[lit-ideas] Re: Anonymity and revelation...

  • From: sales <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006 20:18:55 -0800

On Jan 30, 2006, at 7:48 PM, Mike Geary wrote:

I'm really tired, didn't read this too well. The Man on the Clapham Bus.
Silas Lapham? What does this mean?

It means "the man in the street", "common sense", "what passes for intelligence", etc.

According to Wikipedia:
"The man on the Clapham omnibus is a term used in English Law to signify an educated and intelligent but non-specialist person.

The term derives from a quotation of a phrase of Lord Justice Bowen (who was counsel in the Tichborne Case) in the case of McQuire v. Western Morning News [1903] 2 KB 100. Clapham is an unremarkable English neighbourhood in south London, said to consist of ordinary people. Omnibus means a public transport bus."

I haven't fixed my computer, but I've found a substitute from which, to or for, six and ate... I or me or myself will swiftly pontificate.

I regret writing that to explain all the refs in my poem might be pointless. What could be more fun? Take Clapham, for example... please. Clapham is horrible, as is Balham, but take a step or two further out and, climbing past Crystal Palace and the wonderfully wrong Victorian dinosaurs, you arrive in Penge, where the famous Penge bungalow murders were supposed to have taken place. Today I found in the library John Mortimer's account of Rumpole's most famous case. Move one suburb further out and you arrive in Beckenham, and my poem. From Portland I sent my father some Stefan Grappelli cds. He opened them and discovered they were mastered in Beckenham. Thus I paid to send him cds that were made in the town beside where he lives. Beckenham, however, is where David Bowie grew up and right beside where I went to secondary school. Hence, Major Tom. We had our small share of pop history. Marc Bolan's compadre in Tyrannosaurus Rex was my next-door neighbor; Mick Jagger's brother was one of the "big boys" in school.

The refs to the Seine and stepping in rivers twice are equally compact. I find that's how memory is at this stage of life, compressed, aphoristic, packed and ready to fly. You may do too.

The man on the Clapham omnibus, BTW, was alive and well when I was in law college, even thought the term "omnibus" was moribund.

Oh dear, now I have to try to remember, without going off mine, my father's story about some colleague or golfer who had something to do with omnibuses and trolleys. I'll send him an e-mail.

David Ritchie
Protland, Oregong
(where Geary's really not hiding out in some sort of red dress)

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