Design For Living - Flanders and Swann
- When we started making money, when we started making friends
we found a home as soon as were able to.
We bought this bijou residence for about a thousand more than
the house our house was once the stable to.
With charm, colour values, wit and structural alterations,
now designed for graceful living, it has quite a reputation:
- We're terribly House & Garden at number 7B,
- We live in a most amusing Mews, ever so very contemporary.
- We're terribly House & Garden - the money that one spends
- To make a place that won't disgrace our House & Garden friends.
- We've planned an uninhibited interior decor,
- Curtains made of straw,
- We've wallpapered the floor.
- We don't know if we like it
- But at least be can be sure:
- There's no place like home sweet home.
- It's fearfully Maison - Jardin at number 7B.
- We've rediscovered the chandelier:
- Très, très very contemporary.
- We're terribly House & Garden though at last we've got the chance.
- The garden's full of furniture and the house is full of plants.
- It doesn't make for comfort but it simply has to be
- 'Cos we're ever so terrible up-to-date, comtempo-rar-ary.
- Have you a home that cries out to your every visitor
"here lives someone who is exciting to know?" No?
Well, why not collect those little metal bottle tops
and nail them, upside-down, to the floor?
This will give a sensation... of walking on little
metal bottle-tops turned upside-down.
- Why not get hold of an ordinary Northumbrian
spoke-shaver's coracle, paint it in contrasting
stripes of, say, telephone black and white white,
and hang it up in the hall for a guitar tidy for parties.
- Why not drop in one evening for a mess of potage, our speciality,
just aubergine and carnation petals, with a six-shilling
bottle of Mule du Pape, a feast fit for a King.
- I'm delerious about our new cooker fitment, with the eye-level grill.
This means, that without my having to bend down, the hot fat can
squirt straight into my eye.
- We're frightfully House & Garden at number 7B
- The walls are patterned with shrunken heads:
- Ever so very contemporary.
- Our boudoir on the open plan
- Has been a huge success,
- Though everywhere's so open
- There's nowhere safe to dress.
- With little screens and bottle-lamps
- And motifs here and there
- And mobiles in the air
- And ivy everywhere
- You musn't be surprised to meet a cactus on the stair
- But we call it home sweet home.
- We're terribly House & Garden, as I think we said before
- But though 7B is madly gay
- It wouldn't do for every day.
- We actually live in 7A,
- In the house next door.
Thanks to Frank Young for this explanation:
Flanders is using a triple integrated pun and allusion here. The title
"La Mule du Pape" is that of a short story by, I think, Alphonse Daudet.
In the story, which takes place in the fourteenth century at Avignon,
the pope's mule is, indeed, well treated when it appears in public
carrying the pope. But when it is returned to the care of its keeper, it
is mistreated badly. Eventually, the mule has its revenge.
Daudet lived for many years in Provence, very near the town of
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which is famous for its wine. Indeed, in the town
today there is a restaurant called "La Mule du Pape" in commemoration of
the story - I found it on the WWW with a "Dogpile" search.
Hence, the bad wine "Mule du Pape" embodies an allusion to
Chateauneuf-du-Pape and its wine, to Alphone Daudet, and to the animal
story, "La Mule du Pape."
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