I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Got it? Flaunt it!

Luxury is several things:

Ease/comfort based on habitual or liberal use of expensive items without regard to cost.

  Something desirable but costly or difficult to obtain.

  Something relatively expensive adding to pleasure or comfort but not indispensable.

Do I do luxury? Ignoring wine as too complex, the answer must be no. I once bought a Savile Row suit but only to dazzle potential US employers at job interviews. Several shirts were excessive but were needed for special events - notably weddings.

My Longines wristwatch cost lots but was a gift. Dictionaries? - they're big but I flatter myself I need big. Dover sole costs much more then cod but it's better; in any case it's a rarish treat.

Only my shaving bowl refills are luxurious. A tenner, they cost three times more than the competition and come from Geo F. Trumper in swanky Curzon Street, London, who once cut James Bond's hair. When they lasted a year they were almost a bargain. Now only six months.

Trumper is "for the discerning" and issues instructions: "Only shave after a bath or shower; prepare the skin with Trumper’s skin food.”

Why Trumper? To keep tabs on the enemy.

I would sleep wrapped up, as it were, in a great cloak of snug and savoury air, shot with the glow of logs which would break out again in flame in a sort of alcove without walls, a cave of warmth dug out of the heart of the room itself, a zone of heat whose boundaries were constantly shifting and altering in temperature as gusts of air ran across  them to strike freshly upon my face…


  1. Did you dazzle the potential employers or were they women who could only be impressed by Armani wearers?

  2. And I would sleep as if curled next to a strong man. Touching not the skin but that warm void that lies between, warmer perhaps for the feelings that it represents.

    Or, failing the strong man, an giant orange goose-down sleeping bag is quite good!

  3. Are the refills smaller or are you shaving twice as often? Or perhaps indulging in luxuriously frothy episodes? What is your edge tool of choice?

  4. Ellena: The suit wasn't necessary. I got the job via an exchange of letters. As to the ladies I had much more powerful seduction tools: my vocabulary. my rock solid syntax and my accent. "Just talk," some of them said, fluttering their eyelashes.

    Blonde Two: I'm glad someone's responding to Proust. And/or letting their mind run free.

    MikeM: The refills are the same size but, I think, less dense. A variant on the old "planned obsolescence" principle whereby durability is no longer seen as a sales advantage. Gillette three-blade disposables.

  5. Should have thanked you for posting the Proust. I was stunned to be transported so quickly and so completely to another place. The August sun was swept into a smothering pit, the ranging summer zephyrs gathered and reduced to sighs. All this in a moment and without a jolt, in fact I felt immersed in comfort.

  6. I went away uncommented as I was puzzling over the matter of a shaving bowl refill, and still am, doubtless a gap in my education or imagination or both. The wrapper's pretty anyway.

    I like the Proust immensely, but perhaps even more Blonde 2's images. I'm sure a sleeping bag must really have to be orange to do the trick properly.

  7. Why exclude wine from your acceptable luxuries? Complex it may be but isn't that so with many other luxuries?

  8. The electrical grid is complex, but is it indispensable?

  9. MikeM: Any moment now you'll be making the big decision: reducing your reading to one title and not emerging from this decision until the late Spring. Seriously, I'm not trying to convert anyone (as you say - you've already read other longish extracts) just laying evidence before people who might be be unaware of it. There are a dozen reasons for reading Proust and beautiful - but not fussy - prose is just one of them. Yes, it's hard work but so was ploughing (plowing?) for 11 hours after which I assume you experienced extreme gratification.

    Lucy: I would be surprised ("alarmed" would be more appropriate) if shaving bowl refills had played any part - large or small - in your life. Especially if Tom is an electric man (which something tells me he isn't). I must confess that what I've heard about women's attitudes towards shaving has horrified me beyond belief; by implication you've opened up a can of worms which I'm backing away from.

    Not difficult to find worthwhile extracts and I'm still only fifty pages or so into Swann's Way.

    Natalie: For better or for worse I limit my posts (other than short stories) to 300 words. And that includes the Proust extract. Here I wanted to make some general remarks about the nature of luxury; I decided to omit wine from my considerations just to keep the wordage down. Wine blurs the issues since, in my case, it is both a necessity and a luxury. I have written about wine many times in the past.

    MikeM: So is quantum theory but from time to time I manage a post which doesn't refer to it. So the answer to your question is: occasionally one can give it a rest.

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