ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Last month, Scottish blogger Gordon McLean blogged about a little olde fashioned shop selling all the sweets from his childhood. Flying saucers! Cinder candy! He spent the best part of 10 minutes oohhh-ing and ahhhh-ing over the display. Cherry Lips! ABC Letters! From the expression on the shop owner's face he wasn't the first person to react that way and he got the feeling that half the fun of the shop was taken from watching people's reactions.

Heh, flying saucers. I remember them. Here's my memory lane although not sure if I have the names exactly right: sherbert dabs, pineapple cube chunks, pear drops, sour cherry balls, gobstoppers, aniseed balls, pink shrimps, acid drops and other things that took the roof off your mouth off or made your lips peel.

Great new invention in early 1960's was Jublies - an orange juice in a trianglular carton which we got the corner shopkeeper to freeze - as a big wodge of ice lolly - much better value for our handful of big copper pennies, golden threepenny pieces and silvery sixpenny pieces.

That was back in the days of farthings, ten bob notes, florins, half-crowns and guineas - and when one shilling (5p or 10p? can't remember) went a long way and stretched to most of the above along with a halfpenny box of matches and a few Park Drive/No. 6 smokes...sold in singles under the counter...
_ _ _

The real fellowship of the ring

How JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis' all-night argument about God paved the way for both "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Chronicles of Narnia."

On a warm September night in 1931, three men went for an after-dinner walk on the grounds of Magdalen College, part of Oxford University. They took a stroll on Addison's Walk, a beautiful tree-shaded path along the River Cherwell, and got into an argument that lasted into the wee hours of the morning -- and left a lasting mark on world literature.

At the time, only one of the men had any kind of reputation: Henry Victor Dyson, a bon vivant scholar who had shared tables and bandied words with the likes of TE Lawrence, Virginia Woolf and Bertrand Russell. His two companions were little-known Oxford academics with a shared taste for Icelandic sagas, Anglo-Saxon verse and the austere cultural mystique of "the North." Few people remember Dyson now, while millions celebrate the names of his companions: CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

Yet the works that made their reputations -- "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" for Tolkien, "The Chronicles of Narnia" for Lewis -- were profoundly shaped by that night-long argument and the bond it cemented. It's possible that Tolkien's Middle-earth would have remained entirely a private obsession, and quite likely that Lewis would never have found the gateway to Narnia.

[via Gary Santoro via]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 3/24/2004
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