accuracy in/by DWJ was Re: Sirius B

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Sep 17 17:30:19 EDT 2004


>Philip (who has finally given in to the temptation to make a truly awful pun
>on "The Dog(on) Star") wrote:

>PS the real howler in Dogsbody is "Schist and Gneiss are igneous formations
>of the precambrian era."  No they're not!  They're metamorphic.  And Schist
>is usually more recent; I can't remember typical ages, but Gneiss has
>undergone more metamorphosis than Schist.

I think that has *got* to be a direct quotation from some book that was
about the place when she was writing.  I don't see her making it up,
really, though I could be wrong and she was just chucking words she'd heard
in at random for effect (for the only time ever, if so).  I wonder whether
DWJ's son has kept the book, or whether it got thrown out when he
discovered it was unreliable.

Charles Butler wrote:
>> I think I'm right in saying that DWJ has done a bit of celling herself,
>> though which came first (that or F&H) I can't remember.

and Otter replied:
>I seem to remember an anecdote that depends on her having learned
>to cell after she wrote the book -- something about her having a
>character
>lean a cello in a way which she later discovered was totally
>unstable.

That sounds more like her, though: if she finds she got something *wrong*,
it ought to be said so that people will know, and presumably not try to
balance their own cello up against a chair on its point so that it falls
over and gets damaged.  If this is the bit when Polly interrupts the
rehearsal, and Tom is getting to her fast but without rushing, so he leans
the cello against his chair, it does look a bit unstable as she wrote it.
An armchair might be ok because the arm would catch it if it toppled
slightly, but that was a tubular metal stacking chair.

She once claimed that *her* cello used to unwind its strings at her when it
was offended, so she probably learnt not to let it slip over because it
sulked for days afterwards and refused to be tuned!

Minnow


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