Most of the Common-Place books you find in auctions or second-hand bookshops date from the nineteenth century—usually before about 1860—and are dull, dull, dull! They invariably contain passages from history books, books of sermons, and extracts from poems by Felicia Hemans and Robert Southey. Often they are illustrated by amateurs who like to think they can draw. Occasionally there are exceptions to this rule, but these rarely surface. So it’s nice in this Age of the Internet to find a Common –Place book that contains some information that is not always easy to find using Google. Such is the volume that we at Jot HQ discovered in a box of ephemera the other day.
This item in question is an orange, octavo sized HMSO indexed book containing entries in ink and biro and clippings from magazines, the latest of which dates from 2007 check. The writer may be someone called Michael Revett—because under ‘ Anagrams’ we find three offerings, namely Vertical Theme, Three Malt Vice and Three Claim Vet. There is a Michael C. Revett who in 1975 married the printmaker Eileen Revett in Suffolk, and he seems to be the only real candidate. This Revett is interested in computing and other aspects of science and technology, because one of the cuttings comes from the New Scientistand many of the Common-Place book entries have a scientific theme.
Here are some of the more entertaining facts in the book:
Some profound observations by Mr Yogi Berra, the famous American baseball player.
‘You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there’
‘You can observe a lot by just looking’
‘There are some people, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell ‘em’.
‘You don’t hear much about born-again Buddhists’. Continue reading