Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

In his book How to be Idle, my hero Tom Hodgkinson (editor of The Idler) titles chapter seven, "2 p.m.: On being ill." Now bear in mind, he's not talking about life-threatening situations, just those nasty old colds and such like. Willow, I think you might appreciate them.

Not just one quote, but three:

"When ill, you can avoid all those irksome tasks which make living such hard work. You don't even have to get dressed, for one thing. You can pad around the house in your dressing gown like Sherlock Holmes, Noël Coward or our friend, that hero of laziness, Oblomov. 'The dressing gown had a number of invaluable qualities in Oblomov's eyes; it was soft and pliable; it did not get in his way; it obeyed the least movement of his body, like a docile slave.'"

"When ill, you are the master. You do what you like. You can wander over to the record player and put on your old Clash albums. Stare out of the window. Laugh inwardly at the sufferings of your co-workers. You can surrender to delirious netherworlds as you fall in and out of sleep. You can even imagine yourself to be a latter-day romantic poet, pale, consumptive, surrounded by beautiful, adoring young girls."

"What happened, I wonder, to the doctors of the turn of the century, who used to recommend long periods of inactivity on the South Coast for minor ailments? These days doctors just sell you pills, but there used to be a wonderful medical prescription known as the 'rest cure' - in other words, the only way we can cure this is for you to do as little as possible for as long as possible. When the sickly, velvet-coated dandy Robert Louis Stevenson fell ill in 1873, aged 23, the diagnosis was 'nervous exhaustion with a threatening of phthisis' and the prescription was a winter on the Riviera 'in complete freedom from anxiety and worry.'"

Tom Hodgkinson: Such is my devotion to you that I could say that if I were less lazy and somewhat inclined to have children, I would want to bear yours. But truthfully, I'd rather just hang out with you and listen to Clash albums in our dressing gowns.

11 comments:

Bill Stankus said...

Hanging out, dressing gowns, no children, possibly on the Rivera .. Martinis I assume.

I think you're talking about paradise!

Nicely done, BPG!

Eaglewing said...

The only solace in being sick is sitting in the easy chair watching old movie after old movie.

I think the 'rest cure' needs to make a comeback in medical circles. I could do with a prescribed winter on the Riviera.

willow said...

That's it. I need a Sherlock Holmes dressing gown to do "sick" properly. Then I could be in the netherworld in top form. Staring out the window in my jammies is just not the same.

steviewren said...

By Friday I usually am sick of work.

Hmmmmm....it seems as if I treat the weekends as if I am sick....well I do feel better after 2 days of delicious inactivity!

So that is why I am so lazy on the weekends.

Capt. Luke said...

Tom Hodgkinson or whoever is an extreme rotter and a no good communist. An not so hot at Idling I think.

Blog Princess G said...

It seems we all concur!

As for Captain Luke, lo hast thou proven thyself a very naughty boy who should not mock my secret boyfriend. And verily was it not a certain Captain who bid me read a mighty book, THE book according to the salt-encrusted one, and was it not in that Great Wonderful Book that we read: Judge not lest ye yourself be judged!

In other words, just watch it mister or there'll be smacked bottoms a-plenty.

Stevyn Colgan said...

He's a lovely man, our Tom. I have a lot of time for him (and he makes a mean muffin too). Great blog ... I shall stop by often. And so good to meet someone who likes 'After the fox'! Ah, what a film.

Bill Stankus said...

BPG: I have an idea, what if we make relaxation, rest and lolling about for better health a religion? With tax exempt status we would then have the time to spread the word, one casual relaxed conversation at a time. Advil optional.

I suggest our church resemble a large patio, lots of cold drinks and snacks and no agenda other than basic R&R. Preferably, services are held either on balmy days or warm, bug-free evenings.

Once this catches on life will become a series of "Oh by the way, did you catch the movie ... and isn't the guacamole wonderful? I'm feeling tired, I need a nap.

Of course, during the winter there would be carpooling to the Southwest and beyond. The sun is soooo soothing and medicinal. Oh, nurse, could I have another martini?

david mcmahon said...

My Mum once corrected a test paper where the student had writen `Sir Isaac Newton was an idle scientist'' - but the pupil meant to say ``ideal scientist''!!

Blog Princess G said...

Stevyn: I think After the Fox is one of the great under-rated films ever. And what a pedigree: Neil Simon script, direction by de Sica, with Peter Sellers. I mean... really.

Bill: I'm with you sir. For my part, idleness is about pleasure-seeking and day-dreaming. Lolling is another good word. Lolling about gazing out the window. As Tom Hodgkinson says, the great thinkers have often been lollers. Otherwise when else could they have come up with their great ideas. Not that productivity is mandatory, it just often happens. As for the religious status, I already hail "How to be Idle" as my bible. :)

David: either or... idleness is ideal in my book.

Blog Princess G said...

Stevyn: Thanks for stopping by. And your muffins are still haunting me.