My Style

As Longtime Readers are fully aware, I loathe Modernist architecture and interior design with something approaching destructive impulse (a polite way of saying that of I could get away with it, I’d pay Muslim assholes to fly empty airliners into all of them).  Lest we forget, here are a couple of examples of same:

So, you may ask, what do you propose in modernism’s stead?  Well, if we go according to the precept that “architecture doesn’t have to  suck”, we could do with more of these:

…and for the interior design, more of these:

The above two pictures, by the way, are of an AirBnB apartment in Edinburgh (one of my favorite cities in the whole world), where I will most certainly be staying the next time New Wife and I pop Over There.

Here’s another example of an interior taken not a million miles away from a certain country house in England’s South West, where I have stayed before:

…and where we will doubtless stay again when we venture into Hardy Country.

Yes, I’m hopelessly old-fashioned and so (to the surprise of precisely nobody) is New Wife.  Your opinion may vary from ours in that you prefer the top two pictures;  but if so, you suck and so does your ghastly Bauhaus  architecture.

Buh-Bye

City Journal puts men’s magazines under the microscope, and doesn’t like what it sees:

In a tough media environment, men’s magazines are suffering more than most. Some—notably, Playboy and Esquire—appear to have decided that appealing primarily to men is no longer the best way forward.

Yeah, good luck with that, assholes, and watch your readership (and business) disappear.  Good-bye and good riddance.

Come to think of it, this humble website  offers more to men than any of the glossy so-called “men’s” magazines.  On these electronic pages can be found pictorials of topics wanted by men:  guns, cars, women, food, booze and articles including straightforward political discussion, cultural content — such as the occasional review of movies, music and fine art — and even historical analysis, all on a daily (not monthly or quarterly) basis.  Oh, and no ads.

And it’s free, except for voluntary contributions (thankee).

Red-Headed Virgin

Reader Jeff W. sends me this article, which suggests that the BVM was, in fact, a ginger:

I had no idea that she was Scottish.  Was “Mhairi” her real name, I wonder?

Anyway, never mind all that.  The blog wherein such is to be found looks very interesting, so excuse me for a day or two while I examine it closely.

En Passant

In an otherwise-unmemorable piece on woke-scolds ending Comedy As We Know It, NRO mouthpiece Jay Nordlinger says this:

I received a note from my old friend Larry Shackley, a longtime NR reader and a great admirer of P. G. Wodehouse. In fact, Larry is reading through the complete Wodehouse — complete — right now.

…as though this were somehow unusual.  Maybe it is, for Murkins who — for shame — don’t know who Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was.

To call P.G. Wodehouse one of the most-read humorist writers of the 20th century is to understate the thing — he is quite possibly the greatest humorist writer, ever.  Here’s a personal indicator.

When I left South Africa in 1986, I brought with me three suitcases of clothes, my cameras and a few other things I couldn’t bear to part with.  I brought only two books with me (from a library of well over a thousand), and those were The World of Psmith (a compendium of three books) and The Jeeves Omnibus (another compendium).  Both were written by P.G. Wodehouse.  I reasoned — correctly as it turned out, in those pre-Amazon times —  that I wouldn’t be able to find them here.

And there was just no way I was going to live in a house without Wodehouse.

Now, a lot of people don’t “get” Wodehouse because most of his situations are concerned with utterly trivial concerns — trivial maybe to us, nowadays, and certainly only non-trivial to the English upper classes circa 1928.  (One story involves the “theft” of a wonderful cook by one titled twerp from another titled household.)  But that doesn’t stop the brilliant writing from making one burst out with uncontrollable laughter occasionally.

And it should be said that Wodehouse himself was very much a fervent socialist — his take on the peccadilloes of the English upper classes is almost invariably satirical — yet his satire is not the bitter waspishness of Private Eye  magazine, but gentle and almost indulgent.  Look at these idiots, he seems to say, see how foolish and inconsequential they are.  One of my favorite lines from the Bertie Wooster stories comes when Bertie is beset with looming trouble and catastrophe, and says to his long-suffering “gentleman’s gentleman” Jeeves as he is being dressed for dinner:

“At a time like this, Jeeves, I wonder whether the length of one’s trousers actually matters,” and receives the gentle rebuke:
“There is never  a time, sir, when the length of one’s trousers doesn’t matter.”

Wodehouse left England for a career as a Hollywood scriptwriter, only to become embroiled in the Cold War-McCarthyism of the Fifties.  How ironic, then, that he, the one-time socialist, should write of that time:

“Humorists have been scared out of the business by the touchiness now prevailing in every section of the community. Wherever you look, on every shoulder there is a chip, in every eye a cold glitter warning you, if you know what is good for you, not to start anything.”

What was practiced on the socialists of that era is being repeated with even more venom and coldness by the P.C. (and mostly socialist) tribe of today.

Anyway, enough of that.  I think I’ll marmalade a slice of toast, and go and read A Pelican At Blandings, featuring the wonderfully-named Galahad Threepwood of whom it was said (and I paraphrase) that he was so ardent a party animal that he hadn’t slept till age fifty.  And if anyone should think that I resemble Galahad’s elder brother Clarence, the Earl of Emsworth, who looks with utter bewilderment on the modern world and prefers to retreat to his library and read — well, you’d be absolutely correct.

Small Wonder

According to some organization, Vienna is the most “liveable” city in the world.  I can see why, and I could live there in a heartbeat.  I’ve often commented on my love for Vienna — to this day, it’s the only city that is so beautiful that the first time I went there, I walked the streets with tears running down my cheeks.

I don’t know what criteria the EIU set to decide livability, but here are mine:

1)  It must be beautiful.  Vienna has that, in spades.

2)  There must be lots of culture:  art, music and all the rest.  Feel free to tell me Vienna doesn’t have that  covered.  Here’s the Kunsthistoriches (Art History) museum, see also beauty (above)

…and as for music?  Even their street musicians are a cut above the rest (he was playing Mozart  tunes, FFS):

 

3)  The people must be well-mannered, well-dressed and classy.  Vienna:  check, check and check.  The Viennese are terribly formal, which suits me down to the ground.

4)  A relaxed lifestyle.  Vienna = café culture, maybe even more so than Paris.  And oooh the coffee…

5) Good food, and restaurants.  Here’s Vienna’s equivalent of Whole Foods, or maybe M&S Food Court.  Let me tell you:  I know  grocery stores, and Julius Meinl is the best in the world.

Let’s not forget the street markets:

So yeah:  if somebody stuck a gun to my head and said, “You have to go and live in Vienna!”, I’d snatch the gun away and shoot him before he could change his mind.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t list a couple of negatives about Vienna.  (A German I met once said, “Vienna would be beautiful, except for the Viennese”, and my only qualification of his opinion is that of the language.)

I speak German reasonably well, and can get around most of Germany without too much hassle (once I’ve been  there a few days and have caught up — you don’t use it, you lose it, and I’ve pretty much lost it).  That’s not true in Vienna, where the local patois is incomprehensible, even to a lot of Germans.  (In the early days in Munich, Hitler had to take a few elocution lessons because people couldn’t understand his Austrian-accented speeches.)

Also:  in winter, it’s witch’s tit cold.  Holy balls.  Even coming from Chicago as I did, Viennese winters are cold, Bubba.  The only good thing about winter there is that it keeps most of the tourists away — which brings me to my last quibble:  in summer, Vienna has more tourists per square yard than the average day at DisneyWorld.

But in summer, the weather is glorious and the whole city seems to sing.  The multitude of statues to Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and Strauss (all of whom lived in Vienna) must have something to do with it…

Mein schönes Wien… I need to get back there, and soon.

As for the rest of the “ten most liveable” cities on that list?  Ugh.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s Snow White and the Nine Dwarfs.

And one wonders how anyone could put Vienna and Toronto (???!!!) on the same such list, with a straight face.

Unwanted Contact

I have spoken before about my distaste for men hugging each other (other than family).  Even Doc Russia, who despite his fearsome appearance is a hugger, only gets a brief one-armer from me, and even that only because he is one of my closest friends.  Maybe I’m a closet Brit:

In today’s touchy-feely society, it may seem like everyone is hugging and planting kisses on each other.
But people are still only comfortable with a formal introductory handshake with a study finding British reserve is alive and well when meeting people for the first time.
A demonstrative hug or continental double kiss is unlikely to go down well, as we are really only comfortable with strangers touching just our hands.
Researchers asked people to mark, on a computer, the parts of their body, front and back, that those in their lives were allowed to touch.
British people had no problem with close relatives and friends touching their face or upper torso when giving them a hug, but did not want strangers to do the same.

No kidding.  This is where, despite my French surname, I part ways with my heritage.  Men doing the kissy-cheeks thing?  Fuck that.

It amazes me that in a time when we seem to be drifting apart from each other, that this unwarranted intimacy is becoming more popular — or maybe the first is the cause of the second, I dunno.

I only hug women, and only women whom I’ve known for a long time or who are intimates (e.g. are themselves close friends, or are married to same), and there is considerable  overlap between the two groups.

But men?  Nu-uh… it just feels wrong.  Some amateur/professional psychologists — once again, overlap — are doubtless going to ascribe this trait to either latent homosexuality or [gasp!] homophobia, but at the best of times I don’t care what other people think of me (and psycho-weenies least of all).  Hugging men feels strange, and I don’t like strange.

A good, firm handshake is all we men need.  Leave the huggy-kissy bullshit to the Frogs and fags [yes, again some overlap].   Hell, I’d even feel uncomfortable giving a hug to Carol Vorderman, and y’all know what I think of her.

 

Of course I’d hug her;  but only if she asked me to.  I have standards.