All posts tagged: Proust

Boni goes bust

Edited excerpt from Drinking with Proust Image: La Vie Parisienne, de Castellane Advert In the winter of 1867, Anne-Marie Le Clerc de Juigné, wife of Marquis Boniface Antoine de Castellane, gave birth to her first son. He was named Boniface, but became known as Boni. He was brought up at his parent’s residence in Paris and at his grandmother’s Château de Rochecotte, a grand villa in the heart of Bourgeuil surrounded by vineyards.52 Boni and Marcel Proust crossed paths in around 1893 when Marcel joined Madeleine Lemaire’s Salon, “one of the most stimulating and amusing in Paris,”53 which was also attended by Boni. In 1894 Boni travelled to America in search of a rich heiress. He needed money. While I had ancestry, title and the very highest social prestige, my income was quite inad-equate. The family estates were important but expensive to maintain; and the Castellane income was not equal to maintain myself and my estates suitably. It was, therefore, not a bad bargain on my part to insure a sufficient income to support my rank in …

On wine snobs

Image: Caricature of a Snob in The Book of Snobs by William Makepeace Thackeray Excerpted from:  Drinking with Proust Snobbishness is like Death in a quotation from Horace, which I hope you never have heard, ‘beating with equal foot at poor men’s doors, and kicking at the gates of Emperors.63 Who or what is a wine-snob? I imagine a smug-looking man, a Silicon Valley hotshot, twirling his glass of Napa Cabernet, pausing to harvest its aromas into a hawkish sense organ before pronouncing upon the wine’s provenance and quality. “It’s a bargain at 220$!” he murmurs indistinctly and twitches disdainfully as we venture to give our opinion to the contrary. The word snob became popular in the nineteenth century when William Makepeace Thackeray published a series of articles in Punch magazine, the so-called snob papers. These papers read like tasting notes, not on wine, but on Victorian society. In one of these papers, Thackeray provides the first authoritative account of the wine snob. He introduces us to a snob called Waggle and describes the activities and attitudes that are a snob’s …

Essay Collection: Thinking, Hard and Soft

Steersmanship requires connected thought. As information technology weaves itself into life, what happens to our sense of time? Can organic activity be digitised? The essays in Thinking, Hard and Soft range from Proust, Homer and Zhuangzi to Cybernetics and AI, all washed down with a healthy dose of wine. Available on Leanpub. Here is what some readers have said about “Thinking, Hard and Soft” so far: “Thought provoking. An example of how mankind can muddle through the opposition and find a way to do the right thing in the end.” Simon Dakin, Business Systems and Information Manager “Very well written… Very few people publishing in LinkedIn can write like this. And that’s probably a large understatement… a rare ability to fuse philosophy, science, technology, history and original thought…” Stephen Cummins, CEO & Founder AppSelekt, CSO Academic Innovations “Beautiful!” Douglas Levin, Professional Sommelier & Wine Writer