Sunday, 26 February 2012

Triumph of Brevity!


My beloved goddaughter Ivana came to see me yesterday afternoon when boredom in the family mansion reached absolute zenith and Vera, her mama, threatened to pressgang the poor girl for making the Sunday borscht. Which is all work, no play, and stains your hands beetroot red in the process. She wore a battle-ready mien. I knew I was in trouble and I smiled.
‘Dedushka,’ she growled, ‘(…)?’
‘I was, dear. And I still am. It’s just the boys and girls in Brussels who forced me to join the ranks of reaction and throw in my lot with my natural enemies.’
‘(…)?’
‘What? Just because I’m a Working Class Hero I can’t appreciate a good phrase by a die-hard conservative? There goes half my Golden Quotebook! No more Cato the Elder for me! Or Winston! Not to mention young Dalrymple!’
‘(…)?’
‘Beautiful articles, woven together of gorgeous phrases, by a man who has unique, privileged knowledge… What more can a man of taste and sophistication ask? But I understand I am not to sing his praises in my very own house, on my very own blog. Ah, you are young, my dear Ivana! You still do not know what life is really about!’
‘(…)?’
Chachipé!’
‘(…)?’
Truth, dear. In the Gypsy lingo. I’ll lend you my Borrow. Perhaps then you’ll understand.’
‘(…)?’
‘¡Ay! I pity the poor Pythia! George Borrow, love. Victorian fellow. A nutcase if ever I saw one, but he had pluck. Came over to Spain in the 1830s to sell Bibles to the unwashed and count fleas in Spanish jails.’
‘(…)’
‘What was wrong with my VatiLeaks? I thought it was rather charming…’
‘(…)!’
‘It is only fiction dear. Parody with a jest and a smile. I was not trying to paint an exact portrait of the present Pope, bless him. Nor do I think that there is such a thing as the Turbo Teachers for Instantaneous Creationism. So don’t fret… I was only doing a little Voltaire.’
‘(…)?’
‘Only 1,369 if the truth be told. Not counting the words in the title.’
‘(…)?’
‘What did you say to me, love? Refresh an old man’s faltering memory…’
‘(…)!’
‘I do not rightly know what you’re getting at…’
‘(…)!’
‘Ah…! That! I remember now. Yes. Well… As a matter of fact, I did contemplate what you said that day. And I decided you had a valid point.’
‘(…)?’
‘I did indeed. When did Alfred B. Mittington ever fear to look Truth in the face, I ask you? So just to please you, oh bright spark of my dark old age, I will make you a promise. I promise that your godfather will be a long-winded windbag no longer! Starting tomorrow, I will cut EVERYTHING which is redundant from the blog. Tomorrow’s post will be the leanest, meanest, most concise text that I ever produced! Only the truly vital will remain. All the brushwood will be relentlessly axed.’
‘(…)?’
‘Of course I can. No problem at all. I will simply write my text the way I am used to. Then I go back to it, I erase everything superfluous, and replace the bowdlerized bits with dots between brackets. The old scholarly way of shortening quotes with which I suppose you are familiar.’
‘(…)?’
‘Precisely! Now: will that satisfy your craving for brevity? Will it make you a happy young lass?’
‘(…)!’
‘Good. That’s a deal then. I’m so glad we finally see eye to eye on these little matters of style and substance...’

1 comment:

  1. Dedushka! I hate you! I hate you! I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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