Thursday, 31 January 2013

Notebooks

Hello! It's been a while - life has been (and continues to be) rather distracting lately. I wouldn't like you to think I'd forgotten you, though.

As you know I'm a pen geek and a notebook geek. In my untiring (and unselfish) search for the perfect notebook, I reluctantly concluded that there is no such thing. Humph. I was forced to change my quest to the perfect notebook for the job in hand and lo! my life became simultaneously more complicated and much, much more fun. I now legitimately seek out new notebooks. (No matter how distracting life is, I will seek out new notebooks.) In my trawl, I recently came across this. I cannot speak to the notebook as I do not possess one (er, watch this space) but aaaaah!

The act of writing is a tempting one for me. Writing as a physical activity, I mean. Making marks on a page with a pen. Looking at a blank page and then changing it with my hand. I remember the first novel I read which gave me a shock of nostalgic recognition and it was about writing. The novel wasn't, the particular bit was. It was You Must Be Sisters by Deborah Moggach.


It was published in 1978 and I can't remember when I read it, but it must have been on publication or shortly afterwards. There was I, thinking I was all grown up and that novel flew straight into my younger heart. The part I particularly remember was about the joys of writing with your first Osmiroid italic pen and I squeaked aloud. That was me! And the joy of realising that a complete stranger  thought the same things I did and put them in a book was sharp and glorious.

Let us briefly consider the subject of book cover art. I was searching for an image of this book and I carelessly did not stipulate "1978" in the search terms. Imagine my horror when this came up


Compare and contrast. 1978 was before the invention of chick-lit, that hideous term used to demean the writing of women which now it surrounds us and seems to dictate a certain kind of cover image - look at me! I'm colourful and frothy! AND NOT REAL! The term "chick" when used to describe women is repulsive - a fluffy, immature creature incapable of supporting itself. I am tremendously fond of the The Marx Brothers and I remember being horribly disappointed when I discovered that Chico wasn't "Cheek-o" but "Chick-o", nicknamed for this habit of chasing the ladies.  Incidentally, if you want a jolly good read, seek out Harpo Marx's autobiography, called Harpo Speaks! I don't know if it would strike me as a good read these days, but it did when I first read it. If my memory serves, he outlines his three dream jobs - an umbrella mender, like his grandfather; Eddie Nelson's (think about it) top C singer and the King of Spain's anthem man, the King being unable to recognise pieces of music and needing a nudge when the anthem was playing so he could stand up.

Ooh -  here's a musical offering - the late lamented Phoebe Snow singing Harpo's Blues, as one of my favourite songs of all time. Enjoy!

Thanks for popping in. The salon is open - do drop in and leave a comment, an aside, or something completely irrelevant.


24 comments:

  1. Woo hoo! The salon is open again. Sadly I have no time to indulge today but I shall return.....

    You never said you were a Marx Brothers fan. Now I regret even more the wonderful and doubtless valuable book I gave away some years ago to a much less deserving individual :-(

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  2. Well, you never know - I might have it...

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    1. Now there's a challenge - what the heck was it called?

      Blow me if I haven't found a website that is all about books and articles all about the Marx Brothers. Not,you will note, about the brothers, but about books about the brothers. That's truly fame!

      And by a process of skilled deduction, and knowing that the book predated my father's death in 1952 I am surmising that it's this one and dammit I was right about the valuable.

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    2. Ooh and I hasten to add that ours was coverless, dark blue binding, otherwise I could certainly have told the book by its cover lol

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    3. Well I certainly haven't got it and I don't remember reading it although I went through a stage of reading quite a lot about them. I showed the Marx Brothers Scrapbook to my father once. It has some spicy language in it and he said "don't show it to your mother or she'll throw it on the fire". The idea hadn't occurred to me, as she didn't find them at all funny, but I appreciated the advice.

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  3. Aaahh, notebooks or - as I now refer to them, perforce - journals! There's a page coming up which I think you'll like, particularly when you see which way the journal is now going... Not enough signal here at hotel to indulge in the music and video similarly uncooperative, so I, too, will have to return.
    Alison xx

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    1. Come now - and you a voice and AT teacher. Breathe, breathe, breathe......

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  4. Oh, and thank you for your comment at W&P - the piece you're thinking of is The Last Days of Summer... very pleased that you remember it so clearly - bit pink for me... now owned by Annie!!
    Axx

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    1. Thank you! I can now enjoy it again :-) x

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  5. Glad to see the OPEN sign again...was beginning to fear the salon had been converted into a Starbucks, so: Phew! Much better music here.

    Am entirely agoggled by the difference in those 2 book covers - what a shift in attitudes to women who read, eh? And on the subject of non-fluffy, grown-up, intelligent women, did you catch all the terrible Mary Beard happenings, salonistas?

    And finally: I have had a pack of three of those gorgeous little notebooks. Small, informative covers, tiny checked pages. Swooooon.

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    1. O dear Goddess. Google has eaten my reply.

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    2. Right - what I said was, broadly, huzza for checked notebooks, you lucky thing, and BOOOOO to hideous treatment of the excellent Professor Beard.

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    3. and what an excellent point about attitudes to women who read as well as women who write. Honestly, sometimes I think we have rocketed back a few centuries.

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    4. I fear checked notebooks make me nervous. I feel under constant pressure to fill the little squares with numbers....

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    5. I can see that would be very nervous-making for you. I'd quite like it of course. The great thing about writing on checked paper is that you can do it two ways. Or four, actually. Oops - numbers, sorry.

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    6. Or - and I realise that this is possibly heretical...one can just enjoy the company of the little squares...without them managing, controlling, or even suggesting, the manner in which one should interract with their pages...I love them because they remind me of French notebooks and exercise books...but they have no discernible impact on the terrible untidyness of my notebooks.

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    7. I love checked notebooks! I just like the pattern... as long as it's the little French checks of which nell speaks not big squares like we had in our school maths books. I used to pick up a checked exercise book each time I was in Germany or France!
      Alison x

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  6. Also forgot to say the first time I was here - the book covers make me SOOO angry. Probably best I don't speak of it...
    Alison x

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    1. All emotions welcome in the salon, but understand if your decision not to speak is based on self-care! X

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  7. Chères salonistas, on one of our subject of the moment, have you caught the kerfuffle surrounding the new 50th Anniversary cover of The Bell Jar? A friend sent me this link, which will take you to some fun pertaining thereto:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2013/feb/04/the-bell-jar-book-cover-parodies-gallery

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    1. And here's another one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/1481024116/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_all

      Apparently there is a furore surrounding it but I haven't located it yet - will post link when I do.

      And they couldn't even get her hair colour right!

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    2. Aha, here it is: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/feb/08/anne-green-gables-blonde-red-hair

      (Sorry am too lazy this morning to do those fancy blog links....)

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