Saturday 24 December 2011

Trivial Musings

I am not here. This post is programmed and, all being well, I am probably somewhere on the M6 Toll in the back of a car, sleeping the sleep of the unjust. That means that all you get today is this lovely little piece of prose from a book called Trivia from 1917. I have spent much too much time on Oxford Street in the last week, and this description of that occidental bazaar therefore bores into my very soul:

One late winter afternoon in Oxford street, amid the noise of vehicles and voices that filled that dusky thoroughfare, as I was borne onward with the crowd past the great electric-lighted shops, a holy Indifference filled my thoughts. Illusion had faded from me; I was not touched by any desire for the goods displayed in those golden windows, nor had I the smallest share in the appetites and fears of all those moving faces. And as I listened with Asiatic detachment to the London traffic, its sound changed into something ancient and dissonant and sad - into the turbid flow of that stream of Craving which sweeps men onward through the meaningless cycles of Existence, blind and enslaved forever. But I had reached the farther shore, the Harbour of Deliverance, the Holy City; the Great Peace beyond all this turmoil and fret compassed me around. Om Mani padme hum - I murmured the sacred syllables, smiling with the pitying smile of the Enlightened One on his heavenly lotus.

Then, in a shop-window, I saw a neatly fitted suit-case. I liked that suit-case; I desired to possess it. Immediately I was enveloped by the mists of Illusion, chained once more to the Wheel of Existence, whirled onward along Oxford Street in that turbid stream of wrong-belief, and lust, and anger.

Merry crimble.


  1. "I have spent much to much time on Oxford Street"

    Looks like the programming gremlins have been having fun with the spelling in your absence.

  2. Merry Christmas to you! Mine certainly was delightful, as my mother surprised me with the Etymologicon, which she somehow remembered me mentioning and managed to track down a hard copy of here in the United States (this is reportedly a difficult task). I gleefully have been regaling the family with favorite sections of the book.

  3. I was lucky enough to receive your book for Christmas - I think it's wonderful and look forwards to exploring your blog and (boring) my family with a joy of words that I try to share with them!:)

  4. It certainly is a nice little piece of writing, with an early modern tone and preoccupations. Who wrote it?

  5. Just want to say I had never heard of this blog, or your book until I spotted its red cover in the window of my local independant bookshop here in Somerset. Do you know I have been obsessed with this very subject matter for nigh on 40 years and felt in some strange way validated in my obsession, by reading your excellent book(which I eagerly purchased and starting reading almost immediately). I then found you have this wonderful blog too - so you have a further reader and fellow enthusiast absorbing your words of wisdom (one more fan of many I'm sure). Oh Happy Day!! ;-)