Sunday, 29 August 2010



(from the teachings of stanislav, the plumber)

Some  of the nicest people l have ever met worked in  public libraries; when I worked in one of them, for a while, I felt that I became nicer. It was in the early eighties, ancient technology,  and so I got to date stamp the books out and in, just like the grown-up librarians who had so impressed  me,  as I withdrew books my parents could never have afforded, in that very library, as a child.  I felt then and I feel now that going to the library makes everybody a bit nicer. e-Things are all very well but they're not books, with spines which you must read sideways. eThings don't have a Just Returned shelf, e-Things and Amazon will peddle you all sorts of consumer shite but they are no substitute for a trained librarian, no substitute for being able to carry away an armful of books on nothing other than the understanding that you will return them within a specified time;  libraries make people better, make people nicer; libraries engender a spirit of enquiry and crucially of trust, adulthood, community.

Mrs Ian Dale, on Question Time on Friday evening, said words to the effect of Ooh Mrs, shut that door, the libraries aren't getting the numbers,  people get their information now from the Internet, read my blog, starve the libraries of funds and just, you know, Google shit; it's one of those difficult choices which the coalition has to make, bonuses for bankers  or libraries for the rest and in my judgement it's a no-brainer, who needs libraries, these days, I mean.  It may get him a safe Tory seat, but not in the constituency from which QT was being broadcast, seldom heard a panellist get such a barracking, nor so deservedly, wretched, poisonous  old poof.

Public libraries, originally furnished by Andrew Carnegie, a businessman just a league or two ahead of  the monstrosities promoted by the BBC and TinselTits Davies on the Dragons' Den, a little more intelligent than the ruffian shopkeepers beloved af the Coaltion of the Unwholesome,  like that belligerent, gobby git from M and S, flogging his sweatshopped lingerie and jumpers to sixty year-old girls. The Carnegie-gifted libraries, subsequently maintained by local authorities, just by their existence, make the world a better place. They are an oasis, into which you can just walk, right in off the street. Who gives a fuck if the numbers attending go up and down? I go to the library less than I used to but when I do go I am amazed by the numbers of children present, by the numbers doing local history ree-surch, the numbers just sitting down, reading the papers, resting, maybe, in a stimulating but undemanding environment. In my library there are a couple of dozen computers, nearly always occupied - many hundreds of people a day reading, browsing, surfing, researching; youngsters acquiring lifelong learning skills; community and  voluntary projects publicised, promoted, conceived and assisted, good stuff, brought into being, by the library.

I used to do what we called The Housebounds, I would visit a library customer unable to make it to the library, talk to them and establish what they might like and try, next week,  to bring them something suitable; whether it was Zane Grey or Alistair Maclean or Catherine Cookson, my visit was a sign that our society valued book-reading, valued thought and opinion, fiction, fantasy, poetry, history, biography;  all should be available, free of charge, to young and old, hale and hearty or infirm, that potboilers or heavy-duty literature should be equally available to all.

Mrs Dale and his ghastly, opportunist  coalitionees want to make libraries history or - worse - a branch of Tesco. Mrs Dale and her impudent allies would charge us for Sunshine,  for the very air we breathe;  when we hear people talking about axing the libraries we should seek the swastika, tattooed on their arses.

This repulsive, whining moron - Oh, well, Ex-cuse me, Eddie, but I just happen to think this and I just happen to  think that - old-womaning on the radio, made a fool of himself and his bitter cause. How dare an audience treat you so, rage his own feverish communicants,  over at  his blog, perhaps shocked to learn that they champion a figure, once out in the daylight, of derision, perhaps among them dawns an understanding of why Mrs Dale can't get selected by a Tory constituency - decent people (or an audience of BBC-handpicked Labour lefties, as his fans woefully shrill)  can't stand him.   If you listen to it, you'll find that, like any old queen, he was determined to have the last bitchy word, even as the audience mocked him and  his worthless twittering;  I don't see the point of any of it, said one old boy.  

The point of it, though, to which we must awaken, is the reversal of civilisation.  Dale, of course, is a joke, his fans, like himself, hidebound, unthinking,  cowardly and irrelevant; tearing down the libraries is just the sort of rank  and unconservative  vandalism which would appeal to the Daily Mailers who relish Dale's vapid gossip and tedious, lacklustre prose, as though reading that shit is the next best thing to being in the Cabinet of Fools and Chancers.

Talking, in the House of Lords,  of the Thatcher privatisations,  Lord Avon, Harold Macmillan  damned his fellow Tories, by then a generation of spivs like that ghastly, grubby turd, Tebbit and the cock-waving Parkinson,  coarse, ill-lettered, unprincipled gabshites like Dale himself, for selling-off the family silver; coming from a proper Tory landowner that remark must have had sour piquancy for the faux-Churchillian grocer's daughter and her greedy, seedy band. Selling-off the family silver is one thing but the  stupid deficit fetishists' assault on the libraries is an whole other thing,  the dismantling of a network of unqualified social good,  a continuum of non-commercial entertainment and endless, lifelong enquiry and learning,  of something which, unlike Mrs Dale,  really is a national treasure.


Cromwell said...

Sad really, when one thinks that the libraries are really the only real way into knowledge untainted by political spin (by careful election of material).

Oldrightie said...

Not too sure about the "aged" remark. Comes to us al you know. Otherwise I'm with you on the rest. Note the news the OED is no longer to be produced in book form. Stupidity.

call me ishmael said...

Roger that, Mr OR. I meant aged in the sense of set and rigid, like statuary, I will make a correction.

Agatha said...

I remember the campaign to reverse the attack on Britain's Free Libraries during a previous recession in the early Eighties. There were colourful posters of Superman, with the legend "Knowledge is Power" and Anne Herbert's famous line:"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries".
Since then, libraries have gone from strength to strength, diversifying into DVDs,music, computers,childrens' story times, book groups, literacy and numeracy sessions and, I daresay, knitting groups. I remember a fabulous library in Solihull which had a picture gallery and restaurant. I have attended my local library at least once a week, most weeks, since my daddy took my hand and led me into the house of quiet, peaceful learning and explained I could take some of these fabulous books home with me, as long as I washed my hands before reading them and didn't dribble sweeties onto them.My library now bears little physical resemblance to the dusty, dark rooms of my village library back in the Fifties. It is clean, bright and full of people choosing books, accessing computers, talking(!)and has volunteers serving coffee and homebakes. Attendance at the library is increasing year on year - the footfall machine registers people coming through the front door.
It seems to me that politicians and pundits think that if they just say things often enough, people will believe their crap. "Cut the public sector to avoid National Bankruptcy". "Cut welfare benefits to mothers and their little children because we can't afford it" "Nobody uses Libraries any more so cut them". Balderdash. Tell them they are liars. Knowledge is Power.

TDG said...

That woman, Dale, is just exploring the narrow limits of her intelligence; no government would abolish public libraries: they are untouchable, politically.

What that survival is worth, however, I am not so sure; knitting groups must have somewhere to congregate, I suppose, but if that is what a library is for you have to wonder why the Alexandrians fucking bothered.

It is no use fretting, leave the corpse of our civilization alone, one should just ease into the endlessly distracting cycle of sex & intoxication: death comes soon enough.

call me ishmael said...

Thanks and good to see you, mr tdg, but I think things remain politically untouchable only for as long as we are vigilant and set other, succeeding, younger eyes in the watchtower.

Women's arts and crafts are another matter,close to my own, crafty, polisher's heart, unsung and undervalued, some of them as fine as the finest cabinet-making, as complex as the most intricate silversmithing; much of it, the Pioneer quilting, for instance, hallmarked by patience, frugality and endless invention, in vivid contrast to the more manly crafts of genocide and rapine which characterised Uncle Sam's bloody birth; they take-up a small enough corner in the library, knitting and sewing, and in my view flourish in contradiction, defiance of the endlessly distracting cycle of sex & intoxication, which you mention, their revival a true cause celebre, maybe,even yet, people will delight - as do we, descendant borrowers of Alexandria - in the knowledge that hopefully is a fucking adverb.

lilith said...

What a bloody fool. He says we don't need them any more because we have the web, then says he knows nothing about how much they are used.

In the early eighties I volunteered at a library that was threatened with closure. It did close in the end, but for a while I enjoyed the thrill of being in a place that had just about every journal, novel, article and poem written by women. Fantastic.

lilith said...

And how do people with literate kids function without a library?

Mothers Ruin said...

Who was it that said where one begins by burning books, one will end up burning people?

call me ishmael said...

It was Heinrich Heine, mr MR , the 19th c. German poet-satirist-philosopher; he also wrote: Sleep is good, Death is better but the best thing is never to have been born at all.

Best whisper it not at all over in Mrs Dale's grimy boudoir, thinking about that sort of stuff might give them a bit of a turn.

Dick the Prick said...

We had a bullshit motion to knock down the admin block of the local authority and at the same time take out the library and move it across the way; all fine on paper but then questions started to be asked about the arse over tittedness of it all i.e. build the new library first and job's a gud un'. 15,000 names on the petition and many geretrics to boot later, motion ended.

In Hudds we have lots of libraries and I loved your breakdown of the demographic. In Halifax the campaign was brilliant. The amount of oldies who expressed their opinion in private and with humungous power made it a done deal. I'm glad the recession has kicked in to some degree, this retail land swap bullshit couched as 'refuckingeneration' is spurious at best and down right eco-terrorism at worst.

I'm not saying libraries are safe but oldies and mums are 2 massive interest groups and with politics being so fractious (gots to love the Lib Dems - accidently got into a debate about Yanky politics today and concluded that just 2 parties are shite) that it'd take significant local political margins to axe libraries.

I kinda like Mrs Dale and genuinely did think it a bit harsh that he was booed from the start but, then again, I only lasted about 5 minutes before they were all just irrelevant noises. The health care bloke scared me a bit.

call me ishmael said...

Yeah, me too, a scary man, some sense in what he said but even so, oddly motivated, I thought, and harsh.

I taught a WEA course, once, on criminal justice; it seemed to me that everybody else who taught and everyone who attended my course, as they entered the building, drew on a cloak of scepticiam, some of mine were well to the right but still had an appetite for anarchy; I didn't think, nevertheless that Friday night's was a WEA-Lefty audience - the Beeb would't stand for that, anyway - but that Dale was doing as Mr TDG describes him doing, exploring the narrow limits of her intelligence and, in so doing, insulting everyone else's, there is a difference between blogging and entering a real public forum and although there is the odd bit of kerfuffle on AQ normally the audience, almost by definition, behaves itself rather too much, easily quelled by Dimbleby minor, that there was a bit of booing simply illuminates Dale's compelling repugnance of spirit; you can catch him sometimes, should you venture into skymadeupnewsandfilth's midnight news and it's hard to imagine him ever having an original thought, a genuine sentiment.

I can cope with, quite like actually, on occasions, cyberdwellers whose views are completely the opposite of mine, it's not Dale's views, therefore, which repel me, but her lack of them. Surely there can be no basis to the assertion that Westminster hangs, agog, waiting for his next rubbishy offering, can there?


call me ishmael said...

I don't understand retail land swap but for some time I have been wondering why it is that here, in the fourth largest economy in the world, for any shithole to be - whaddatheycallit, rejuvenated, regenerated ? - it has to be on the back of shit like the Dome or to accommodate a load of revolting, egotistical drug fiends running around in circles, swimming in straight lines, throwing things, riding horses, shooting a bow and arrow or hop-skip-and-jumping. Why can't we just rebuild slum areas, like other people do? And if we are so skint that we have to commandeer and recycle the crutches of disabled persons, how can we afford this Olympics nonsense, anyway?

Dick the Prick said...

But the Eastenders or, rather, Westenders that Dale publishes is fine fodder for the afternoon. I genuinely credit Dale & Guido for making me realize that gossip and chit chat can be on topic. That politics doesn't have a damn thing to do with Westminster as a building but simply a venue. They got me my job doing Tory work which was exactly what i wanted.

I worked for a very diligent chap who was absolutely useless at lying; me too. It's all very prosaic and structured assuming that economic preceadent can be organized through Whitehall, but as this entire thread suggest - who gives a monkeys? Politics is local err...except where national pay bargaining comes into it.

The unions round our way are quite pathetic, really. Anywho - am gibbering on...

I'm currently unemloyed and the idea of doing the book thingy delivery stuff seems like a useful Tuesday plan.

Gosh, Fiona Bruce is lovely.

yardarm said...

Don`t know much about Dale; doesn`t he tear about the place pleading to be allowed to serve the Cuntalition as an MP? It sounds like he`s jacked that in and is begging for a peerage. Anyone who reckons libraries can be replaced with the internet doesn`t understand either. Or is applying for a job.

Just have to walk into mine and my head swims with the prospect of the the stories, the facts: the knowledge. Just waiting for me.

Of course no spiv bastard in a suit is making money out of it and that upsets some pampered ideologue in Westminster who not only is poncing from a trust fund but also the public teat. As our host points out libraries are the heart of communities, where you see voluntary work and ' localism ' in action.

As preached by Wisteria Dave and his pals. Only their advocacy of community and individual self help and voluntary work is merely a euphemism for ' Fuck off peasant '.

PT Barnum said...

To me libraries were like churches, but a whole lot more enjoyable. I've graduated from the small local across all types up to the British Library, and they all have that slightly sacred feeling to me.

I came from a home where there was money for food, power, a roof and secondhand or home-made clothes, but certainly not enough for books. I can still remember getting my set of four pink tickets and subsequently getting them upgraded to adult beige ones. It was a weekly ritual to go to the library and change your books, although I generally ended up commandeering a couple from my parents since I was in the adult section before I was 'adult'.

That reading, often randomly and for free, should be attacked by these vile effigies of humanity is almost inevitable. As Mr Cromwell said, this knowledge comes without predigestion or prepackaging, without measurable outcomes or targets, it is a wholly individual experience in a shared place. And that would never ever do.

jgm2 said...

Mr Ishmael, I did not see Mrs Dale but I trust your reportage.

What a fucking tactical blunder from a wannabe Tory MP eh? There they are 'Big Societying' their message and what better example is there for 'Big Society'-self-help-putting-something-back than Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie left Fucking Dunfermline, Fucking Scotland with Fuck All. Oh, excuse me, less than Fuck All. His poor mother had to borrow the money to leave Fucking Scotland.

40 Years later he returns to Fucking Scotland. Hail the conquering hero. I lived in Fucking Dunfermline for six miserable fucking years. Awful fucking place. I wouldn't go there to stick a cat in a wheelie bin. But they've got a library waaaay out of kilter with their demographic imprint thanks to the boy who made good.

Upstairs in the Library a picture on the wall of Carnegie being feted by the great and good of Fucking Scotland.

Nearby, a shithole called Townhill, a favoured suburb of Fucking Dunfermline, obviously, has less books in the library than I have but has 2 (two) full-sized fucking snooker tables generously provided by Andrew Carnegie.

In the town itself, his birthplace, a tiny one-up-one down, is preserved by his own Trust. A sadly unvisited but meticulously preserved (by his own Trust) museum to his own life is right in the centre of town. It should be compulsory for every child in the UK to visit. An inspiration to ambition and achievement and public good works.

My dad, born in Ireland used to tell me his story. Built the library in his little corner of Ireland. So he did. I knew his history thiry years ago. My children, when at school in Fucking Scotland, had to do a project on a famous Fucking Scot. Most of the Little Scotlanders would be off at the Mel Gibson memorial or Mary Queen of the Fucking Scots, but I made a point of taking pictures of Carnegie Libraries on my travels so they could show a picture of outside library in Ireland/England/Canada/Mauritius. Yes, fucking Mauritius.

The middle of Dunfermline is blessed by a fucking enormous park he bought and dedicated to his birth-town. The best (free) fireworks display I've ever been to is funded annually (largely) by the Carnegie Trust every Nov 5th.

The Tories should be highlighting the generosity of rich benefactors and the good they have done. The Cadburys. The Chamberlains (can you tell I grew up in Brum). Instead of letting this jackass suggest that in order to save a few quid we should shut down the places that have provided warmth and shelter for a century of 'gentlemen of the road', a source of learning and respite for generations, internet access for the present generation.

The Tories should, morally as well as politically, be bigging-up the great generosity of the business entrepreneurs of the past - co-opting the generosity of folk like Carnegie and laterally, Bill Gates who, while he's happy to stick you for £100 quid his latest reincarnation of Office, is doing more to combat AIDS and malaria with his own cash in Africa than Gordon Brown ever did with his plundered billions as he tries to buy a place at the UN he will never achieve.

And the cost of running these libraries? In the broad scheme of things?

Fuck all you say? Librarian's salaries are bringing the country to it's knees?

For fuck's sake.

call me ishmael said...

I think you know all that's necessary to know about Mrs Dale, mr yardarm, whatever trade he followed, he would be a disgrace to it.

Doing the Housebounds, mr dtp, was as good as it sounds, you can say that the books were just a peg on which to hang some impromptu, amateur social work but nothing wrong with that; is there? And if you introduce someone - or they introduce you - to an author or a type of writing which brings them pleasure or illumination or keeps loneliness in check, well, you can see why the AusterityCreeps would want to jump on that, eh?

Wotsisname, there by default, Alexander, the tongue-tied imbecile at the Treasury, he used to be snowshoes monitor at the Cairngorms National Park, here, in the best part of England, maybe he didn't notice that for most of the time the Highlands are largely a snow-free zone, the cable cars and skiing paraphenalia redundant, the snowgates on the A9 have been closed once, I think, in ten years, I don't recall Danny boy calling for the closure of the National Park because there's no snow and fewer visitors, man's a fucking moron, can't form a sentence, in his lofty position just as a stooge for the repulsive Oxbone; the idea that one so transparently good for fuck all - even by LibDem standards - as Alexander might interfere with the libraries is reason enough for decent men and women to smash this hateful cabal of losers and force an election.

call me ishmael said...

That was my portion, too, mr ptb, borrowing tickets, still is, sometimes; free-reading, Carnegie's legacy, as well as some beautifully crafted buildings, but also the result of that workers' movement, the Co-ops and the WEA, before Labour had an Equity card and a make-up bag.

Never been to the British Library but I have had books from there by post; now, that's a national treasure, not everybody knows about it but if your local library network cannot find something for you, the British Library exists not just for people like His unHoliness, Dawkins, to be photographed in but to loan the general public stuff which is otherwise unavailable. Isn't that great?

Thanks, mr jgm2, for the Carnegie stuff, his is an exemplary story. I think I have written before, maybe even at some length - for it is a favourite topic of mine - about George Cadbury, the socialist's capitalist and his Bournville Village Trust, business and responsible redistribution -philanthropy - not mutually exclusive, save that Ruin has made them so - anyone for the Big Issue? Come my homeless, jobless lad, stand here, in all weathers, humiliated, know your position, like a Victorian matchgirl, and sell this magazine full of nonsense, you can keep twenty pence, better than nothing, lad. Strikes me as a virtual workhouse that, all the shaming but not even a bed or a clothesline to sleep on. The nerve of some people, who do they think they are?

Elby the Beserk said...

I can still recall the swing gate that I had to push aside when entering our local library as a child. I can still recall the excitement of knowing I would come out with three or four new books to read.

As an adult, I spent nearly 25 years working on library systems, and spent a lot of time with our customers, ad a lot of time on site behind the scenes. There are few more precious resources in any country than the public library, and I would hold their health as an indicator of the health of a society.

As a redundantised oldie with not a lot of money in the bank, Frank, I use our local library all the time, and would miss it terribly were it not there. All the more so as it has not been conspicuously converted into a multi-function info/coffee chat place with books a mere aside. They did that to Bristol Central Library, which meant there was never any peace in the library section.


call me ishmael said...

This was on my email notification but, oddly, not on the blog, so I have posted it in. CMI

Woman on a Raft has left a new comment on your post "ANY QUESTIONS, A CARDIGAN SPEAKS.":

thinking about that sort of stuff might give them a bit of a turn.

That must be a grisly jest, Mr Ishmael. Ian Dale never thought through to a conclusion in his life and still thinks that him being gay is why he isn't an MP.

Him not being selected is the only bright spot in a dark calendar; it means that at least some local parties tell when someone is not up to the job - although obviously some others have had pegs on their noses and a full Tommy kit for years.

Funny you should mention Zane Grey. I've just found a 1955 Pan edition of Grey's opening smash 1920 hit "The Last of the Plainsmen".

Mr Raft is not exactly happy with my determination to buy old paper but I don't care; libraries chuck out too many books and I'm on a personal mission to clutter up every available space with them. The best are personal memoirs which provide masses of cross-reference detail.

Speaking of which, as an attendee of the historic IoW festival, there is a website where people are contributing their recollections alongside an archive of press material and photos. You might be in one of them. The View From The Mud

call me ishmael said...

I had forgotten the swing gates, me elby, it was the rapid chunk-chunk-chunk of the stamper which enchanted me, I have one, in my desk, here, with an inkpad.

Thanks, mrs woar, I will have a look at that, mr elby may be there, too, and some others who gather here. I think it was, in its way, the first and the last. Were you there, rafting?

I am in a quandry regarding books, there's eight or nine, maybe ten thousand here, about half of it fiction and not including countless Private Eyes, Viz mags, Q mags, trade catalogues, OU texts, workshop manuals, sheet music and I don't know what else without getting up and wandering round and until quite recently I knew to within a foot or two where everything was but that was, I think, a form of mania. With great difficulty I have started giving some away. I gave somebody Colin Wilson's Criminal History of Mankind, recently, and the reward from that was that she liked it so much that she bought two copies from Amazon to give to friends of similar mind and interest. And last week I very nearly gave somebody Even Cowgirls Get The Blues; I couldn't quite manage it, I haven't read it, or any of Tom Robbins' other books for thirty years but it's nice to know it's there. Maybe I just didn't like this person enough. I'll find domeone else. I have been happy to give away several copies of A Shropshire Lad - I buy them to give them away, knowing the impact they have.

I sympathise with your urge to clear the Library's Withdrawn shelf, I have done it often, even read some of them, with pleasure. But it is a grim Ruin-consciousness which impels me, store-housing, fail-safing, cataloguing and archiving; pointless, too, my house would be the first to be commandeered, come the Darkness, officers for the use of, the books, Victorian poesy or comparative religion, memoir or metaphysics, fed to the fire.

What is it with Dale, it's not as though he attracts exceptional comment, in quantity or quality and yet he is always cited as le premier? Is it to damn us all that the mainstream promote Cardiganism as the voice of Cyberstreet?

PT Barnum said...

When discussions are held about freeing up space in this crowded little house, the point comes when someone says (all in mischief) 'We could donate some books to charity' to be shouted down as if they had suggested giving away the cat or concreting over the garden. One day it will be necessary to gather in all the books stored at workplaces, at which point the house will become a maze of tottering piles around which one will sidle with extreme caution.

There are, incredibly, houses without books (barring Nigella and Jamie). But worse, a mind without books is a terrible thing to encounter.

call me ishmael said...

woman on a raft has left a new comment on your post "ANY QUESTIONS, A CARDIGAN SPEAKS.":

It was very odd Mr Ishmael. The confirmation said "published" but it didn't appear. As blogger has been known to lose comments and then find them down the bottom of its handbag and put them up somewhere random, I didn't re-send to confuse the issue.

Here is the link to The View from the Mud. The website is a treasure trove. If you haven't already done so, you should put your marker down.

Maybe this end of cyberspace is tangled up with cardigan fibres, or perhaps computers on rafts become damp and unreliable, whichever mishap it was which mishappened, it mishappened again, mrs woar.

It is a nice site that, a labour of love, as was the festival, so much less arch and self-regarding than Woodstock. I will add my tuppence worth.


There are, incredibly, mr ptb, houses without hope of any sort, that's the post-war achievement of the career politician, or one of them; if I thought, even half-heartedly, that this changing of the guard, this squadron of braying, pinstripe, troughing I-Know-Besters might address that situation I would put this down and support them however I might.

Did you read about "Doctor" Liam Fox, wanting to ban a "disgusting" video game because someone would have had to play the Muslim enemy; as though none of his generation ever played the German or the Apache. Minds like Fox's at the helm, where else are we bound but for Ruin?

Woman on a Raft said...

(I've reloaded everything. What on earth is going on?)

Were you there, rafting?

Sort of. I was staying in a chalet right by Bobby's rehearsal barn above Whitecliff bay and managed to miss it all.

You must understand that I'm dreadfully common, go to bingo and am from the kind of background where they hang the torn-up Daily Mirror in the outside privvy because Dadder Raft wouldn't even wipe his arse on a broadsheet.

We did not have bank accounts until the 1980s because all our household dealings were via a small silver box with labelled slots in the lid and a tiny metal key which, to us, represented a lock. Gas, electricity, water, rent, food, tv, other. Besides, what is the post office for if not for handling small quantities of money?

The idea of paying over two pounds for a ticket was ye gods, utterly unthinkable and amounted to all the savings in the world. And what for? To hear a screaming hippie when you could go down the British Legion of a Saturday night, have a shandy, and the band would play something the young folk could twist to?

You young folk, you must have been made of money. I was picking winkles for Grandad Raft to eat with his winkling pin while Dadder Raft caught flatfish and we squabbled like gulls for the milky flesh, so different from the shoe-leather they sell in fish shops.

Grandad Raft played the banjo in the manner of Al Jolson while Dadder Raft played a giant accordion (badly) which threatened to eat him. Why a short man with a bad back chooses such an instrument of torture I do not know.

For reasons unknon, Dylan did not invite us to form a backing group or catering operation. The stuck-up Yank. He was happy enough to send people searching for honey at two o'clock in the morning, though.

call me ishmael said...

I never met Dylan, either, don't think I'd want to, I am sure he's a ghastly old wretch; it was the crowd, at the Isle of Wight, more than the performers, which took my breath away, just like here, sometimes.

I think we are, here, commoners all. Most of my adult life I wondered what on Earth I was doing with a cheque book, one with my name on it, and am much happier, now, with just a debit card but preferably a bundle of notes. You do touch, there, on that phony, social mobility phenomenon, the beguiling of us all, merely by letting us play with the trappings of Ownership. Some of us here will own or nearly own our homes, many though, in Mrs Thatcher's"Property-Owning Democracy," slave to pay two or three times the ticket price for a gardenless, overcrowded home, from which they, proud homeowners, can be swiftly evicted. Many are taught to believe that progress and social mobility are identified by both parents having to go to work, leaving their phone-toting, latchkey children alone or with often not well-meaning strangers.

Government and media and business and unions, soothsaying, back in the days of Tomorrow's World, promised an Age of Prosperous Leisure, of four and three-day weeks; now, socially mobile, lifetime indebted, all toil harder, though still insufficiently productive to compete with Sir Stewart Rose's sweatshop coolies.

Honey, if that's movin'-up then I'm movin'-out.

mongoose said...

Mrs Dale gathers folk happy to be so gathered. As do you, Mr Ishmael. They go to Dale's for what he offers. We come here to talk of libraries.

The giving away of books? Well, I am too timid. I have loaned books happy in the knowledge that a loaned book never comes back but that is so different to the flagrant letting go of them.

We did in the end decide that in the absence of further bookshelf space, and loads of shelves being two rows deep, that we would give away our duplicates. It turned out that many of these were books bought in common while still living far apart and read at the same time. Innocent days. For these a new category of immune duplicate was formed. I daresay that the kids will be confused one day.

I still have my dead father's books in boxes in the roof - vast numbers about 1960s cars, furniture making, horses, that miserable island to the west and what ye bastard English did to it... Can't give those away. And a box of dying, now-dead Arthur's too. He picked them out for me, a kindred spirit of sorts - "The kids will just throw them out" - physics, structures, steel. Can't give those away either.

call me ishmael said...

Happy Bank Holiday, mr m; we don't do it, here in the North, the August one.

It wasn't Dale's commenters and readers I queried, just the esteem, almost reverence in which he seems to be held by the MSM, and I think I mentioned the rat which I there smelled.

Immune duplicates, yes, that's a good one, or triplicates.

Dick the Prick said...

My heart.

call me ishmael said...

What about your heart, mr dtp, is it ok?

lilith said...

Calfy met an octogenarian with 20,000 books. He says he can't invite anyone around because there is only one chair visible in his house, all other surfaces being covered with books.

I got tough with mine. Gave all the art history ones away. Can't quite let go of the feminist tomes (although they are not on display in the front room in case they cause alarm) partly because half of them only had one print run. Calfy started reading them a couple of years ago and has been impossible ever since. We use the library so the volume of books is not increasing too fast, except that Calfy has decided to collect ancient G A Hentys.

mrs narcolept said...

We attempted a book cull a few months ago. Every wall is lined with shelves, even the staircases and bathrooms. Most are stacked two deep. My dear mr narcolept suggested that as we will probably not have time before we die to read them all again maybe we should prune the collection a bit. So we tried; weeks it took, and the net result was one small cardboard box filled with a few triplicates, a couple of volumes so badly tanned that the print was scarcely legible and something called The Story of Germs, which was rescued by narcolept at the last minute before the box went into the attic. I don't know how people live without books. And I don't know how books would survive without libraries.