Tag Archives: Literature

Quote [55] – Social Prosperity, Art & Beyond Maintenance

“If one would estimate the damage done by the great political catastrophe to the development of human civilisation, one must remember that culture in its higher forms is a delicate plant which depends on a complicated set of conditions and is wont to flourish only is a few places at any given time.  For it to blossom there is needed, first of all, a certain degree of prosperity, which enabled a fraction of the population to work at things not directly necessary to the maintenance of life; secondly, a moral tradition of respect for cultural values and achievement, in virtue of which this class is provided with means of living by the other classes, those who provide the immediate necessities of life.

During the past century Germany has been one of the countries in which both conditions were fulfilled.  The prosperity was, taken as a whole, modest but sufficient; the tradition of respect for culture vigorous.  On this basis the German Nation has brought forth fruits of culture which form an integral part of the development of the modern world.  The tradition, in the main, still stands; the prosperity is gone.  The industries of the country have been cut off almost completely from the sources of raw materials on which the existence of the industrial part of the population was based.  The surplus necessary to support the intellectual worker has suddenly ceased to exist.  With it the tradition which depends on it will inevitably collapse also, and a fruitful nursery of culture turn to wilderness.”

The world as I see it

Intermission: Books & Authers [2]

Nearly all my favourite books have been presented to me by others – Where i meant to head in my previous post.

Yesterday Terry Pratchett died – giving rise to this note  – 66 it seems really rather young. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-31858156 – it came eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  I saw him appear on the news, what seems like not so very long ago, being interviewed on the condition, it seemed a brave thing to do, in pursuit of raising awareness.

I have only read one of Terry Pratchett’s books, tending not to read fiction, he was in fact a co-author and idea that struck as somewhat unusual in itself.  The book was lent to be by Oscar and is one off only two fiction books that i have read through and done so with genuine enthusiasm, this might seem like faint praise but considering the underlying disinclination to reading this is quite the thing.

Its not my favorite book, that was book i was given by my closest friend at that time – Harry – that was 1984, a book so great that i experienced for the first and only time that thing other people bandy about, the book they just cant put down. That was a book i never expected to enjoy not merely because it was a book but also, I’d seen snippets of some 70s 1984 movie in Switzerland, on a couple of occasions and while it was in German it was fair to say that it was not the need to translate the lent me to consider that it probably wasn’t all that good.  So snippets remained all i had seen.. and as the universal truth goes, anything worth reading will exist in full technicolor visual TV/Movie form..& all the better for it …  and if this is what that looked like, well no thank you kindly – so then the book turned up, a present .. presents come with a level of per-requests & really rather glad off and so do enthusiastically offered loans – and that bring me back to Mr Pratchett and my second favorite and totally not 1984 fiction book.

Pratchett Good Omens CoverOscar writes notes all over his books, scrawled little aids to which i payed little attention, other than appreciating that the pencil work was an ever present.

I remember liking this book from start to end, 1984 took some acclimatising too, not Good Omens, for me it held in such great balance the odd and the day to day, the character constructs with the what if, crafting the interwoven character plot lines and bringing them together with balance and humour.

Altering the world, twisting it a phew shades on its axis, imagination laced with humour, valuable skills that make the world a bigger place.

So while everyone looses aspects of themselves to time and there is no value in ranking afflictions, the rapid erosion and distortions of what make you who you are & gives you your connections to the world (my limited understanding of such conditions) seems a most cruel fate.

Aside from enjoying the book, there is something great about being proven wrong, especially when it’s in a negative opinion and something rather nice about friends being able to see your enjoyment in a thing even when you can not.  Its a small trivial matter but for this and the enjoyment of the of the book I am rather grateful.

Intermission: Books & Authers [1]

Nearly all my favourite books have been presented to me by others – a statement more in context with the entry i had meant to scribble before all to promptly finding id  diverted myself off ..

As a youngster these came mostly in the form of Roald Dahls books – the BFG, the twits.  It’s quite possible he will forever remain my favourite author.  Improved even further than his natural talents by the invaluable additional merit that at that time the books were read to me.

Ive always intently disliked reading a feeling almost entirely unrelated to the fact I’m not very good at it, my attention wonders, whole section pass only to realise the reading bit hasn’t bothered to hand on its harvest to the processing bit – then do you read it again or come back to it another day – and then in those occasions when the words to form sentences and the sentences retain some meaning, well on those times the celebration and effort of it being so nap educing, so as to inevitably be most short lived.

BFG cover Roald dahl book
Roald Dahl twits book cover

The inclination to site Dahl so immediately is kind of odd because in many ways these were not the books that I remember enjoying the most, as good as they are.  They are though the ones that if ever asked would most immediately come to mind.

I can remember no stories from the Nicholas books, yet I would say these were the ones that naturally appealed to me the most, back in those times. They were the ones I might even have read of my own accord.
Perhaps like a popcorn movie, there must be a reason why the stories have faded, they appeal but don’t mean so very much – not sure.

The books that have followed and whose stories are readily recalled are those of A.A Milne’s Pooh, remembered probably with the most fondness but still not coming so immediately to mind as the odder, slightly darker, odder, world of Dahl.
Milne’s creation is warm, all heart – Dahls were not, coming instead from a mixture of all kinds of places.
Nicholas and the gang book cover
Winnie the pooh cover MilneWinnie Pooh Bear Piglet Woozle
It seems, in the spirit of popcorn ways, some thing have their moment and within them they are the brightest thing but beyond that time they are lost – extinguished.

Catwalk fashion, Italian cars, red dwarf (to a way leaser extent) things that belong to their time.  All things do but their time is notably short.  Go go your local Italian car dealer, there they are-sleek lined up to the moment look … You buy it and if fortune favors you and you succeed in getting in coaxing it to get you as far as home, chances are you will wake up and look at it one not to distant morning and wonder upon what it was you were thinking.  Like shoulder pads, the mullet or willingly voting for tony blair.  You know it happened but it’s inexplicable as to why.

Dahl and Milne are not of a time & this wasn’t the post I intended to excrete. But a deluge of unnecessary commuter preamble.

Still there is value in the moment – would Magyver have been the memorable one man a team were he robbed of his mullet? I for one have always very much enjoyed my time in Fiat Panda hire cars – like dodgems – and find those earlier slanderous accusation as to reliability utterly unfounded.
Nicholas and The gang picture