what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The world's first blogger


Montaigne is a name which evokes France in the troubled 16th Century; a lone writer in a castle tower putting his thoughts about everyday life on paper , a count who had taken early retiral from life in public service. I had bought an Everyman’s edition of The Complete Works a year or so ago but only dipped into its 1,340 pages. I am now more encouraged since starting to read Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live – a life of Montaigne in one question and 20 attempts at an answer. It’s a superb edition by Chatto and Windus – with superb black and white engravings, paper, layout and typeface (sadly it doesn’t say which). It’s a long time since I’ve seen such a beautifully produced book. It’s also beautifully written – and all for 10 euros from Amazon.
I knew that he had retired young from a political life in Bordeaux in troubled times in France to look after his estate and muse about life in what became an exemplar for the memoir – and that he was inventing the template which people like Proust (and Pamuk in modern times) have made their own. But I hadn’t realised that he retired at age 37! So I feel better at this first attempt at musing in retirement at 67!
Now The Guardian has its obvious April Fool story – although the picture and first para did fool me! You must have a look at it!

This spell in the mountains helped me rediscover my energy so quickly that I had an interesting marketing idea – a retreat for shell-shocked mercenaries of technical assistance – not so much to help send them back into battle as to help redefine the enemy and nature of battle needed!
The experience has helped me reconnect with the critique I wrote 3-4 years ago – which was a mite too ambitious. It’s the paper on my website’s “key papers” – entitled critique of development assistance.

And let me direct you to another excellent piece in Scottish Review – one on how those who blow whistles are treated

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