Weekend 218.0 (Monuments out of moments)

(1) Espousing the Marriage to Slowness (WSJ)

This rhythm ricochets through “Collected Poems,” the complete sentence yielding to a sequence of fragments. The grammar impedes the action, performing the “marriage to slowness” that Mr. Gilbert so deeply espouses, and Bartleby transforms into the poet himself: the lone spectator, watching vigilantly, striving to see beyond what he can see.

We think of lifetimes as mostly
the exceptional
and sorrows. Marriage we remember
as the children,
vacations, and emergencies. The
uncommon parts.
But the best is often when nothing
is happening.

(1a) A related quote from The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

“The fear of forgetting anything precious can trigger in us the wish to raise a structure, like a paperweight to hold down our memories…The desire to remember unites our reasons for building for the living and for the dead. As we put up tombs, markers and mausoleums to memorialise lost loved ones, so do we construct and decorate buildings to help us recall the important but fugitive parts of ourselves. The pictures and chairs in our own homes are the equivalents – scaled for our own day, attuned to the demands of the living – of the giant burial mounds of the Palaeolithic times. Our domestic fittings, too, are memorials to identify.

We may occasionally and guiltily experience the desire to create a home as a wish to vaunt ourselves in front of others. But only if the truest parts of ourselves were egomaniacal would the urge to build be dominated by the need to boast. Instead, at its most genuine, the architectural impulse seems connected to a longing for communication and commemoration, a longing to declare ourselves to the world through the language of objects, colours and bricks: an ambition to let others know who we are – and, in the process, to remind ourselves.”

(2) British Design: A Nostalgic Leap Forward (WSJ)

The style and design sensibility that emerged in the years that followed the 1948 Olympics is what curator Christopher Breward calls “a tempered Modernism”—a movement distinct from its American and European counterparts mainly in its refusal to completely leave the past behind. “If you look at urban planning and industrial design on both sides of the Atlantic and especially in Scandinavia, there’s a real engagement with the brash possibilities of Modernism,” Mr. Breward says. “In Britain, it always gets tempered. It was more decorative, more whimsical, more nostalgic.”

(2a) London cafes: the surprising history of London’s lost coffeehouses (Telegraph)

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