Gah, I know; I'm being petit-bourgeois. And if there's one thing I try to steer clear of it's that. I will NOT whinge about minor inconveniences. I will NOT be one of those old bores who writes to the newspapers about litter in the streets and the youth of today. It's not even as if I really mind the postman calling early on a Saturday. He's a man and a brother and I guess he starts early in the hope of finishing early and getting to the football match. Actually I find it mildly amusing. Look at me, I'm being all Zen about it. Observe my smile of detachment.
I persevere with The Mysteries of Udolfo. It's the late 18th century equivalent of Lord Of The Rings- a massive wodge of escapist fantasy, with creepy things happening in a beautifully realised romantic landscape. Oh the umbrageous shades, the hoary headed mountains, the far-sounding torrents! For me it's a time machine. Jane Austen is for all time and takes me into the human condition rather than times past, but Radcliffe has nothing to say about people and everything to say about a very particular, time-coded sensibility. I like being in her company. She soothes my fevered brow.
Right now my gal Emily St Aubert has just returned home from a pointless excursion through the Pyrenees, in the course of which her nobly sententious daddy took ill and died. She is understandably weepy and faints a lot. As she ponders her future she is comforted and disturbed in equal measure by the attentions of that noble youth Valancourt, a man unspoiled by any contact with the sink-hole of corruption and false values that is Paris. She has assured him of her regard and he has departed a happy man. Meanwhile the mysteries thicken round her and she keeps thinking she sees ghostly figures gliding about in shadows of her country estate.
And now I'm going into Manchester to eat curry.