Pseudoretalia by Matt Cooper
As a seasoned coiner of words, explainer of contemporary ways and customs and disabuser of vulgar errors, I have recently been commision’d to share my most recent of observations in this most curious modern age...
Modern retailing has no truck with physickal, necessary itemries obtain'd in exchange for coins; rather that the apothecary, the clothier or the grocer can prosper, in their place are 'shops' whiche I catalogue thus:
Fone shops - entirely devoid of chattels, save for a dozen identical and ruinously expensive devices - curiously given names of fruits various - used for loud prattling, the playing of gaymes involving the hurling and flinging of irked avians and for access to the tittle-tattle village gossip of 'Visagebook' whereby a fellowe may have as menny friends as a thousand but not recognise a single one of them in the street.
Starbux - emporia whiche are position'd squarely evry sixteen paces, serving voluminous buckets of 'coff-ee' whiche be at least ninety-nine parts per hundred obtained from the udders of cowes and simple cakes whose contents do overspill from the tops of their cases, curiously mirroring what happens to the boddies of the folk who consume said confectionerys. Mister Starbux does deem it fair that the price for one of his beverages and a muffyn shall be no less than that of an upper or lower limb but sweetens the fiscal blow by personalising a fellowe's cup with his moniker should he be so vulgar and time-poor as to drink it in the road.
Banks - whiche appear, as far as I have examin'd, to no longer contain neither actual money nor fellowes to collect or dispense same; rather, these garish, happy-couple poster'd edifices are competeing with Mr Starbux for trade by offering cups of coffee gratis, without charge and totally free - save for a signature on a debenture for a modest dwelling whiche is akin to a particularly obese, immobile and snappy fiscal albatross about a fellowe's neck whiche he is oblig'd to carry until the End Of Days.
Primarck - Ostensibly a vast garment emporium housed in an edifice of proportions whiche shame menny a cathedral, but whiche also sells other goods and softe-furnishments whiche a fellowe can put in his house in order to make it less desirable for ne'er-do-wells to ransack and pilfer. The raiments Mr Primarck does sell are mayde in faraway Eastern countries where poor and hungry uneducated children are given a pittance making ill-fitting garments for well-educated, well-fed Westerners to buy for a pittance, wear once and discard.
Mr Mac-Donald's High-Velocity Comestible Emporium - In my time, scurvy was a most common and terrible affliction; imagine having the simplest and thinnest of meals of no nutritious value whatsoever, no flavour or sustenance within. Well, Sir, you do not have to imagine, for Mr Mac- Donald has re-created the culinary equivalent of a lowly tar's diet in his myriad 'restaurants'. In lieu of actual vitamins and hearty fayre you are now given a child's toy, whiche tho' manufactured with menny a petrochemical is invariably more epicurially desirable than the meal. But, mark this, two words of caution tho' Sir; it be punishable upon pain of death for any man to request to break his fast after the hour of ten-thirty in the morn and that I have heard tell that Mr Mac-Donald's Apple Pyes can cause a man to combust spontaneously, containing as they do the combined heat of the sun and that of the Devil's summer residence.
From my lofty viewpoint; I have also mayde the following observations of modern life:
Hypsteria - A most baffling epidemic effect has recently been observed by me of hirsute young men sporting impeccably coiffed, sizeable beards the girth and dimensions of whiche would comfortably house over a dozen species of owls and their young. These fellowes are quite the zenith of opposites; they sport lumberjack shirts, but cut no wood; they cover their entire arms with Sailor Jack tattoos but go to sea they do not; they favour breeches whiche resemble drainpipes for warmth yet they turn up their breeches-legs and wear no socks between these and their brogues. Further still, there is talk, whiche I have yet to confirm, that some of these gentleman wear chunky eyeglasses with no prescriptive correction for fashionable purposes. The Hypster typically enters a career whose nature is unfathomable to non-hypsters; usually something to do with 'meeja', 'culture' or 'web-de-sine', whatever any of those may be. Else he is to found a shop bedecked of reclaimed wooden crates, selling forty-seven types of organic hand-grown spelt bread retro-kitsch 'Pop-Tartes' for princely sums to their fellow hypsters. Their weekends may be spent at a local Arts Centre seeing a band of Minstrels whose music may be influenced by Mr Mumford and his peculiarly generationally similar looking offspring.
Lavatoria opportunis - It appears a gentleman now need not seek a lavatory to micturate if he be in an advanced state of refreshment as there are menny refuse skips to provide cover for his relief and convenience in Weaver's Lane, whether it be evening or broad daylight.
Buskeria Cacophonia - It is a rare pleasure for me when, on occasion, I am affably afforded a traffic cone jammed atop my head and around my ears by enthusiastic and inebriated youths as this provides relief from the relentless strumming, trumpeting, bagpiping, random banging and mewling of minstrels clearly unacquainted with musical instruments, melodies or indeed talent. Why a fellowe would wish to throw coins at someone who sings as if they are a feral cat with his reproductive organs in a particularly brutal mangle is beyond even my vast knowledge, unless it be done with intent to maim said busker.
Still, a fellowe must not grumble. Adieu, Sir Thomas Browne.
Matt Cooper is very familiar with Sir Thomas Browne. Every day, he works a few metres from his statue, amongst the sculptures that are dedicated to him. He runs the jewellery and scarf stall on Hay Hill.
He has become well-acquainted with the work by artists Anne and Patrick Poirier and will happily tell any of his customers what he knows.
He is also a talented photographer and writer and sent this amusing piece for the website.