In 1840 Charles McKay, in his book Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions, listed a number of defunct, yet once hugely popular catchphrases. Among them – has your mother sold her mangle? walker! quoz! flare up! and there he goes with his eye out! Each, as Mackay noted, was “the slang par excellence of the Londoners, and afforded them a vast gratification”. And now? All gone, not to mention forgotten.
The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.
There is a part of ourselves that needs silence and needs space in order just to develop and grow. What much of modern life does is it removes that silence. A lot of people do not know what they are missing.
BBC News: The ubiquity of the modern beep
The stillness sinks in so slowly that patience is required. Faith in the Art of Nothing pays dividends, eventually. This place speaks, if you know how to listen to a litany withheld.
I bite my tongue and bide my time, waiting until I’m empty. Then I fill my lungs with the silence and take it back to the city, to the deafened, the drowning and the suffocated.
I play with the words
Like a bored cat plays with mice
Sentencing to death