Friday, March 29, 2013

Coat Follow-up

Below are a few images of some of our more renound members in their coats:

J.R.R. Tolkien in his lovely, furred number.

Old Knock Wardrobe: The Coat

How does the Old Knock stay warm on those blustery days as he scrambles from his warm domestic dwelling to the local chapel or library?  Why, through the use of his outer coat, of course.  In our modern age of well-heated everything, the importance of the outer coat—except for outdoor activities—has gone the way of the Dodo.  But, as with many relics of years past, the outer coat is still in wide use among the Old Knock set. 

As can be imagined, this outer covering is, above all else, practical.  Practical in the sense that it keeps the wind and rain off of one—not practical in the sense that it doesn’t get in the way at times.  As with the trousers and jacket, the outer coat provides the Old Knock with yet another cache for a variety of useful items—pencils, string, books, apples, pipe and tobacco, coffee mugs, etc. 
For the shape and color of this article, it too falls in line with the rest of the wardrobe—it is essentially shapeless and it’s color is impossible to define.  Both of these qualities come from the hand-me-down origins of the item, along with the abuse it has taken.  For it is not merely to be used as a coat, but as a cushion for sitting on tombstones while making rubbings, or placing under one’s head while napping under a tree.

Many an Old Knock’s coat is military in origin—as many of this crew, being romantics at heart, have, indeed, served their respective countries.  However, the military starch is gone (often times, along with the belt, which is why so many are gathered about the waist with string or an old tie).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Pipe in the Garden

I thoroughly enjoy E.F. Benson's Lucia series.  I have written before about Lucia's poor husband, "Pepino".  In the following excerpt from Lucia in London (1927), Pepino is at his Old Knock best:

"He was sitting in the garden in very old clothes, smoking a pipe, and thoroughly enjoying the complete absence of anything to do.  He was aware that officially he loved the bustle of London, but it was extremely pleasant to sit in his garden and smoke a pipe, and above all to be rid of those rather
hectic people who had talked quite incessantly from morning till night all Sunday.  He had given up the cross-word, and was thinking over the material for a sonnet on Tranquillity..."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Life of an Undergraduate at Oxford

I am a new fan of The Edwardian Promenade.  In the post for September 11th, an article on an American's observations of Undergraduate Life at Oxford was presented.  I include an excerpt from it below, as it provides a snapshot of what life was like at Oxford in the 1890s.  Enjoy!

The day of an Oxford man is somewhat different from that of an American student. He rises at eight, and goes to chapel, and from chapel to breakfast in his own room, where he gets a most substantial breakfast—I never saw such substantial breakfasts anywhere else — or, what is more likely, he breakfasts with some one else in some one else’s rooms. This is a most excellent and hospitable habit, and prevails generally. So far as I could see, no one ever lunched or dined or breakfasted alone. He either was engaged somewhere else or was giving a party of his own. And it frequently happened that after we were all seated our host would remember that he should be lunching with another man, and we would all march over to the other man’s rooms and be received as a matter of course. It was as if they dreaded being left alone with their thoughts. It struck me as a university for the cultivation of hospitality before anything else.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Old Knock in Love

The concepts of "The Old Knock" and "Love" do not easily meld.  I am afraid to say that the Old Knock, in general, is not particularly adept in the art of love.  It is unsurprising to find that most Old Knocks are not wed, or if they are, they did not participate in the Holy Act of Matrimony until well into their later years.  (Once has only to consider the grand C.S. Lewis, pictured above, with his wife Joy.)  The fact that some Old Knocks actually have been known to reproduce is nothing short of extraordinary.

The cause for this lack of romantic excellence is due, almost entirely, to the primary focus of the Old Knock’s life: their field of study.  Lest we forget, an Old Knock is defined almost entirely by his (or her) devotion to intellectual pursuits.  This does not leave one much time to master the finer graces required for wooing.

Take for instance P.G. Wodehouse’s Gussie Fink-Nottle.  Here is a young man devoutly committed to his beloved newts.  Is it any wonder that at the moment he hopes to, as they say, “seal-the-deal” with his beloved, he hopelessly flubs it?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Young Fogey A La Mode

I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of The Young Fogey Handbook, but I'm too cheap pay the fifty-plus it would take to purchase a used copy.  I've managed to round up what appears to be Chapter two and I am posting them below. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Old Knock Wardrobe: Dressing for Services

(Sorry that it has been so long since my last post.  I took to summer off to work on other projects--namely my children and a failed garden.)

I must admit that this summer’s weather has definitely caused The Old Knock to lower his own standards in dress for most occasions.  (Not that Old Knocks in general are known for fine dressing.)  However, there is one occasion in which I have done my best to stand firm: the Church Service.  We find ourselves in a time when Churches are attempting to be as welcoming and comfortable as possible—an idea which I whole-heartedly support.  I feel that, for too long, the doors of the Church have appeared shut to too many people who did not fit a certain type.  However, there is something to be said about dressing a bit more formally on Sunday.

Growing up, I was taught that it was important to look one’s best for Services, because it showed respect to our Lord.  I think this is a fine explanation—although it may cause an immature believer to feel that one must “dress up” in order to be acceptable to the Lord, which is never the case.  It is merely showing Him that these ceremonies are important enough to us to be sure we are turned out well.

But there is another issue that I think supports a more formal attire for Church services.  When I put on a collared shirt, coat and tie, I am, to be honest, less comfortable.  A tie is not a comfortable thing—make no mistake.  I am not likely to take a nap in my jacket and buttoned-up shirt.  Wearing these things forces my body—and mind—to focus.  After all, we are “spiritual animals.”  What affects the body affects the mind.  (Which is why we have always been taught to get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast before attending a service.  Why, after-all, do many Churches today offer coffee before entering a service?)

Now, dear reader, please do not mistake me—our Lord will accept us whether we are wearing a three-piece suit or flip-flops.  Our attire does nothing to make us more pleasing to Him.  However, I feel that it does influence the way we feel and, thus, impacts our preparedness to worship.  Think about it.