Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lighters for anyone?

April 8 1994. The body of rock icon and the face which defined a generation was found dead. RIP Kurt Cobain. *Lights a lighter for a moment*. I have a knack for remembering dates oui? He actually died on the 4th or 5th April, but I had no time to pay my respects then. However, that wasn't really what this post was supposed to be on.

I've had this extract going in and around the revolving glass doors of my mind for a while now, and wanted to share it with whoever reads the stuff I pin up here.
"When people are happy they have a reserve, she had told Elizabeth, upon which to draw, whereas she was like a wheel without a tyre (she was fond of such metaphors), jolted by every pebble -- so she would say, staying on after the lesson, standing by the fire-place with her bag of books, her ‘satchel’, she called it, on a Tuesday morning, after the lesson was over. And she talked too about the war. After all, there were people who did not think the English invariably right. There were books. There were meetings. There were other points of view. Would Elizabeth like to come with her to So-and-so? (a most extraordinary-looking old man). Then Miss Kilman took her to some church in Kensington and they had tea with a clergyman. She had lent her books. Law, medicine, politics, all professions are open to women of your generation, said Miss Kilman. But for herself, her career was absolutely ruined, and was it her fault? Good gracious, said Elizabeth, no.

And her mother would come calling to say that a hamper had come from Bourton and would Miss Kilman like some flowers? To Miss Kilman she was always very, very nice, but Miss Kilman squashed the flowers all in a bunch, and hadn’t any small talk, and what interested Miss Kilman bored her mother, and Miss Kilman and she were terrible together; and Miss Kilman swelled and looked very plain, but Miss Kilman was frightfully clever. Elizabeth had never thought about the poor. They lived with everything they wanted, -- her mother had breakfast in bed every day; Lucy carried it up; and she liked old women because they were Duchesses, and being descended from some Lord."
Virginia Woolf in Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway
was published in 1925 and is written in the stream of consciousness style of Virginia Woolf and the High Modernists. The story basically follows a day in the life of a Mrs Dalloway who is preparing to be hostess to the Prime Minister and centres around her thoughts as she goes about her daily chores and getting the house in order for the arrival of the Prime Minister. Mrs Dalloway also formed the basis of the storyline for the book and the movie The Hours.

This passage often makes me wonder, just how far has society and social consciousness come since 1925? Women still have their own opinions, and each age thinks that the women of their age have more rights than those of the age before? Do people think about the poor any more now than they did before? Or does it not matter as long as we have what we want? Are people expedient? Does caring for your fellow members of society only extend as far as what you can get out of them?

I still do maintain that Kurt Cobain was the Virginia Woolf of our generation, both gifted artists, both tortured and both with a keen misanthropic streak. After all, if you're not a Vampire or and Elve, you never will see what a despicable race the human tribe is.

I'm going off To the Lighthouse

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