Monday, April 22, 2019

The weather here...

Perverse metaphors abound for what otherwise constitutes the irrefutable unpleasantness of aging - fine aged wine, sublime distillation, patina, rainbow, the polished or weathered look, etc. Though we're capable of surmounting the plummeting materiality of our personal being by the employment of these niceties, when it comes to things generally I prefer more than poetic elevation. I am enthralled by substance and quality. It requires more than an allusion to cognac and hardwood to sustain me.

"... art has often to present herself in the form of a reaction against the sordid ugliness of ignoble lives"

A Critic in Pall Mall (Dramatic Review, May 23, 1885) by Oscar Wilde

We're inclined to believe that certain things are everlasting - a persuasion the British have adopted whole heartedly, endlessly reminiscing about their past and dilapidated Listed Grade I and II buildings many of which are now no more than movie sets, B&Bs or "event venues". The inescapable sequel is that building upon rock is no guarantee of survival. It is an exemplification about as archaic as privilege, aristocracy and the monarchy itself - in spite of the theatrical allure approaching religious fanaticism. One needs to escape the elements of nature for that assurance. In the end - and addressing specifically the detectable features of life - I have found the successful course is to avoid the mercurial alterations of life.  Fastening onto small-scale things, for example, is one of my ploys.  Perhaps this is a device to accommodate my nomadic lifestyle - namely, it is far easier to cart about gems and millefiori than real estate and grand pianos.

The less shallow waters of my mind provoke me to advance character as the ultimate source of contentment. Without tackling the properties of personality (a subject itself immaterial to this discussion and much too varied to attempt description) suffice it to observe that stature commands its own expression. Historically - when money fails - symbols work. Perhaps it is artistic licence - the plausibility of deceit for a higher purpose. Given the harmless scope of my thesis (or should I say, that of Mr. Wilde's) I see no fault in adopting dramatic renditions for the adoption of reality. Take the family escutcheon:

Whom I have to thank for that motto I shall never guess - "Virtue thrives under oppression".  It clearly echoes the repeated assault and obligatory duty of daily living, a high road to be certain. In matters of perfection however there is no room for reluctance or reason.  It is not a spiritual undertaking; rather a creative motive. As in almost any analysis the surpassing relief is not fact or argument but presentation and attitude. I say this without reluctance only because for the most part the conduct of my affairs is of little if any consequence to anyone but myself. This ornamental posture is naturally reserved for purely decorative detail. To pretend that the frozen truths of life depend for a minute on anything other than blunt reality is an utter disguise. Glossing over the annoyances of survival is simply a tact.

Eventually we all go to the same long end. We might as well dress for the occasion! Where however I diverge from Mr. Wilde is his evident and calculated commitment to pure entertainment. His pointed aphorisms are theatre. From what I know of his background there was no attempt other than by insinuation to strengthen either the context or the content of his purpose.

For without quick and imaginative observation of life the most beautiful play becomes dull in presentation, and what is not conceived in delight by the actor can give no delight at all to others.


My attraction is to the so-called finer things in life, not necessarily to those who possess them. In fact much of my experience is that the appetites and favoured flavours of others frequently do not match my own. The enhancement of taste is highly personal. I am not about to adopt a tenor for other than its virtuosity. This has brought about a narrowness in other regards. Accomplishment is by definition isolating. It is as mandatory to disband as to acquire what is worthy. I realize this dangerously approaches the model of culinary reduction, itself an apt reference to taste - one of those five senses obliquely mentioned earlier.

The modern source of intoxication for me is technology. It is only with historic appeal that I regard the invocation of a frozen martini.  Indeed I resile from the temptation to adulterate my current indulgence. Between the paramountcy of my breakfast and dinner there is only cycling and my hobbies. Anything else is a contamination. Lately the absorption has been rarefied by the crapulence of applied science. With it has come a settlement of former investigations.  The mechanical watch for example is no longer dominant. Nor can I ignore my removal from many significant elements of my past, the mere exhaustion of time.  Gradually I am being propelled into space in my own capsule - the universe is ultimately personal. While I continue to observe that whence I came, there is an inherent abstraction made all the more palatable by the facility of the internet and its associated devices. Yet I am of necessity still earthbound by the tangible influence of mahogany and oak, crystal and brass, photography and oils, vegetables and fish, Persians and hardwood, books and clocks, silver and gold. As modern as I esteem myself I am likely as flagrantly outdated as anyone else my age.

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