Friday, 9 July 2010


I'm still reading Andrew Motion's fine biography of Philip Larkin. I'm liking Larkin less and less as a person, though the poetry (which is what matters) is wonderful.

Sometimes, though, I find uncomfortable similarities between Mr. Larkin and myself. This is the poet on his fellow lodger, Evans, in Wellington, Shropshire, where Larkin was the librarian (p. 124):
…he regards the natural state of two strangers in the same room as conversation. I regard it as respectful and preoccupied silence. In consequence, he tries to make conversation, which I consider rude, and I try to shut him up, which no doubt he considers rude. He's one of those people who regard you as a fit target for conversation of you are reading a book. The ••••.

That last word isn't suitable for a family blog, let alone a librarian in the 1940s. That said, I do possess a t-shirt bearing the legend 'I'm Reading. Fuck Off', though I'm too retiring to actually wear it in public.


Anonymous said...

Hi Plashing.

We'll all have to fuck off soon - probably Larkin too if he worked at Wolverhampton University library.

Also, boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of hastily withdrawn books going out the back doors, destined for

The Plashing Vole said...

Oh God. How appalling. Thanks for the tip. How utterly depressing that books are seen as merely something else from which to make a fast buck too.

There's a general tendency to dumb down library staff too: it's a skilled profession, but librarians are being reduced to cheap shelf-stackers.

No consultation about what's being discarded either. I'll have to make a fuss.