Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Location, location, location

There was something curiously touching in the fact that the Amazon should treasure this childish literature. He turned to the fly-leaf to see if her name was there. On the fly-leaf was written:
Ella Darroll,
Form III
Newbridge High School
The World
The Universe.
This was surrounded by a fine section of coloured transfers.

—Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time (1951)

It might help if we knew where we lived. Each of us, after all, has the same address. Every child has memorized it. It goes something like.

This or That Number,
This or That Street,
This or That Conurbation,
This or That County,
This or That Country,
This or That Continent,
This or That Hemisphere,
The Earth,
The Superior Planets,
The Solar System,
Nr. Alpha Centauri,
The Orion Spur,
The Milky Way,
The Local Cluster,
The Local Supercluster,
The Universe,
This Universe. The One Containing:
The Local Supercluster,
The Cluster,
And So On. All the Way Back To:
This or That Street,
And This or That Number.

—Martin Amis, The Information (1995)

As children most of us will have occasionally written our address not as the bare minimum, "20-4 Ferguson Street, Palmerston North," say, but as an expansive maximum, adding something like "North Island, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean, Southern Hemisphere, the World, the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Universe."

—Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction (2009)

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