Friday, 11 January 2008

not so hot

I will try not to be too boring about the awful heat we've had to put up with in Melbourne of late. Tis all better now which is why I can bear to touch a computer again. When the temperature goes over 40 all I can manage is to loll upon the floor in a darkened room and wait. In those conditions I hate the sensation of any one part of my own body touching any other, and as for sitting on chairs or sofas or lying on the bed, why it is exactly like being made into a Beef Wellington. The chickens didn't appreciate the weather either. I wanted to take them to the pool this afternoon, they'd have been quite safely enclosed and I'm sure they would have adored it - all those crumbs of chips and sausage roll scattered over the buffalo grass, and loads of dirty puddles on concrete for them to drink out of. A concrete-lined puddle of greasy water is which the cat food bowls have been washed is the sweetest ambrosiacal nectar to them so imagine how much they would relish the warm and faintly clouded water that rolls off the limbs of teenagers queuing up to do bombs off the low diving board.

Yesterday and today I read The Pursuit of Love and then Love in a Cold Climate which I last read when I was about fifteen and a terrible bourgeois prig, as well as not liking the sex jokes I disapproved of the way neither Nancy Mitford nor any of her characters seemed to be ashamed of being members of the upper classes. But no novel could possibly have been more suitable for a reader in need of expertly administered coolness. This time, the only thing that I did not find delightful was the description of the stiflingly hot Hons' Cupboard. Now I want to find, buy if I can, and read a collection of essays edited by Mitford called Noblesse Oblige which I understand is about U and non-U: if I made a list of my favourite topics (doing this would probably be quite a fun thing to do, if utterly useless otherwise) U would have a very good shot at getting into my top one hundred I'm quite certain.

Speaking of wanted books (is there ever anything else to talk about? other than shoes and animals etc) some days ago Dorian said, out of the blue, "if you really want that Mansfield Park book you should just buy it" but I did not buy it, and now someone from Portugal has nabbed it instead. According to their ebay buying history this person has spent about eight thousand dollars on rare and antiquarian books in the past month and a half. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out this is how the owners of Spanish shoe manufacturing concerns play ducks and drakes with their profits. Also, I've still not managed to get that Bayard book with the title which is so embarrassing to have to tell to the bookshop salesperson. I tried five bookshops this week and four of them didn't have it. The fifth one was closed. Readings have it of course but Readings is six hundred miles away from here and petrol is currently $16.50 a litre. A return train ticket into town now costs $10.20 which is an unmitigated outrage. I will order the book from Readings by post.

MORAL: Don't look on ebay, and never, ever read the LRB.

Also, I have formed another new years' resolution: to cut down on intensifiers.


fifi said...

Yes, over 40 C is horrid.
Glad the cool change has arrived, I am heading to Melbourne and was a little worried about having to lie on the floor in the middle of an art history conference.

beef wellington. heh.

TimT said...

I think I saw Noblesse Oblige on a table at Federation Square. Not sure when they have their book markets, either Saturday or Sunday, but there's a good chance the same seller will turn up with the same wares.

genevieve said...

LT, why don't you just let the publisher know you'd like a copy to review for your book blog? Bugger paying for it. You would be doing readers a public service reviewing it for Sars anyway.
However you might have to wait a bit I suppose. Depends how quickly you want to read about talking about things you haven't read, doesn't it.
Or borrow it from Latrobe when it gets in there.

Anonymous said...

What's an intensifier?

Anonymous said...

oh and i meant to say, anon, above, is me, sophie.

David said...

Oh my god Sophie I can't believe you don't know what an intensifier is.

(awkward smug silence)

Cast Iron Balcony said...

So, what IS an intensifier?

(Awkward embarassed silence)

ZOMG1, Laura, I can't believe the coincidence. I bought LIACC and TPOL (Both novels in one volume) last year to re read. Laugh-out-loud funny! I'd so forgotten how funny they are!

I'm pushing it onto Girlchild, she is resisting, however she is reading the Portrait of Dorian Gray and 1984, completely unprompted.

lucy tartan said...

don't you people have Google? 'an intensifier is a word that adds emphasis' (about third result down.)

I overuse these - especially really and particularly. They represent an crippling lack of faith in the capacity of normal nouns and adjectives to do their jobs unassisted.

CIB, yes I hope girlchild can be persuaded. Very few books deal with adult female relationships so well and so entertainingly (Cranford is the only other I can think of right now.)

Rebekka said...

Quelle coincidence. I was reading LiaCC and PofL to my beloved over the really hot days. We both laughed uproariously. Then I had to read him Don't tell Alfred, as we wanted more.

I've ordered some more Nancy Mitford novels - The Blessing, Highland Fling and something about pudding? (Can't remember that last title), but I'm really trying to get my hands on Wigs on the Green, which she wrote as a piss-take of her sisters' fascist views.

Miss Eagle said...

The Book Market at Fed Square is on Saturdays in the big open space where the restaurants/coffee shops are leading up to BMW Edge and the NGV.

I love the Mitfords. I am so antique/vintage that I got on to the Mitford's via Jessica's Hons and Rebels when it was promoted long ago in The Women's Weekly when it was a weekly and still a decent magazine. Social cameos so absolutely foreign to a girl from the bush! That Comm Jessica, the Fascist, Dianna (with her French chic), the romantic Nancy, mad Hitler-loving Unity with the white rat, and the one who seems the sanest of all: Deborah who wanted to grow up to marry the Duke of Right and did - she became the Duchess of Devonshire and, after the death of her husband in recent times, the chatelaine of one of the more wonderful English places and she writes about chooks!

Blessings, bliss and happy new year

lucy tartan said...

Rebekka, how amazin' - I was only just wondering whether to bother trying to find a copy of Don't Tell Alfred.

Susoz said...

I read Noblesse Oblige when I was about 17 and didn't really understand the context but it's subsequently been very useful knowing about U and non-U. I might even still have that copy, but I'm sure you'd find it in a library.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe you didn't believe I didn't actually know what an intensifier was. Awesome.

Cast Iron Balcony said...

don't you people have Google? 'an intensifier is a word that adds emphasis' (about third result down.)

For some reason, I had assumed it was some kind of hair product.

Cast Iron Balcony said...

And, your writing? Ain't broke, don't fix it.

(Jeez, or jeebus rather, you can't half tell I spend hours reading American blogs...)

TimT said...

For some reason, I had assumed it was some kind of hair product.

Intensifier (tm)! Just apply it to your head, and it will turn your hair from non-descript into very non-descript! It won't happen overnight, but it really will happen!

Intensifier (tm)! Endorsed by really quite a lot of supermodels!

Cast Iron Balcony said...

That reminds me, I must make an appointment to have some more intensifier put in.

Ann O'Dyne said...

Dear Laura - I have the new 800pp Letters between 6 sisters which is hysterical as well as educational and I will bring it to the thing on Feb 2 if you would like it.
My first Mitford reads were decades ago and the history books on Sun King & Marie Antoinette, then ABC ran the series on the books you mention and I was hooked.

dysthymiac said...

a contemporary review of Noblesse Oblige by TIME 1956

I am still reading 'Letters' and cross-referencing in Cecil Beaton's Diaries 1940's until I can get again Copperwitch's Diaries of Chips Channon to cross-cross-ref ... au secours!