Irish Pubs, Kenya, Nicholson Baker, Latin, Madness


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Meet The Landlord

Siobhán Brett | Eater | 7th March 2017

Mel McNally wrote a student thesis on Irish pub architecture, identified six basic styles — and founded the Irish Pub Company in 1990 to ship them worldwide. Wherever the departure lounge, the bar with the harp motifs and the ridged glass partitions is probably one of his. “More than 500 bars and 27 years later, IPC continues to ship the makings of the Irish bar as far afield as Russia and Kazakhstan”. The fixtures are flatpacked, the fittings are bespoke. “Good stained glass makes a difference” (2,300 words)

Tristan Voorspuy, Stylishly Mad

Aidan Hartley | Spectator | 11th March 2017

A legendary tour-guide and party-giver in Kenya, Tristan Voorspuy “walked with the stiff, bow-legged gait of a man who has fallen off a polo pony too many times”. He once “rode his horse into the bar at the Muthaiga Club during a stag party. From the saddle, he toasted the groom, his steed defecated on the parquet and off he trotted between astonished drinkers”. He had “a wild temper”. But the rioters who overran his farm had even wilder tempers. They shot him dead (Metered paywall) (812 words)

Mr Nick Baker Teaches Today

William Finnegan | New York Review Of Books | 13th March 2017

Nicholson Baker taught for 28 days in Maine, then turned the experience into a book of 700 pages, most of them dialogue. Substitute reads “like a lightly curated, benign surveillance tape, somehow capturing all the downtime, chaos, non sequiturs, and lost-in-the-infosphere weirdness of a modern American schoolroom”. The schools are infuriating, the pupils captivating — “Loud bad funny brilliant sullen blithe anxious children. If I were a real teacher, I would go completely nuts. I love them” (3,230 words)

The Vatican’s Latinist

John Byron Kuhner | New Criterion | 7th March 2017

Revered as “one of the greatest masters of the Latin language since the Renaissance”, Reginald Foster spent 40 years at the Vatican as Papal Latin secretary until his retirement in 2009. “His clothes were notorious in Rome. Believing that the religious habit no longer reflected the simple garb of the people as it once had, he gave up his cassock and bought his clothes at Sears: blue pants and a blue shirt. The Swiss guards called him il benzinaio, the gas-station attendant” (4,010 words)

The Mathematician In The Asylum

Romeo Vitelli | Providentia | 7th March 2017

The French mathematician André Bloch gave his name to Bloch’s theorem, Bloch space, and Bloch’s constant. He wrote influential papers on complex analysis until his death in 1948. He corresponded with other eminent mathematicians, but never went out. Those curious enough to visit him at home discovered that he was a triple murderer confined to a Parisian lunatic asylum, where he had learned advanced mathematics from books and journals, and appeared “entirely sane” (1,150 words)

Video of the day: How To Make A Clock: The Wheels

What to expect:

Home craftsman explains how to cut the gear-wheels for a clock (7’40”)

Thought for the day

No book that will not improve by repeated readings deserves to be read at all
Thomas Carlyle

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