Thursday, 26 April 2012

Orwell And Good

It's got to the point where I've written so much that I'm not sure if I've covered this already, or just thought about it at length on my lengthy morning walks.

When first I read George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London at the age of 19, the baby cynic in me thought it was all a bit pretend.  He was just playing at being poor, wasn't he?  It seemed like a social experiment and, indeed, he was neatly rescued by a friend offering employment as a tutor, at the end.  At least I think that's what happened.  The book is probably under several hundred others in the wardrobe.  According to Wiki, 'Orwell left Paris in December 1929 and returned to England, going straight home to his parents' house in Southwold'.

In fact the seriously poor Parisian period, which seems quite long, greasy, hungry and bug-ridden to anyone who has read it, actually lasted only a few months.  A couple of years later, when he was "tramping" in England, 'he ended up in the Tooley Street kip, which he found so unpleasant that he wrote home for money and moved to more comfortable lodgings'.  My 19 year old instinct may have been right, then.  It was a sort of experimental poverty, relievable by the odd fiver from distant, slightly bewildered parents.

Hemingway was in Paris a few years earlier, living a poorish existence, but there was always money enough for drink, someone to watch over their child, and trips to Pamplona and Schruns.  In fact that's not really poorish at all.  That's relatively bloody well-off.  But they did live over a saw-mill in a slightly sleazy area.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this.  There has long been a tradition for writers to go and live somewhere cheaply, where they can buy good wine, write from the front-line of Expatria, and generally appear a bit romantic.  Look at old Byron, swimming the Grand Canal in Venice, with his club-foot.

I'm not a writer.  Not really, despite the kind comments I've had on here.  I have written all my life and have published the odd thing, but it's been off and on.  Not so much the Grand Canal as the Thames at Runnymede.

And I'm not here in Brux living a sort of faux poverty in order to furnish a book with authenticity.  In fact I'm not really living in poverty.  Granted there are no trips to Pamplona planned but heck, I can go to Paris any damn time I want.

Which brings me to another Orwell book.  In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Inner Party member O'Brien says 'If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.'  Well, my Nineteen Eighty-Four  image of oppression would be a child's arse pooing—forever.

So, yeah.  I think what I'm saying is, I want to live authentically, and well, but not with the intention of this  being for some literary purpose.  It never was, anyway.  The blog is a by-product.  And I want an end to poo.  I think we can all agree that is the way forward. 


  1. I really wanted to post a witty and literary reposte but I am so very tired that all I can do is say - I did enjoy it and your corner-of-the-eye observations. I keep saying the title and tittering - you make me titter! (Shame on you.) Ax

  2. Well you can't beat a bit of titter-lation...