Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Where the Elite Meet to Aesthete (part two)

The Quarterly Review
is a gathering place
for sceptical, practical
conservative gentlemen
Gentlemen who write and read and talk

In here is what to talk about this month...
If you are the right kind of person
who reads The Quarterly Review.

All marketing defines us like this...
We are the kind of people who drink this wine
And use this shampoo

And read the Quarterly Review.

If all writing is for Company,
and all reading is conversation
Then reading a genius
is a conversation with eternity.
But reading a periodical
identifies you
as being like the other folk who read it.

So to sell itself,
the Quarterly has to take a line
strike a tone
They are telling us who they are
what they're like,
who's invited and who's not...
Geniuses don't do that.

These days, the London Review of Books
is a bit like that...reading it is like joining a club
for guilty non aligned liberals...
that Alan Bennett is a member of
(Alan Bennett for example)
You look at who is who on the letters page...
And that's you
Reading it makes you part of that company.

For two hundred years,
reading the Quarterly Review
has made you a member
of John Murray's club
at 50 Albemarle Street
(You and Walter Scott)
(Walter Scott for example)

So if we read it NOW
we are eavesdropping the conversation
of a Gentleman's Club
In London
in February 1809
We are not reading
We are overhearing.

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