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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, June 09, 2007
    Beneath the sofa
    What speaks to us, seemingly, is always the big event, the untoward, the extra-ordinary: the front page splash, the banner headlines... The daily papers talk of everything except the daily... We sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep.
    - George Perec, one of the many quotes in Queuing for Beginners which shall stay with me for a long time. A wake-up call, encouraging a different way of looking at everyday life.

    I shall also long remember the experience of being sunk deeply into the settee finding myself reading Joe's chapter detailing the history and social significance of the sofa. The sofa - which focuses our anxiety about the evidence it provides that we spend much of our lives simply sat down not doing very much
    . The sofa - keeper of memory of our lives:
    As its occupant gets up, its seat leaves a temporary trace of that person's shape and warmth ... Sofas also remind us of past times by accumulating the detritus and marginalia of our lives. Pet hairs, dirt and food stains settle on them; and pens, crumbs and remote controls fall underneath them, or down the gap between the cushions and the upholstery.
    Joe quotes a financier's estimate that nearly £1 billion in small change lies forgotten in British homes, 'much of it presumably down the backs of sofas'. Besides all the other observations in Joe's
    wonderful book, that one alone is worth our investigation. Help me with these cushions....