July 13

Amber pages

Wole Soyinka, Nigerian author, born today in 

Gugliemo Marconi awarded a patent for the radio, today in 1898

Erno Rubik, inventor of that extension of the rosary bead into advanced neurotics, also known as "Sudoku without numbers", and rather more boringly "Rubik's Cube", born today in 

"Live Aid" concerts for Eritea performed, in Philadelphia and London, but watched across the globe, today in 

Wordsworth wrote "Tintern Abbey", today in 1798 according to the almanacs, but to be absolutely honest I cannot believe that he could have written, start to finish, a poem of this depth and complexity, in just one day, and especially as he must have been completely exhausted by the time he got home - take a look at the photo in my piece in
Private Collection. "Started" Tintern Abbey, perhaps. "Took extensive notes" and "sketched out the first draft", quite likely. Put the date as a sub-title, definitely. But "wrote"? Not a chance.

And two pieces which I cannot resist noting, but shall not write any more about:

First, the information that it was today in 1865 that somebody who nobody but his mother has even heard of, one Horace Greeley apparently, wrote the utterly unworthy-of-remembering cliché "Go West, young man, and grow ...", a statement typical of those who like to give advice that they themselves do not intend to follow; apparently he was the founder and editor of the New York Tribune, and presumably gave his advice as a way of encouraging the rabble to get out of his beloved city.

And second, that on this same day, in this same year, 1865, the first man ever, in all of history, from the time of the Neanderthals until this precise moment, finally achieved that uttely pointless ambition, of "conquering the Matterhorn" - his name was Edward Whymper, and we have to assume that taking on the task was a pschological strategy for dealing with that most unfortunate name.

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