Yesterday I was at Oxford’s One World Fair in the Town Hall. It was interesting enough. We saw a lot of very expensive carved wooden objets d’art and far more useful bric-à-brac. “Bric-à-brac,” pertaining as it does to products which are comparatively poorhouse, has long since lost any trace of italics, unless it’s being used by some W8 antique dealer who’s trying to be arch. Otherwise, it’s hard pressed to even keep its accent intact. Brian Cant started the rot, I’m sure.
In retrospect I wish we’d not eaten beforehand. Snide remarks aside, while the fair itself definitely had some worthwhile stalls, and was fun insofar as it was shopping but not on Cornmarket, the food on sale was the best bit. Bhajis the size and colour of G&D chocolate-chip cookies for considerably less than Squire Danver would sting you for, and tea and coffee for practically no money at all. Stand-your-spoon-up builder’s tea, at that.
The high point of the day was probably the spectacle of the spoilt progeny of The Man Whose Beard Expanded stamping her feet because she couldn’t have a brically-bracally cuddly toy. Well, I think it was a cuddly toy: it might have been an energy-efficient lightbulb. It’s always heartening, in a way, to see middle-class children acting up enough to beat the behaviour of chavvier kids into a knifecrimed hat: a salutary lesson on the levelling quality of child-rearing, and a much-needed eyetest for the Littlejohn vision of the poor as the root of all social wrong. Badness—if not outright evil—is as innate as the comparatively understandable human impulse to pet rabbits.
Still, I dare say a bhaji as big as her head would’ve kept her quiet for a bit. Just tell her it’s a special savoury cookie.