Wednesday, 23 January 2008

And doubtless someone, somewhere, was once given it for Christmas... and was overjoyed.

You remember how I paranoidly take out books to have on my desk at the British Library, so it looks like I have a right to be there; but cannily choose ones that look really dull so I won't be distracted into reading them? No? Well I do.

Such as the excellent 'Early United States Barbed Wire Patents', by Jesse S James. Presumably he added the 'S' to avoid being confused with notorious outlaw and train robber Jesse James. Though I can't help thinking he did this job far more efficiently just by writing a book about barbed wire patents. Here is the first sentence:

'I started to realize the dire need of a book of this kind soon after I started to collect old types of barbed wire in 1957.' Hats off to Jesse the use of the word 'dire'.

Here are my other three favourite sentences:

'I believe it would be a safe bet, if anyone could ever get a caller, that there has been more of this ‘Hodge’s ten-point spur rowel’ wire found by barbed wire collectors than all the other ‘rotating’ type barbs combined.'

Look out for some terrific exclamation mark work in this next one:

'I believe this patent takes the cake for the largest number of barb types shown that can be used on its fence-wire. Seven!'

And the peerless:

'If you happen to be a barbed-wire collector who has been trying to locate the patent data on your ‘saw-toothed ribbed ribbon wire’, you need look no further!'


See, now it looks as if I'm sneering at someone for being enthusiastic about their hobby, and God knows I've bored on about comedy for too long to too many people to be allowed to do that, even if I wanted to. But, Jesse, I don't know... barbed wire? Really?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.canongate.net/Lists/Literature/33CuriousHistoriesAndEsoteri

cf, esp., Little-Known Sisters of Well-Known Men.

Steaming Knish said...

Oh but there is a market, as the link below will testify. Jesse James was lucky to get published in such an overcrowded field.

www.antiquebarbedwiresociety.com/estore2.html

John Finnemore said...

Good Lord. So there is.

'The Fence Ties.
By Vernon Allison

Description: Hundreds of fence ties'

Can't say we weren't warned.

John Finnemore said...

Good Lord. So there is.

'The Fence Ties.
By Vernon Allison

Description: Hundreds of fence ties'

Can't say we weren't warned.

Stu Beale said...

I'm in the mood for someone boring on about comedy. Anyone?