The luncheon was not altogether a success….

"She ate noisily, greedily, a little like a wild beast in a menagerie...."
"She ate noisily, greedily, a little like a wild beast in a menagerie, and after she had finished each course rubbed the plate with pieces of bread till it was white and shining, as if she did not wish to lose a single drop of gravy. They had Camembert cheese, and it disgusted Philip to see that she ate rind and all of the portion that was given her. She could not have eaten more ravenously if she were starving." --W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage (1915) Read More...

PliéRelevé … Heel!

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely critters--at least as far as Mrs. Midnight's Animal Comedians were concerned.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely critters--at least as far as Mrs. Midnight's Animal Comedians were concerned. The rage during the 1753 London season, this troupe plied its trade in a small, elaborately decorated theater named the Castle Tavern. The show starred poet Christopher Smart, who appeared in drag as Mrs. Midnight and orchestrated the splendid entertainments his trained dogs and monkeys performed in period dress and powdered periwigs.  (more…) Read More...

Starting out in the Evening

A newly revised Starting Out is in order. But what would such a thing look like? Under my editorship it would be present- rather than future-oriented, and it would exult an ethic of making do. Entire chapters would be devoted to advice on living, if not stylishly, then passably while servicing debt. It would be
The Betty Crocker company’s book, Starting Out: How to Get the Most Out of Your Home, Furnishings, Food, Money (1975) begins, as so many books of this sort do, by inviting young couples reading it to daydream about their first home. Will they nab hip urban digs complete with picture windows and ficus-ready terrace? Perhaps there awaits a handsome townhouse with private patio for outdoor entertaining. If they heed Aunt Betty’s advice, which covers everything from “taking care of your refrigerator” to the “vital do’s and don’ts of credit,” these young lovebirds will no doubt put themselves in a position to make their dreams a reality. I picked up a copy of Starting Out at a poky little thrift store eking out its catchpenny existence in some postindustrial armpit I found myself in one weekend. I enjoy such books and have… Read More...