Every day, in every way I am getting better and better. It says here.

285-JoggingFitnessAnyone who knows me in the slightest knows I think exercise is a good thing. In my case it is running and perhaps a small amount of tai chi. I do not need scientific proof for doing this. I enjoy it, it keeps my blood pressure and pulse normal and my weight around average, perhaps a little below. Yes, I have had one nasty accident but that is all over and I am getting in maybe an hour and a quarter every morning. All I know and really all I need to know is moderate exercise is good for you.
In the United States some entrepreneurs produce sites which seem to suggest they have found the secret to eternal youth and have the scientific phrases to go along with it.
It all reminds me of Coué’. In 1922 he was all the craze. What you did was recite “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”
The Coué method centered on a routine repetition of this particular expression according Continue reading Every day, in every way I am getting better and better. It says here.

On being a shy pornographer

MTE5NTU2MzE2MzIyMTA0ODQzBack in 1961 I was running a paperback house in Britain and Maurice Girodias was running the Olympia Press in Paris. We did a deal whereby I published the least actionable Olympia books — not a large percentage of the list — in Britain.
Earlier, but not by much,  there was the drama over Lolita.
This splendid book by Vladimir Nabokov, written in English and published by Maurice at Olympia in 1955 in Continue reading On being a shy pornographer

Aspirin might be even better for you

Peter MilesThis is an odd story and starts around 1950 or so. The French were trying to hang-on in Vietnam and had bugger all chance. The Americans were slowly moving in and the Australians started to arrive around 1962.
Among the  Australians was a doctor  called Peter Miles who worked in serious combat areas. I had been in Vietnam for strange reasons before him and when he retired from the Australian army and went to civilian doctoring in Hong Kong we met and became firm friends. He retired about ten years ago.
He believed in self-medication in moderation. In Vietnam and Malaya (as it then was) if we were going out on patrol we took two Panadol or equivalent. Note, not aspirin. The Americans called this ‘firefighters candy’
But back in civilian life or when not in a combat zone Peter Miles was very keen we took a Continue reading Aspirin might be even better for you

Publishers and booksellers stuff it up

In a sense, all of my life I have been a publisher. Books, magazines what have you. And I have dealt with booksellers albookshop1l my life. (I originally headed this article ‘Booksellers stuff it up’ but, in fact it is publishers and booksellers.
I have never agreed with the popular image that they are intelligent, thoughtful, cultural souls who have the interests of the public at heart. Indeed, I would argue strongly against that image.
Let us take one simple fact.
When Sir Allen Lane first launched Penguins in Britain no bookshop would stock them. They did not think they would sell and, frankly dear, they were somewhat common. It was the wife of the buyer at Woolworth’s who Continue reading Publishers and booksellers stuff it up

I am not nutty, I think

cleeseThis is going to sound strange but it really happened. And then it might sound a lot stranger.
Years ago in British some television was done in studios in Shepherd’s Bush, a suburb of London. As a place to work it  was, then, not that popular. It lacked the sizzle, pop and snap of other places.
I have no idea who I was appearing with that night or whether I was appearing in a non-fiction show on a new book or the latest Continue reading I am not nutty, I think

On not writing

Yesterday I ran. Only two hundred steps but that is the way to restart. Why I have been absent from running (and from Sorgai) for so long — it seems like an age — is because of an unhappy accident. parham-garden40-1580x780-300x270
On June 16 I went for a long run — two and a half hours. No strain. Wonderful weather. Lots of deer. More rabbits than Watership Down.
Next morning, June 17, I decided to go for a much shorter run. Planned 50 minutes. Started off at 4.40 am. Glorious sunlight.

Continue reading On not writing

Lewis Carroll – innocent?

alice1Let us agree that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a wonderful book. I first read it when I was about seven and was struck with wonder. I have read it several times since and the wonder simply does not go away.
It is, for me, like a literary way of taking LSD. Now Anthony Lane in the New Yorker has written a review of The Story of Alice by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst who is a professor of English at Oxford. He lives near the college where Lewis Carroll — or more correctly the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson — taught maths and wrote Alice in Wonderland.
In July, 1862, Dodgson – Lewis Carroll –  went rowing, one afternoon, with a friend Robinson Duckworth and his three young sisters—Lorina, Alice, and Edith  Continue reading Lewis Carroll – innocent?

Singo as a larrikin

John Singleton has been in some strife for slashing at a mate, John Cosingo4win, with a broken glass at the end of long lunch. The scene was at Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse, on Woolloomooloo’s (learn how to spell it by saying Sheep, Toilet, Cow, Toilet.) Finger Wharf, where Singo (his Australian name) was dining with John Cowin, the billionaire founder of fast food franchise Hungry Jack’s. The story is slightly vague as to the reasons but to say it was caused by Singleton drinking rose seems a bit odd especially as the bill is available and shows no rose wine. There seems little doubt that Singleton was intoxicated to a degree. Continue reading Singo as a larrikin