What is a Jot?

What is a Jot?

A jot is a piece of information, short or long – found or researched. Someone met, something seen, something heard or read or found or discovered. Something found in a drawer or attic or in an email or old letter or a diary or notebook… Everybody has heard a story. Add it. Jot it.

Who gives a jot?

Enthusiasts, scholars, readers & re-readers, polymaths, historians, beatniks, robots, bibliomaniacs, humans, collectors, academics, curators, archivists, scientists, botanists, gourmets, goths, gurus, gossips, geeks, pataphysicians, psychogeographers, hipsters, bores, geniuses, diarists, pedants, intellectuals, cranks, hermits, vagabonds, flaneurs, ramblers, boulevardiers, bluestockings, idlers, dabblers, obsessives, wayfarers, beachcombers, hoarders, quizmasters, know-alls, art dealers, theorists, philosophers, jesters, occultists, avatars, psychics, walking encyclopaedias, antiquarians, autodidacts, autobiographers, nuns, monks, eggheads, vorticists, fauves, annotators, child prodigies, wikimaniacs, analysts, flash mobs, anchorites, reverists, data miners, savants, renaissance men, women & children, revolutionaries, obsessives, omnivores, entrepreneurs, engineers, sophisticates, epicures, oligarchs, arguers, inventors, dreamers, exiles, lexicographers, burners of the midnight oil / of the candle at both ends, keepers of the flame, seekers of the Grail, Utopians, topographers, voyagers, travellers, explorers, perpetual students, slackers, curmudgeons, poets, princesses, pundits, punks and pamphleteers…

… World Brain of H.G. Wells, an olla podrida, a rag bag of information, trivia and factoids. The conception of a sublime, leisured future. A hotch potch, a mélange, a farrago, a salmagundi.. Knowledge is power. Truth is beauty. Need to know this (and much more) on earth. A coming world of creation and idleness where time is spent in pursuit of knowledge and robots empty the waste paper basket. A dream of no work, all play and jack not a dull boy any more.

The oddest collection, passing strange, a saga, a fantasy, a dream…enter Captain Cuttle and the pedant Casaubon (a maligned man, Madam George). Keeping some sort of record with factoids, footnotes, ephemera, factbooks and essential trivia preserved. An information bank, an interest bearing investment. An index of all knowledge, no less, laid out in the lost monograph – A proposal for an information sharing galaxy.

An amazing expanding archive, beyond the algorithmic dream, post Mass Observation, many beautiful things no longer lost, bringing forth the mind of God, the all seeing eye – the library of Babel, Alexandria, far Antioch and the lost library of Zembla, the loot of cities. Universal access to all knowledge [A2K]. A vanished world recaptured. Notes and Queries honoured: New Encyclopaedists [Encyc2]. Nothing lost or forgotten. Time spent in research, curiosity and scholarship (the daring to be dull) the Renaissance ideal, the Victorian vicarage – just  4 hours a week of money yielding work. By Timothy! The answer is written on the wind, on the wall of the world. So much to know. Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus, all glories to Aaron Swartz, Brewster Kahle – respect… “He had a tale to tell.” Madam, I’m Adam. Exit, pursued by a bear.

terry-thomas-1-sizedThe Terry-Thomas explanation.

Using the much loved gap-toothed British comedy actor Terry-Thomas  we show what is, and what is not, a jot.

Terry-Thomas was born in 1911 Thomas Terry Hoar Stevens at 53 Lichfield Grove, Finchley.

NO. Common knowledge.

Terry-Thomas’s favourite drink was champagne. My father had a bar in Majorca and in the early 1960s Terry-Thomas holidayed there. He claims that T-T met Belinda Cunningham his third wife in his bar.It was called El Garito and catered for a louche Bohemian crowd. Terry-Thomas always called for champagne.

YES. Slight, but new information. Thanks.

Terry-Thomas with his gap toothed smile and permanent cigarette holder always reminds me of my Uncle Derek who was thrown out of the Army in 1955 for stealing the mess takings. He was a ‘bounder’ too!

NO. Irrelevant information, adds nothing.

Terry-Thomas who everybody thought was such a ‘bounder’ and so terribly funny never made me or anyone in my family laugh. I think he was pretty lame.

NO. Opinion, and no new information. Also hard to believe…

I met a guy who had worked on a movie with Terry-Thomas. It was being shot in one of the hardest parts of Glasgow and after filming T-T insisted on dragging him and the crew to an exceptionally thuggish hardcore pub. T-T was in fine form, loud and posh and full of the joys of life and celebrity. He didn’t change his style one iota for the local hard nuts. The guy thought there would almost certainly be a punch up but strangely the locals thought he was great and admired him for being exactly who he was and not changing his style.

YES. A jot. Good story, hopefully true and new information. A few more facts like the date, the name of the movie and the name of the pub would be even better.

A jot adds new and original information, it is not irrelevant and it is not opinion. Every single posting on jot101 is a jot.