Thursday, 16 October 2008

The bestest band what am, honey lamb

No 3 in an occasional series of extracts from The Postcard Century

July 1912: Rose Todd in Moorhead, Minn. writes to Borgie Danielson in Detroit: Are you going back to the TBI next Fall? I think I may.

Irving Berlin's song needed no further caption even when only a few months old: the title already sang itself. Berlin lived to be a hundred and was still writing songs when the Beatles made their debut.

6 comments:

eric said...

I wonder what "the TBI" is/was?

Tony said...

Yes, so do I. Google offers Traumatic Brain Injury, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and many others equally unlikely in this context. Please contact everyone you know who was living in Minnesota or Michigan in 1912 and let me know what they can suggest.

Froog said...

Sir Isaiah Berlin was a Fellow of my college, and I once had the privilege of meeting him at a Senior Common Room dinner. I couldn't resist asking him if he had ever been confused with Irving. I did, however, refrain (narrowly) from putting my question in the form: "Do you ever feel resentful of your older brother's wider fame?"

Tony said...

Oh, come on, you can't leave it there. He was said to excel as an essayist, lecturer and conversationalist, "a brilliant speaker who delivered, rapidly and spontaneously, richly allusive and coherently structured material". So what was his richly allusive and coherently structured reply? Surely not just "fuck off"?

And did you ask him what it was like to be the first Jewish Fellow of All Souls?

Froog said...

Sorry, memory fails me on that point. I was very, very drunk at the time.

.

Tony said...

There's another illusion gone. I always thought dinner at High Table combined wide-ranging discussion among top brainboxes on matters of serious import with witty sophisticated banter.

Now I see that C P Snow has misled me: they are just vulgar piss-ups.

In their note on High Table Wikipedia refers slyly to "Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham colleges—and other, more traditional, academic institutions".