I got with the kids today and downloaded a kindle thingy which means I can read books on the clinical and uninspiring surface of my huge computer screen. The problem is I then have committed myself to reading the bastard things, once the initial buzz of delight at instant books appearing on my desktop has worn off. I selected Juliet Gardiner’s most recent epistle: ‘The Thirties’. We love the Jules in Bluebird Towers. She wrote an excellent book on the home front during the war and was the historical adviser for the Channel 4 1940s house, which is where I want to live (but without the bombing). She knows all sorts of fascinating details about individual lives and we just think she is fab. Of course, that means I have a four hundred page book which is staring out at me on my computer and I am firmly stuck in Chapter Two with it’s details of fiscal policy. I mainly want to get to the section that is about Charlestons and shoes but am unsure whether there is one. I am also reading, at the same time, Roy Hattersley’s ‘The Edwardians’ and Gerald Clarke’s biography of Judy Garland, so most likely I will get it all twisted up in some inter-war nightmare in which King Edward is singing ‘Get Happy’ and La Garland sorts out the problems left behind after Churchill fannied about with The Gold Standard. I think British politics is all the poorer, my friends, for its absence of tap-dancing and Irving Berlin medleys.
None of which gets my Dissertation written of course. I have a meeting with the Doctor on Tuesday (academic, not medical – there’s no way I’m going into his office to talk about my periods, thank you) in which I hope to finally present him with the title. It’s on the idea of safe spaces in the West End for respectable women in the late Victorian age, and I keep having to explain to people it’s not ENTIRELY about shopping. Well, not really. I am off to the London Library to read bygone issues of ‘The Lady’ from the 1880s, with their irate letters to the Editor about standards, usually letters filled with disgust about prostitutes not wearing hats and children having the impertinence to grow taller etc. The London Library is a bastion of civilized learning in that hotbed of the London underworld, St James’s Square. It’s full of corduroy-clad squires from the shires sleeping in armchairs, buried under editions of Country Life. The staff wake them up once a year when their membership fee is due.
I am not going to write about this election anymore because it is arse-numbingly dull. I have a headcold and am retiring to bed for the afternoon with Agatha Christie’s ‘They Do It With Mirrors’.