Sunday, September 10, 2006


If we're going to be talking about the globe and the disposition of the stars, perhaps I should bring in Jonathan Cainer, the astrologist whose daily star signs became required reading for a whole cadre of PhD students in my department. It started quietly enough. Two of us were having coffee in the tearoom. My friend was complaining about having to go to the Bodleian. He openly lamented the sheer number of books and early modern manuscripts he had to consult in the next two weeks. For some reason, messing about on the web, we started reading horoscopes — and of course, being modern scientific souls, we set no store on them as anything other than a rather novel procrastination gambit.

His horoscope said, I recall, something like
do you ever despair that you'll never possess all the knowledge in the world, find the books you need, read all the things you need in order to understand what it's all about?
He blanched. I checked mine.
You feel as if you're engaged upon a long project, like a PhD thesis, that might never come to fruition
That was enough to send this PhD student back down to the library with panic in her heart.

Cainer has recently brought out a book on Cosmic Ordering. Cosmic Ordering has to be the funniest piece of late capitalist New Age thought ever. Check this out. Indebted to Heidi, can I just say that this is a load of ass-hattery. Of course it works: get someone to work out exactly what it is they want, feel positive that they'll get it, and you're in a good position to make it happen. I don't think the idea of the cosmos as a giant Argos store really cuts it.

But who knows?

With this in mind, here is my Cosmic Ordering List. In the spirit of late-capitalistic New Age consumerism, I'm going to concentrate on pointless material goods.

1. The House
Please deliver me a house. It doesn't have to have a sporting estate attached, honestly. Something like this would be very nice:

2. The Boots
Please deliver me a pair of Dubarry dark brown Galway boots.

3. The bag
Please deliver me a Manufactum elk bag

I can't do this! It's terrible! My first three choices are those of a county-set snob. Erk!
Also, it seems my entitlement complex is way too small: I can't think of anything material other than boots and bags. What about a first folio, or a herd of White Park cattle, a or a cast of cassini peregrines, or a painting by Peter Lanyon?

Tsk. I'm just not thinking big enough. Or perhaps I've surprised myself by being far happier with what I have right now than I thought I was before I did this stupid exercise. Hmm. Dear Cosmic Ordering, please bring me better-constructed sentences.

I used to work with a guy called Simon. Simon wore overalls because he had a rotten job; if there was jetwashing to be done, cages to clean, ostriches to move, dung to heap, Simon did it. He also did the lottery every week. I asked him once what he'd buy, if he won. He frowned for a bit, and then, shyly, said "I'd buy a really new Ford Fiesta".


I really, really hope he won, and that he's driving it right now.

1 comment:

Heidi said...

AAAA! This is hilarious! That Order Form site is another one of those things that confuses me. Real or joke? Real or joke? My eyes hurt! haha!

I actually do this little exercise in my journal. I write out what I want to come into my life. It actually works. But so far I've gotten, um, a bedroom painted purple, a vintage drum kit, new taillights for my truck. I'm afraid to write down, "Fifty acres of land with a bank barn and century old yellow brick farm house." So...maybe I should use the Cosmic Order Form! IT'S FREE!

Ass hattery!!!!

Just so you know, I love the boots and bag too, and I am definitely not a country club snob!

Looking forward to visiting you in your little wee Scottish cottage,