… The reception in the Senior Common Room
afterwards was the usual ordeal by Lombard Reflex. There were several fellow
sufferers among the elderly guests whom these occasions tend to attract, and I
had some exchanges along the familiar lines of 'Terribly noisy in here' - '
What?' - 'I said it 's terribly noisy in here' - 'Sorry, can't hear you, it's so
damned noisy in here ...' Then Sylvia Cooper, wife of the former Head of
History, engaged me in one of those conversations in which your interlocutor
says something that sounds like a quotation from a Dadaist poem, or one of
Chomsky's impossible sentences, and you say 'What?' or 'I beg your pardon?' and
they repeat their words, which make a banal sense the second time round.
pastime of the dance went to pot,' Sylvia Cooper seemed to say, 'so we
spent most of the time in our shit, the cows' in-laws finding they stuttered.'
What?' I said.
'I said, the last time we went to France it was so hot we spent
most of the time in our gîte, cowering indoors behind the shutters.'
'Oh, hot, was it?' I said. 'That must have been the summer of 2003.'
'Yes, we seared our arses on bits of plate, but soiled my
cubism, I'm afraid.'
'We were near Carcasonne. A pretty place, but spoiled by tourism,
yes, it's the same everywhere these days,' I said sagely.
'But I do mend sherry. Crap and sargasso pained there, you know.
There's a lovely little mum of modern tart.'
'Sherry?' I said hesitantly.
'Céret, it's a little town in the foothills of the Pyrenees,' said Mrs Cooper with a certain impatience. 'Braque and Picasso painted there. I recommend it.'
'Oh yes, I've been there,' I said
hastily. 'It has a rather nice art gallery.'
'The mum of modern tart.'
'Quite so', I said. I looked at my
glass. 'I seem to need a refill. Can I get you one?' see also:
David Lodge (1)
To my relief, she declined. …
quoted from David Lodge's novel Deaf Sentence (2008)
see also: David Lodge (1)
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