Christopher Stocks


What money can’t buy

I’ve been feeling down about my ever-declining income for ages now, but this quote from William Gaddis’s freewheeling Carpenter’s Gothic, which I finally got round to reading this week, cheered me up no end.

‘…money like that’s supposed to mean you can buy the best, best food, best cars, friends, lawyers brokers all these God damn doctors but the money attracts the worst so that’s what they buy, they buy the worst and the worst scare off the best…’

Maybe there’s something to be said for being hard-up after all.

Wound of the week

Being naturally clumsy and living in a 250-year-old house with low doors is not, on the whole, a good combination, and I spend a lot of my time nursing cuts and bruises, but I acquired this week’s wound, for a change, on my way to watch the sunset with a friend at the Cove House pub on Chesil Beach. Striding through the scrubby vegetation on the back of the beach, the hairy stem of a flowering mallow brushed against my leg. I thought nothing of it at the time, but by that evening there was a livid red patch on my calf and the area was painfully swollen; three days later it’s still itching and red.

Choppy day at ChesilActually I don’t mind being clumsy that much, apart from the wounds, obviously – I was always covered in scratches and bruises as a child, and there’s something oddly manly about being slightly damaged; my brother may be even clumsier, but we’re both over six feet tall, so bumping into things comes with the territory anyway.

Sometimes, though – usually after I’ve just nearly knocked myself out on a lintel or tried to catch a falling bread-knife by the blade – I wish I lived in a softer, more expansive world of rounded corners and no hard edges; a nice modern house, for example, with high doors and sensible stairs. When I’ve really hurt myself I dream of moving to a desert, perhaps, where the hardest surface is sand, and living in a tent, or maybe a house with rubber walls and windows…