[lit-ideas] Sunday Wotsit

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2013 11:13:06 -0700

In the air above the pond I read the Financial Times which is a much better 
paper than I remember.  The writers seemed to want to find interesting ways to 
say things.  Not "believers," but "god-botherers."  Imagine that in your paper! 
 An ad copywriter, for a company that "hunted profits," described the prey's 
skeleton, "skull, neck vertebrae, bendy bit, spine, ribcage, pelvis, hip, even 
bendier bit, tail, end of tail."  Brits like bits; orange juice is marketed, 
"with bits."  There were theories, "We are 'aquatic apes'," one writer 
explained, "who--some scientists claim--evolved not for the savannah, but for 
the shallow coastal waters where our brains grew large and thoughtful on the 
fatty acids of shellfish."  And ghost headlines--beneath a tale of 
Bannockburn's modern politics was the story of challenges to Prizer's Viagra 
patent.  Neither headline writer mentions rising again, but they were tempted.  
I learned that Albania's prime minister was being challenged in an election by 
a modernist painter.  And the letters page revealed that the British Library is 
to get copies of recording of 200 voices of the common soldier from 1916 to 
1918, ones made by two German academics visiting P.O.W. camps.  These will 
become an auditory cenotaph.  Finally there was this, from an American 
contributor: the gentleman sitting opposite Queen Salote of Tonga in the 
rain-soaked open carriage at the coronation of 1953 was not her husband but, in 
fact, His Highness the Sultan of Kelantan.  Who knew?  Safely home, I wrote in. 
 A caption attributed a 1918 painting to David Nash.  *The* David Nash was born 
in 1945.  I said there may be a brother, a painter I've not heard of, but it 
was more likely they meant Paul or possibly John, brothers and official war 

David Ritchie,
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