She’s fly, she’s fresh, she’s def

In 1979, after he met Jackie O, Bruce Chatwin wrote to his wife, Elizabeth,

Escorting Mrs Onassis to the opera next Thursday. Met her again with the John Russells, and my God she’s fly.1

Best description of Mrs. Onassis ever? I think so. I was surprised to learn that this connotation of “fly” was of so early a vintage, but a writer in a discussion at Metafilter found an even earlier occurence in an O. Henry story of the first decade of the 20th century.

Continue reading

Thrift store find: Living well is the best revenge

Next to my copy of DeLillo and Buck’s pseudonymous novel Amazons and a signed first of Tom Wolfe’s Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (which I sold), this postcard is the best thing I’ve ever thrifted. Stuck in a tourist guide to Mont Saint-Michel, the obverse is simply a photograph of the island by the photographer “Greff.” The reverse, though, is the best. In a flowing script, “Cliff” writes:

Darling, this is the place for us. Champagne, three bucks a quart!

Pictures below the jump. Continue reading

Jinkies!

[The Mysteries of Udolpho] is a kind of mystery-machine, of course, full of local puzzles and conundrums.

»Terry Castle, in her introduction to Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford, 1998.

Given that the solution to one of the novel’s puzzles is straight out of an episode of Scooby Doo, “mystery-machine” is an apt choice of phrase.

Le furryisme

One evening, I suddenly took a fancy to possess her in the middle of the drawing-room, with the chandelier and candles lit, the fire in the hearth, the chairs set out in a circle as if for a grand soirée, and with her in evening dress with her bouquet and fan, and all her diamonds on her fingers and round her neck, a headdress of plumes, the most splendid costume imaginable, and myself dressed as a bear. She agreed to it.

»Théophile Gautier. (Joanna Richardson, trans.) Mademoiselle de Maupin. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1981.

Why, look at that! It’s a 175 year-old instance of furry sex!