Sunday, 7 June 2015

See Bath and die


As soon as I hit 50, I started getting adverts for Saga holidays, car insurance, and life cover for the elderly. 'Why pay for the reckless behaviour of boy-racers?' was the logic which I fell for when actually taking out their car insurance.

Before I hit 50, we went to visit a friend who worked in a travel agency, thinking she might sort us out with a suitable and suitably cheap holiday somewhere nice and warm. When she said that Bodrum was the sort of place that young people liked to go to,  we weren't quick enough to understand that this was a coded message meaning, 'It's a shit-hole full of red-faced Brits who get pissed by 10.00am and spend all day urinating in the streets until sundown, when they spend all night getting pissed and listening to the Flintstones theme from the recently released film and trying to drown their new brides in the swimming pool (this actually happened).

Look at that troupe of geriatrics shuffling along outside. What is it that they all have in common, do you think? Maybe I am being too harsh. It could be that they all share a common interest/obsession in/with Jane Austen.

I really must have another go at reading Jane Austen. I had a friend years ago, who couldn't understand why I liked J.S. Bach. All he could think of when listening to it was women in crinoline dresses, which is the same sort of image I get after the first line of any Jane Austen book.

That's the trouble with period pieces. If you don't like the period, then you are doomed from the start.

Jane Austen was born into the worst possible period for bad fashion and social niceties - the sort of niceties which completely ignore any events which are taking place below a certain level of the social strata. It's the primness which I cannot abide.

I used to have a woman friend who should have been born into the Jane Austen era. She was - and probably still is - about 6' 2" tall, but stooped to try and make herself look smaller. She spoke in a tiny voice which was not her own - I know this because if she ever laughed spontaneously, she had a boom to her which many men would have envied. If she could have worn crinoline without looking even madder than she already did, she would have.

I could not stop myself from turning into a coarse, uncouth yob whenever I was around her. I had to compensate, or so I felt. I'm blaming her.

35 comments:

  1. Hello Tom:

    Yup, that's why my sister Maria went to Bath recently - to celebrate her 50th along with her two long-time best pals (since first grade) , as they are all Jane Austen freaks. I have never finished an Austen novel, though I have seen some of the movies.

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    1. I don't need to see the movies - I just watch them being filmed out of the window.

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  2. Jane Austen's novels were the 1800-ish version of today's girl's teenage comics. Who's going to get which boy, giggling behind the bike shed, and permanently thinking of wedding dresses etc. Fine if you're a 70 year old female with the mind of a 13 year old, but not for anyone else.

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    1. Ah, that would explain why I have never got any further than the cover. I must say you do seem to be a bit down on flippant women at the moment.

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    2. For 'flippant' I presume you mean Bimbo Celebs.

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    3. I meant women who are filppant enough to buy your paintings too.

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  3. It's not the crinolines, but the acerbic commentary on the times that I love about Jane Austen. If admiring the writing makes me a Janey, then guilty as charged.

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  4. Have you forgiven rach yet!

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    1. I am guessing you meant to type a question mark rather than an exclamation. There is nothing to forgive. I am just not prepared to be poked with a stick, 5 times a day on a daily basis, that's all. It may be fun for you to watch, but you find bitch-fights riveting, which is an aspect to your personality I find a bit unappealing. I've had enough of publicly reacting to her pissed wind-ups, and it seems as though I just cannot help myself - especially when I'm pissed too.

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    2. I think the gentleman doth protest too much in any case.

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    3. I think the gentleman is a FUCKING PAIN THE FUCKING ARSE sometimes!

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    4. Was it the bitch-fight reference that touched the nerve, John?

      The trouble is, Natalya, is that I am fed up with protesting - full stop. I am also fed up with providing John the vicarious pleasure he seems to get from watching other people say lots of negative stuff about each other. If he wants to receive late night phone rants from unstable women who seem to have even less a life than I do, then that's his business. If he doesn't, then he should have never included his phone number on the Archers Flower and Produce website.

      How I react to people is - as Joanne almost points out - my business, and my business alone. If people don't want to come here to read this shite, then they can just ignore me. Simple or not?

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    5. Actually I'll answer that right now - it's simple.

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    6. And another thing, John - how long would I last if I came over to your site and insulted you by swearing at you in capital letters? You have no manners whatsoever, and I think that your success in the blogosphere seems to have gone to your head to the extent that you seem to think that you don't need any.

      Piss off and only come back when you stop trying to behave like Rachel.

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    7. I've only just realised that Natalya is also Rachel, but I cannot seem to block either of them right now. Has she no dignity at all?!

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    8. So, you've kissed and made-up then!

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  5. I look to the old authors for their change in attitudes over the years. I wonder how Twain would be accepted contemporarily had he been able to bring Jim the slave into full humanity. I like George Elliot for bringing her feminine characters into full strength--the growth between Maggie in Mill on the Floss and Dorothea in Middlemarch.
    A very self satisfying suggestion: adopt radio silence. Do not justify yourself, it's no one's business why or how you handle a situation.

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    1. Yes, I would have thought that, Joanne, but if I wanted to adopt radio silence completely, I would only lurk around here, not put stuff out.

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  6. No need to put the blame on anyone Tom, I understand. I am not all that keen on Jane Austen either.

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    1. You have encapsulated everything I wanted to say about Rachel and John in one clear sentence, Weave. Thanks.

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  7. How the hell did she get back in? Am I going to have to resort to screening comments to shut her up? I do not want to spend my whole time fending off alcoholic nutters, thank you, but I am not going to stop blogging just because one or two refuse to go away.

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    1. How absolutely funny is that!

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    2. Right now, if I thought that blocking you would have any effect, I would. I bet you are loving this, but all you are doing is forcing me to moderate my comments if I really have to. And you think I am a pain in the arse? You are a disgrace.

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    3. Oh dear......blocking me now? I think you have a very short memory as the " capital letter" abuse i have been on the end of over the years has been generally forgotten about.......after multiple blog deletions!
      Chill a little eh.... If you give it ,
      Sometimes
      Just sometimes
      You have to take it
      Jxxxx

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    4. Ok, dig up an example of some four-letter word abuse I have left on your blog which hasn't been in good humour, and I might take you seriously.

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    5. Having said that, if you hang around long enough, I will provide you with some fresh evidence.

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    6. Haven't got any dog shit to clear up at the moment?

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    7. She's pooed in the front garden!

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    8. Who's she? The cat's mother?

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  8. No...the Welsh man's welsh terrier bitch

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  9. Good grief, surely there are enough historically accurate Regency costume wearers in Bath for you to know that it all happened WAY before the crinoline. I think Austen's works are hilarious - and full of sexual tension. She was a fierce, passionate woman and once you sniff the satirical undercurrent, the whole thing shifts. ;-)

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    1. Ok, I am willing to admit that I am prejudiced - probably because of all the Jane Austen look-alikes who promenade around Bath in costume, and we do have rather a good costume museum here too. Maybe I will read Austen during my retirement.

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