Sunday, 30 December 2007

The Man Who Was Sunday

I’m heavy with a cold and in no mood or fit state to write. I’m about to climb back into bed and finish G.K. Chesterton's ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’. For contractual reasons to do with the Richard&Judy Book Club, I can’t recommend that you read it. It’s not about middle-aged women experiencing life-changing events on holiday in Spain, or office romances set in Luton. Nor is it the heart warming tale of the survivor of an explosion at the country’s largest kipper factory. In fact, it’s not the sort of thing that would get into our book club, it being a silly little tale about anarchy and order, written in prose that shines like polished silver. I’m reading it very slowly so I can savour every moment of its brilliance. I certainly don’t recommend that you rush out and buy yourself a copy.


Swearing Mother said...

Ah bless you Richard, hope you will be better in time for the New Year festivities.

And just to say, I am not going to take you up on your non-recommendation and rush out and by that book by G.K.Chesterton.

But it's good, isn't it?

AxmxZ said...

I read that book - well, listened to the audiobook - back when I was still pushing papers in a law firm. Along with Conrad's "Secret Agent." And I'm still reading "Under Western Eyes" - I guess I'm on a bit of an antique terrorism kick.

If you like Chesterton's 'nightmare' and you want to get acquainted with good Russian literature, I heartily recommend Viktor Pelevin. His undertones are mostly Buddhist as opposed to Christian, but he's also on great terms with mystifications, mysticism, humor and, despite his translator's bestial efforts, damn fine prose.

However, I wouldn't recommend reading Pelevin while under the influence of any narcotic/psychedelic substances, as his prose may substantially heighten their effects. So wait until you're off Lemsip.

Selena Dreamy said...

I’m heavy with a cold and in no mood or fit state to write

My feet and hands are frozen, as I am returned from the hunt. But as an equestrian female, having just stabled my horse, I consider the common view that cold air causes influenza to be altogether unscientific. On the contrary. It can only be invigorating. So what's the problem? Well, I'll tell you what the problem is. Faced with the New Year, you‘ve come down with a very bad psycho-immune deficiency. Or, as the case may be, the bird flu. Possibly even worse.

And what is the treatment of the common cold?

I cannot say too much, for fear that the discriminating eyes of Ms Judy might be inspecting these words. And you could, of course, walk into the local A&E. Or call the NHS directly.

But I’d refuse such advice with effusion.

Get a lap-dancer, I say, and don’t worry about de Missus. The curative properties of a libidinous surge are immeasurable. Evidently, in the circumstances, this is a delicate situation, but if you could give me some indication as to which type of dancer you prefer, I will ensure that your request is handled with the utmost expediency and discretion...

Miss Dreamy

Anonymous said...

Big pie, that's the cure for what ails you. Turkey pie. With ale. And big women.

Remember, i work in a hospital.

Titch said...

I have searched for a cure for the common cold and found this for you Dick.It is an old time remedy that should have you fit as a fiddle in no time.

GRANDMA'S REMEDY for Cold & Flu.
At the first sign of a cold, make a 'bacon plaster' for your patient to wear day and night.Take a slice of fatty bacon cut off the joint, place between two pieces of muslin or cheesecloth, and attach it to his chest with tape. He may protest at the smell, which can be potent, but the bacon keeps the chest clear, and wards off congestion. A big saucepan of hot chicken soup will also do wonders by opening up the airways and soothing cold symptoms but don't tape this to the chest, it could cause a nasty burn .
Get well soon
Wishing you a Happy & Healthy 2008

Richard Madeley said...

SM, it is so very good. It's just a shame I slept the afternoon away and I've managed to read so little of it. My head won't stop aching and now I can't sleep...

Axmxz, The Secret Agent is one of my favourite novels and Conrad my favourite writer. 'Under Western Eyes' is a masterpiece but I remember it as being much harder to read. It's much subtler than TSA, I seem to remember.

Selena, I agree with you. I wondered why cold weather should give us colds, so I asked Dr. Raj who tells me that although the cold kills the germs, it also opens up the blood vessels at the back of the throat, which makes it easier to get bugs. Lap dancers are a great cure. Wasn't there a school of eighteenth century 'healers' which believed that self-abuse actually cured many ills? Alas, I'm too ill to laugh, let alone consider these extreme cures.

Elberry, can I get those big women on the NHS? I need to know.

Titch, many thanks for that. Apart from the fact that the smell of bacon would make me sick, I'd try that. The chicken soup is working, though. This cold is a great excuse to avoid tomorrow night's parties. I hate New Year.

AxmxZ said...

Yes, it's taking me a bit to get through "Under Western Eyes" - I'm reading a heavily footnoted and annotated version. Being Russian helps, though - a lot of the references make more sense than they would otherwise, I imagine. It's also pretty cool to be reading about a character who's obviously Mihail Bakunin - I'm still high on Stoppard's "Coast of Utopia" trilogy, where the young Bakunin is very prominent.

TSA was pretty straight-forward, you're right, but they both have quite valid things to say about why and what kind of people get involved in espionage and terrorism... Also, they're both brilliant antidotes to the puerile Western attitude towards espionage etc. as somehow glamorous and exciting and fun and cool. It's a rather different view from the other side of the curtain. The words "So-and-so's a secret agent" used to be scrawled on walls in Russia as a form of insult.

Re: lap-dancers as a cure for the common cold - you're wriggling closer to the corpus of medical thought than you might think.

"25. Warm and cherishing applications from living bodies are not to be neglected. Ficinus' says, and that not in joke, that the laying of the young maid in David's bosom would have done him good, but that it came too late. He ought how-ever to have added that the maid, like the Persian virgins, should have been anointed with myrrh and the like, not for the pleasure of it, but to increase the cherishing virtue from the living body.

26. Barbarossa in his last days, by the advice of a Jewish physician, continually applied young boys to his stomach, to warm and cherish it. Some old men likewise apply puppies, which are animals of the hottest kind, to their stomachs at night."

-Francis Bacon, History of Life and Death; 1623.

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