« | Home | »

Wearing the bottoms of my trousers rolled

Tags: |

Ever since it began, years ago now, I’ve bought frocks and stuff from the Toast catalogue and online. In their first couple of outings they even had some over-40-year-old models. They are long gone, but I’ve remained loyal even though, as a young friend said, their clothes look like a conscientious but ironic remake of Miss Marple. It’s hard growing old and still wanting to wear vintage-looking clothes. Two pluses so often make a minus. But recently, Toast has been alarmingly taken with its retro image, believing itself apparently to be more Virginia than Agatha. For some time now, I’ve been receiving emails which appear to be literary magazines rather than online sales pitches and paper catalogues in which whole pages are blank except for a single sentence of breathless vacuity about Life, with photo-shoots so ethereal and far away that there can’t be anywhere in the world left desolate and cold enough for their models to pose.

Nevertheless, I’ve averted my eyes and continued to buy the this-and-thats I can’t resist, because they do sometimes have very nice things to wear. Today, however, I got an email which consisted mostly of a picture of T.S. Eliot sitting at his desk at Faber and Faber, asking ‘Do I dare disturb the universe?’ Clicking on his face took me to a page which offered to help me celebrate Faber’s new app of The Waste Land, though the quote is actually from ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’. I could listen to an extract of The Waste Land read by Eliot himself, and read a meditation by Lavinia Greenlaw on her ‘encounters’ with the poet on the page. Toast puts the frock in Prufrock and the magic in the journey of the Magi.

Maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough or have too much ancient Hebrew in me to want my linen mixed with cotton, but I find myself dismayed at being offered poetry appreciation with my cashmere bedsocks. I don’t want to be sold clothes by people who wonder about disturbing the universe. Fine on their own time, wonder away, but in their commerce with me, I only ask that they let me send them money in return for their latest chiffon whatsit or white poplin nightie, and that they keep the deep thoughts out of my closet. I’ve emailed back begging them to stop all this crap. I just want them to ensure that I can see whether the faux-vintage chiffon whatsit is too see-through for this genuinely vintage woman.

If you want to hear Eliot read The Waste Land here’s a website that doesn’t sell frocks.

 

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • andymartinink on Reacher v. Parker: Slayground definitely next on my agenda. But to be fair to Lee Child, as per the Forbes analysis, there is clearly a massive collective reader-writer ...
    • Robert Hanks on Reacher v. Parker: And in Breakout, Parker, in prison, teams up with a black guy to escape; another white con dislikes it but accepts the necessity; Parker is absolutely...
    • Robert Hanks on Reacher v. Parker: Parker may not have the integrity and honesty of Marlowe, but I'd argue that Richard Stark writes with far more of both than Raymond Chandler does: Ch...
    • Christopher Tayler on Reacher v. Parker: Good to see someone holding up standards. The explanation is that I had thoughts - or words - left over from writing about Lee Child. (For Chandler se...
    • Geoff Roberts on Reacher v. Parker: ..."praised in the London Review of Books" Just read the article on Lee Child in a certain literary review and was surprised to find this rave notice...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Chris Lehmann: The Candidates
    18 June 2015

    ‘Every one of the Republican candidates can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.’

    Hugh Pennington:
    The Problem with Biodiversity
    10 May 2007

    ‘As a medical microbiologist, for example, I have spent my career fighting biodiversity: my ultimate aim has been to cause the extinction of harmful microbes, an objective shared by veterinary and plant pathologists. But despite more than a hundred years of concentrated effort, supported by solid science, smallpox has been the only success.’

    Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border
    20 October 2011

    ‘The battle against illegal migration is a domestic version of America’s interventions overseas, with many of the same trappings: big manpower commitments, militarisation, pursuit, detection, rendition, loss of life. The Mexican border was already the focus of attention before 9/11; it is now a fixation that shows no signs of abating.’

    James Meek: When the Floods Came
    31 July 2008

    ‘Last July, a few days after the floods arrived, with 350,000 people still cut off from the first necessity of life, Severn Trent held its annual general meeting. It announced profits of £325 million, and confirmed a dividend for shareholders of £143 million. Not long afterwards the company, with the consent of the water regulator Ofwat, announced that it wouldn’t be compensating customers: all would be charged as if they had had running water, even when they hadn’t.’

Advertisement Advertisement