online: 19 may 2006
modified: 18, 19 may 2006

12 may 2006 tastelessness, compromise and glory

20:41... expecting a rainstorm i broke off my walk to shelter and to drink something at the Spaniard's Inn (which is close to the heath)... thoughts are still half in Copenhagen - after editing what i wrote while living in that apartment so perfectly conceived by Poul Kjaerholm and the other designers of the golden age of Danish design as they call it...

...but now i am in an English beer garden attached to an historic inn made of wood and augmented by halogen-lit outdoor tables under canopies and umbrellas and surrounded by British tastelessness and compromise... nothing relates visually to anything else, all is symbolic and sentimental...

...Dick Turpin (a highway robber) is suppose to have frequented this inn about 300 years ago... i feel out of place here but at home in the forest... (shrieks and screams of laughter from some women... and then unhappy cries from a baby... at nearby tables)... on my table are stubs of burnt-out cigars but i can see no one smoking cigarettes - are the new laws prohibiting smoking in pubs already in force i wonder?...

...i've yet to see or to hear something i like in this ambience... so i decide to wait here until such a thing happens! of the women suddenly slaps a table with a BANG that reminds me of Japanese music or a Noh Play... Now she kisses the others and departs... she is carrying on her back a musical instrument... from the shape of its case i guess that it could be a harp...

...with that bang and the possibility of harp music i get up to go, for these are things i like...

...the landlord tells me that the no-smoking legislation comes into force next year and already he is prohibiting smoking in the central bar but allowing it in the smaller bars and in the garden... toilet i see an extraordinary advertisement directed at drunken motorists:

we send a chauffeur on a collapsible moped (which goes in the boot of your car) and the chauffeur drives you home - you pay considerably less than for a licensed taxi (my paraphrase)

i am still surprised by the great change in my lifetime - from the near universal approval or acceptance of smoking and drink-driving to the by now heavy legislation against both of them - yet the public houses continue to thrive and people just adapt to the new laws but don't quite give up these habits. why have we become unsympathetic to both cigarette smoke and drunkeness - most of us were brought up to accept them as normal, even as necessities, or as real pleasures... i edit this entry i realise that i've been limiting this diary to places and events that i like... i'm not so happy to be describing one that i don't... but the good life without intoxicants - is it possible or even desirable... there can have been few cultures without them.

on the way home i called at a supermarket and stopped inside to copy out in astonishment some of the words printed in Gothic letters on clothing and souvenirs for supporters of the England football team:
England 22
take on the world
field of passion
play to win
search for glory

...this changes my perceptions.

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