Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hussar's pelisse plundered, Cracker to blame

"Topicality," as our Smiley
remarked in conference with
Control, "is always suspect."

And so is it, to extract sea-
sonal merriment from that fa-
we encountered in our book of
the year; but we were not the
first. Leigh-Fermor's biograph-
er's father, himself a writer
of travels extraordinaire, and
filched the headings of the
decedent's privy files, in the
present volume of his annual
Christmas Cracker for the book-
cataloguing system is a model
of bloggerly continuity, viz:

  Detached Oddments
  Not Very Important Oddments
  Own Oddments
  Unsorted but Interesting
  Oldish - Needs Sorting
  Badly Needs Sorting
  Current: Unsorted
  Current: Various
  Vol III: Odds and Ends
  Crete: Mixed Bag
  Tiring Duplicates
  Disjecta Membra
  Scattered Intractables
  Official Bumph

A more alert moralist than I -
don't everyone rush forward -
will elatedly decry the un-
apologetic breach this posting
might resemble, but for exigent
partying conditions, celebrated
by that scrupler's own client in
our book of the year - exhibi-
tion among them. I think, what
needs to take place, is a col-
lapse from that lapse, toward 
hilarity, which convention it-
self demands of the season. Let 
so much of it fall against us
as may slough the timid scales
from honest interplay. Then, if 
anyone will confide, what became
of our Hussar's bright cuirass, 
I should be ever so grateful.

John Le Carré
Tinker, Tailor,
  Soldier, Spy
Knopf, 1974©

John Julius Norwich
A Christmas Cracker
John Julius Norwich, 2013©

i photography Hedi Slimane

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