Simon Armitage’s spare inventory hints at a whole life, and the losses and love that might provide reason enough for a death.
After a dry April, followed by a couple of good inundations and some fabulous sunshine, the gardens of south London are looking just splendid. Assistant shop manager Sarah got to work with some inspiring donations, and now our windows are similarly gorgeous.
We are not wholly bad or good
Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
To see our best side, not our worst.
Dylan Thomas’ radio classic was my choice for the Stuck in a Book 1954 book club, and I found a world of nymphs and satyrs. What was yours? And did you have a good time with it?
We all know about Edward Alleyn’s link to Dulwich, but who are the other significant figures in Dulwich’s history? And what has the Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries to do with local place names? Local historian David digs about in the past.
Image: Reconstruction of Bermondsey Abbey by Sir Walter Besant 1894 from Project Gutenberg.
The online shop expands our reach, providing a virtual shop window for customers world-wide. Even so, we were amazed at the speed with which we turned over this lovely edition of Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea – priced, listed and sold online for £60 all on the same day. Can we beat that?
This week’s volunteer selection is Lullaby, by Djuna Barnes. ‘I can draw and write, and you’d be a fool not to hire me,’ was her pitch, aged just 20, to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. What would you give for that panache? Also, where might one get such a hat?
Image: Djuna Barnes, c. 1921, Public Commons.
A Soho location this week. Doesn’t this make you nostalgic for a London of chance encounters, or even planned meetings spiced with a hint of jeopardy, prior to mobile phones? Is there anything more antithetical to romance than ‘I’ll text you when I’m on my way,’?
Image by Jay Clark for Unsplash
If this week’s selection (posted a trifle late, apologies) reminds you a bit of Hilaire Belloc, that’s not an accident. Christian Morgenstern (not to be confused with the early 21st century techno artist of the same name, whose YouTube releases attract BTL comments such as ‘sicknesssss!!’ and ‘badass tune…washing my brain’) was keen on nonsense verse and self-referential jokes.
As the England cricket team mournfully surveys its Test record of recent years, it could do very much worse than read CLR James, widely regarded as the Philosopher King of cricket. And we’re going to claim him as a local dignitary, since he lived at nearby Railton Road.
Sadly, his mansion at Camberwell Grove no longer exists, but Dr John Lettsom has left his mark in other ways. One of those indefatigable reforming polymaths that late 18th London seemed to generate, he aimed for virtue, and crossed the paths of many of the scientific and literary figures of his day.
Image: Dr John Coakley Lettsom, oil painting, Wellcome Institute Library.