of thought; to good literature; to an appreciation of the best things of life—-wean her, so to speak, from the dross? The thought that I might be ashamed of her one day appals me. What do you advise ?

‘The best thing for you to do is to concentrate on some of your wife’s good qualities and help her to develop these to the full. It is extremely unlikely you will ever be able to ‘cultivate’ her in the way you wish. There is a very large class of women who take no interest whatever in what men call culture. Even when they do appear to be interested in art, literature or classical music, it is usually to further some scheme at the back of their minds. Or, as has been said by a wit,” When women talk of astronomy, they are thinking of the astronomer “.A love of good books and literature and the fine things of life is inborn and cannot be superimposed like a coat of varnish. A fact that many psychologists have noted is that when a young girl has had her interests centred mainly on the emotions, there is little prospect of intellectual things making any appeal to her. Continue reading

A contemporary critic responds to Wyndham Lewis’s ‘Blast’

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The Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel: Spring 1915 by William Roberts

On the eve of the First World War ‘ T.P. Weekly’s John O’London records his response to the recently published first issue of Blast.

July 2nd. —I find it is not necessary to resist extravagant gospels; they cancel each other. Yesterday Futurism, today Vorticism. I should like to know the precise moment at which one becomes a fogey when ism succeeds to ism. Mr Ezra Pound does not make this plain in his “Salutation the Third”, printed in Blast, wherein one reads:

These are they who objected to newness,

HERE are their TOMBSTONES.

They supported the gag and the ring;

A little black BOX contains them.

So shall you be also,

You slut-bellied obstructionist,

You sworn foe to free speech and good letters,

You fungus, you continuous gangrene.

I have seen many who go about with supplication.

Afraid to say how they hate you

HERE is the taste of my BOOT,

CARESS it, lick off the BLACKING.

Ezra’s boot it at least tangible, and inter alia it goes far to fulfil one of the declared aims of the Vorticists, “to destroy politeness “ – Continue reading

How to Waste Money at Christmas

waste-money-christmas-pic-001How to Waste Money at Christmas

1) Order in a lot of fruit that goes bad
2) Order in flowers you have no time to arrange
3) Buy handsome presents and have them put down
4) Give a big Dance when you can only afford a Games Evening
5) Economise on heating, and give everyone ‘flu ( see Doctors’, Nurses’ bills)
6) Economise on lighting ( and let people trip over stairs and break their ankles etc)
7) Give rubbishy presents and make lifelong enemies.
8) Overdo yourself and have to go into a Nursing Home.

Extract from The Perfect Christmas (1933) by Rose Henniker Heaton.

[R.M.Healey]

500 Books with Interesting Inscriptions

img_2706Found – a 1982 book collector’s catalogue from George S Macmanus of Philadelphia 500 Books with Interesting Inscriptions. Mostly modern American and British literature, it has many direct signed presentation from the authors and  many association copies. There are the usual authors who are known to have signed a lot – Galsworthy, Masefield, John Drinkwater, Witter Bynner etc., but also uncommon signers like the great WW1 poet Isaac Rosenberg-  a copy of his play Moses signed shortly before his death, a modest condition copy at $2500. There are some inscriptions whose significance is hard to fathom- Norman Douglas’s In the Beginning inscribed by him to the effete (and highly collectable)  novelist Reginald Turner “To Reggie hoping he won’t follow Symira’s example in ‘every’ respect, from Norman Douglas.” Great condition $375. There are several Aldous Huxley 1920s novels inscribed to Anita Loos with minor condition problems in the $300 range and several Swinburne presentations at $1000 inscribed to the artist Burne-Jones. A decent buy at $1750  is George Orwells Eton leaving present. We have had dozens of these through over the years. Each boy was given a current smart cream-coloured edition of Poems by Thomas Gray. The presentation leaf reads: ‘Hunc Librum Erico A Blair’ and it is signed by the master ‘Cyrillus’ Alington. Potentially these ‘leaving present’ books exist for Cyril Connolly, Brian Howard, Aldous Huxley, Harold Acton, Henry Green and, possibly more valuable than even Orwell, Ian Fleming. Continue reading

The Old Codgers

s-l400Found – a cheap paperback called The Daily Mirror Old Codgers Little Black Book (Wolfe, London 1975.)  The book is billed as ‘100s of funny, curious and strange facts from the world famous Live Letters column…’ The Old Codgers  column, where readers wrote in to get answers on all manner of things, had begun in 1936, apparently the idea of the newspaper’s  proprietor Hugh (later Lord) Cudlipp. It finished in 1990 by which time The Mirror’s thrusting new editor Roy Greenslade considered its old fashioned and said it was “putting off the younger readers we are trying to attract.”

An article at the time in one of the broadsheets said that while the world went through ‘convulsive’ changes the Codgers remained in ‘a pre-war era redolent of flat caps, allotments,racing pigeons and Woodbine cigarettes…’ There was a bit of protest when it was axed but considering that the Codgers were receiving a 100 letters a day it was fairly muted. They often referred to their legendary Little Black Book that  claimed to contain ‘all information known to man.’ In the days of the web most of the questions that readers sent it could now be very quickly answered. Google is now ‘the little black book.’  The questions were often sent it to settle arguments ‘down the pub’. The most common question in the latter period of the Codgers was whether Stan Laurel was Clint Eastwood’s father. The Codgers research showed he was not. Below are two fairly typical Codgers answers to questions on  ‘Slippery Wednesday’ and the origin of the phrase ‘Mad as a hatter.’

‘Slippery Wednesday’ is another day that has stuck in older memories because of its dire conditions. A former horse carman recalled how he had to put sacks on his horses hooves and his own feet to get about, and that pedestrians were ‘going down like ninepins’, because of the ice. But he couldn’t remember the exact date, only that it was a Wednesday in the 1920s. We were able to tell him that it was December 21, 1927 when severe frost on overnight rain caused chaos in London and other parts of the country, resulting in thousands of street accidents.

‘Mad as a hatter’ dates from the days when hats were made of felt which was processed by having mercury rubbed over it. The unfortunate men who did the job got mercury poisoning which caused their limbs to shake and contorted their features so that they looked crazy.

The Right and Wrong People to invite to a Christmas party

how-to-ruin-christmas-illustration-001Two extracts from The Perfect Christmas (1933) by Rose Henniker Heaton.

Right people

Cheerful People

Lots of Young People

The guest with a car

The Enterprising Girl

The Elderly Woman who can tell fortunes

The Elderly Man (if red-faced and jolly).

The Handy-Man (issue invitation early, as he is in great demand).

Anybody good with children.

The Unselfish Friend.

 

Wrong people

The Bone-lazy.

The Egoist.

Mischief-makers.

Spoil-sports.

The Greedy and the Selfish.

Mean People (who suffer tortures at Christmas).

People who always feel “out of things.”

[RR]

 

A Cod Medieval Menu

design-for-chelsea-arts-club-ball-1914Found, part of a menu for the Chelsea Arts Club Ball, which was held at the Albert Hall, March 4th 1914:

Some clear Soupe—warme, ‘tis for one ande alle.

Ye Baron of Beefe, roasted ande tender

Ye Wilde Boare, hys Heade—a dishe for ye Kinge

Large Surrey Capons withe Truffles—no bones argale, eate fearlesslie

Ye Tastie Ham spyced as atte Yorke

Ye Venyson Pasty—tastilie cooked

Chykens, plump ande temptinge—trye them.

Ye Kindlye Oxe , hys Tongue

Agayne Chykens mayde toothsome by Galentyne

Dishe Pastys with Pidgeons —ryghte sustainynge

Beefe cunninglye cooked with spyces—try it

Raised Pastrys with Bubleyjocks, as they doe them in Yorkeshire—ryghte good

And thene some green stuffes with Dressinge .

AND THENE COME YE SWEETES GOODE FOR ALLE MEN ANDE MAYDENS

This year, this famous society Ball, in which fancy dress was de rigueur, must have had medieval England as its theme, although the drawing by Alex Jamieson (pictured), which sold in 2014 at Bonhams, does not suggest this. Contemporary reports record this Ball as being particularly weird and wonderful. Just a few months later many of the male party-goers would have found themselves leading troops into battle in the Flanders mud. Too many, alas, would never dance again. [RH]

Bishop Bury: a 14th century bibliomaniac

philobiblion-pic-001Bishop Bury of Durham spent so much money on books that he lived in dire poverty and debt and when he died all that could be found to cover his corpse was some underwear belonging to his servant.

The facts regarding his library are mind blowing. According to W.M. Dickie, who wrote a paper on Bury and his magnum opus , the Philobiblon, in The Book Handbook (1949), he had more books than any bishop in England. Five wagons carried them away, which suggests that the number of volumes was more than 1,500. This compares with the Sorbonne’s 1,722 in 1338, the 380 volumes at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, in 1418 and the 122 housed in the University Library there in 1424.

In his Philobiblon Bury writes of wishing to found a college in Oxford and to endow it with his library, but no college is named. Some historians have maintained that the library was bequeathed to Durham College, but there is no evidence that the college received any such endowment. The sad truth is that this wonderful library was probably broken up and sold off to pay Bury’s huge debts.

The Philobiblion is revealing as to how many of Bury’s books were acquired:

“We were reported to burn with such desire for books, especially for old ones, that it was more easy for any man to gain our favour by means of books than of money. Wherefore since support by the goodness of the aforesaid Prince (Edward III)…we were able to requite a man, well or ill, to benefit or injure mightily great as well as small, there flowed in instead of presents and guerdons, and instead of gifts and jewels, soiled tracts and battered codices, gladsome alike to our eye and heart…In good will we strove so to forward their affairs ( the affairs of donors of books) that gain accrued to them, while justice suffered no disparagement”

In this way Bury, when Keeper of the Privy Seal, was given four books, namely Terence, Vergil, Quintilian and Jerome against Rufinus by Richard de Wallingford, Abbot of St Albans, who also sold to Bury for fifty pounds of silver, thirty-two other books, of which he gave fifteen to the refectory and ten to the kitchen (presumably at Westminster Abbey), an act which was later condemned by Thomas Walsingham, former scriptorarius at the Abbey. The Abbot’s motivation in securing such an astonishing bargain for Bury was to promote the interests of his monastery at Court and indeed Bury helped him secure a royal charter giving the Abbot the exceptional right of imprisoning excommunicated persons. When Bury became Bishop of Durham in a fit of remorse he restored some of the books to St Albans. And following his death, Wallingford’s successor at the Abbey secured other volumes at a discounted price from Bury’s executors. One of these, John of Salisbury’s Policraticus—now in the British Museum—bears an inscription recording its sale to Bury and its repurchase in 1346 from his executors. Only two other manuscripts are known to have belonged to Bury. One is in the British Museum and the other is in the Bodleian. Both are from St Albans. Continue reading

Grooming by letter? Innocent pre-web days…

pen-pal-letterWhat do you think of pen friendship? My daughter has been introduced, through a club, to a pen friend in France, and so far the letters received from the French girl are quite nice in every way. But I have been studying them recently, and, here and there, have noticed remarks which might conceivably indicate that the writer is a woman and not a girl. There is nothing undesirable whatever in these letters, but I have heard so much of the clever and cunning ways certain types of foreigner have of insinuating themselves in the minds of girls, that I am somewhat in doubt as to whether this correspondence should be allowed to go on. Perhaps you will kindly give me your views on this matter.

There are several reputable agencies in this country for putting correspondents in touch with foreigners. One of their expressed aims is to promote international goodwill. Often an interchange of visits results from the pen friendships thus formed., In so far as this correspondence furthers the exchange of views of general interest –for example, young people tell of their families, schools, occupations and excursions—they serve an excellent purpose and can be very educative. The idea is to link up correspondents of about the same age and standard of living.
If your daughter was introduced by a reliable source you have little to fear. It is usual for correspondents to exchange photographs at an early stage; if this has not yet been done, you might request this favour. Then, unless her correspondent is intending to deceive, you will be able to form a pretty good estimate of her age. In any case, you will do well to supervise the letters both ways. In the event of your daughter wishing to accept an invitation to visit France, you should first take up references —through the club or privately—which would leave no doubt as to the absolute trustworthiness of her prospective hosts.

( an extract from Real Life Problems and their Solutions (1938) by R. Edynbry
[R.R]

Poets as plagiarists

 

clouston-pic-001The plagiarist today runs the risk of being sued by an artist, whether novelist, poet, composer or dramatist –or by the artist’s estate. However, in the case of poetry, it has always struck me how easy it must be for anyone entering a poetry competition to filch some particularly impressive lines from a forgotten slim volume or a short-lived little magazine. If the victim of the theft is dead there is only the slimmest possibility that the estate would discover it .

But when the theft is made from a comparatively obscure literary work many hundreds of years old and in another language the chances of the thief being detected in his or her lifetime are very thin indeed. Most literary thieves of this type are exposed many years after their own deaths. The whole issue is discussed in Literary Coincidences ( 1901) by W. A. Clouston, a folklorist and expert on oriental literature well qualified to address this matter.

One of the worst offenders seems to have been Lord Byron. In his Hebrew Melodies we find this first verse of ‘To a Lady Weeping ‘

‘I saw thee weep—the big bright tear

Came over that eye of blue;

And then methought it did appear

A violet dropping dew;’ Continue reading

Edward Thomas on Nietzsche

 

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Edward Thomas Memorial Stone near Steep

Found in the June 1909 issue of Bookman is a generally favourable review of M.A.Mugge’s Nietzsche: his life and work together with translations of the philologer-turned- philosopher’s various works.

Rather surprisingly, perhaps, the reviewer is the poet and miscellaneous writer, Edward Thomas, not known ( at least in his own writing ) as an admirer of the anti-Christian proponent of the ubermensch philosophy, though he was undoubtably, like Nietzsche, an anti-Nihilist.

Nietzsche’s distrust of historicism, and delight in the ‘ moment’ is echoed by Thomas, who sees the philosopher more as an ‘exquisitely sensitive  poet and man of culture ‘ than as a rationalist. When Nietzsche declares that “ one who cannot leave himself behind on the threshold of the moment and forget the past, who cannot stand on a single point, like a goddess of victory, without fear or giddiness, will never know what happiness is ‘, Thomas adds ‘ nor wisdom, nor beauty’.

Thomas goes on to say that when Nietzsche set up the Greeks as a model, he was choosing ‘ an utterly unhistoric people, knowing no tongue but their own ; and not only the Greek, but every man who achieves a great thought or act, he calls ‘unhistorical’, because in the power and the glory of the creative moment he forgets all that he knows, just as a beautiful living thing forgets all that makes it so in a beautiful attitude or gesture ‘. [RR]

Food and Dress on a U.F.O.

img_2634Found – a pamphlet by George King  a writer on UFOs and spiritual matters. It is called The Flying Saucers.  A report on the flying saucers their crews and their mission to earth (Aetherius Society London 1964). It deals partly  with practicalities like their monetary system (they don’t have one: ‘Every living thing has what it needs’) and their mode of dress (basically a perpetual ‘onesie’) and diet.

DRESS. The reason for the “seamless one-piece suit” which all observers of these people have remarked about, is now clear. When the Martian or Venusian comes to Earth, it is not the actual physical properties of our atmosphere of which they have to be careful. They are all adept in correct breathing methods. They could not be as advanced as they are unless this were the case. All enlightened men, either on Earth or from the other Planets, have several things in common. One of the most pronounced is the knowledge and ability to exert conscious control over the flow of the Universal Life Force through their nervous systems and subtle bodies by correct breathing. (See (See “Your Higher Self through Yoga”) It is the bacteria in our atmospheric belt against which the Space Visitors have to take precautions. The “seamless one-piece suits” protect them from the harmful effect of this bacteria. These suits are so designed as to give off a particular musical note, which drives away all bacteria from a certain area around themselves. The note or sound vibration, is quite inaudible to the human ear, possibly because of its high frequency. The benefit gained by the adoption of such a protective measure is easily understood. A Space Visitor could stand on Earth and hold a conversation with an inhabitant and be fully protected -9- from, what could be to him, foreign bacteria, without interfering  with the bacteria which is necessary to the other. It has been said by the Master Aetherius that it is possible to bring into being a similar kind of “seamless one-piece suit” which would protect the wearer while surveying the bottom of the ocean. The properties deemed necessary to afford such protective measures can be incorporated into the suit at the time of manufacture. Some of these suits are materialized by thought by their wearers. In other words, this type of dress undoubtedly forms a kind of personal protective screen around the wearer. (See Cosmic Voice) Continue reading

Dr Marx would not have approved

services_rr_624x304bThe removal of the British Library from Bloomsbury to St Pancras seems to have ushered in a new, more relaxed, attitude towards the rules governing who can acquire a reader’s card, according to a Guardian article of 2005. In it the Reading Room is described as being crowded with undergraduates, anxious, no doubt, to obtain an advantage over their peers. Under the rules prevailing in 1938, and which are contained in a Guide to the Use of the Reading Room, a copy of which we found recently in a box of ephemera, restrictions which perhaps Karl Marx might have recognised, were doubtless drawn up to limit the number of readers using the famous Rotunda. There is a distinctly schoolmasterly tone to the following advice:

The Reading Room is in fact, as well as in theory, a literary workshop and not a place for recreation, self improvement or reference to books which are obtainable elsewhere…

No person will be admitted for the purpose of preparing for examination, of writing prize essays, or of competing for prizes, unless on special reason being shown; or for the purpose of consulting current directories, racing systems, lists of unclaimed moneys , or similar publications.

‘Racing systems’ and ‘lists of unclaimed moneys’. How redolent of the seedy world of Brighton Rock, which appeared a year later.

There is also a touch of ‘Greeneland’ about the advice offered to those prospective Readers seeking a testimony :

The Trustees cannot accept the recommendations of hotel-keepers or of boarding- house or lodging-house keepers in favour of their lodgers… [R.R.]

 

How should an escort conduct himself?

young-lady-in-1938-ukSome advice taken from Real Life Problems and their Solution by R. Edynbry, published in 1938 by Odhams Press.

I have recently made the acquaintance of a very refined young lady who, I feel, is vastly superior to myself in many ways. I must confess, I am more than a little in love with her, and I should be awfully sorry to do anything which should lower me in her estimation. I believe, if I asked her, she would consent to walk out with me; but before taking this step I should like to know some of those little courtesies which every man is supposed to know. Not that I am entirely ignorant, but I am aware some of these things have to be learned, and that mistakes are easily made.

‘There are a few rules which should be observed when walking with a lady in a public thoroughfare. Don’t allow your companion to walk on the outside of the path next to the gutter; always take that position yourself. If you want to smoke ask her permission first, but, better still, wait until she suggests it to you. When raising your hat in a salute, remove your pipe or cigarette from your mouth, and lift your hat off your head. If you happen to meet a funeral, also raise your hat. If you take a bus or a taxi, allow the lady to get in first, but you must be ready to help her step down at the end of a journey. When meeting her by chance in the street, don’t keep her standing, but accompany her in the direction she wishes to go.

Should this young lady invite you to meet her people, don’t remain seated while a lady or elderly person is standing. If you have been asked to tea do not stay on until supper- time unless you have been specifically asked. Take off your hat in a private lift if ladies are present, but retain it you wish in a shop or office lift. Dress neatly and never wear anything gaudy or likely to attract attention. Don’t mix the colour of coat and trousers from different suits. A last tip. Don’t do all the talking yourself. By proving yourself a good listener, and by asking intelligent questions, you should easily keep your place in her esteem. ‘