Quotable Quotes



Martin Lee, of Waterstone's Bookshop, quoted in "The Times", 31st July 1997:

Almost nobody believes that the Internet is ever going to account for more than 10 per cent of sales.

Pieter Dirk Uys, the South African satirist, speaking on BBC World Service:

Democracy is all very good and well - but it's TOO good to share with just anyone.

Another from the same:

The future is certain - it is just the past that is unpredictable.

(hence the need for continual vergangenheitsbewältigung)

From "Man at the Top" by Richard Wolff (page 9)

Not everyone may be called to be a shining button on the waistcoat of the world....

Sir Winston Churchill's Definition of Success

...the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

From the French Minitel service Assistances au Décès:

La mort donne a notre personalité une dimension nouvelle.

A tryst with Destiny

Long years ago... we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.

- Pandit Jawaharial Nehru, speaking on the eve of  India's Independence 15 August 1947


Instructions to Clergy, from a Bishop

Please send me a current list of your parishioners
broken down by age and sex

Occupy Till I Come

Inscription on Bishop of Bradwell's residence in Hordon-on-the-Hill (quoting Luke 19:13)

What is Truth? asks Niels Bohr

The opposite of a correct statement is an inorrect statement, but the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

A MAN may not marry his… GRANDMOTHER

As a young church choir boy, I was fascinated by many things in the Book of Common Prayer, which I read avidly during the sermon. As well as learning to compute the date of Easter from time immemorial until kingdom come, I was intrigued by the ‘Table of Kindred and Affinity’ which began “a man may not marry his grandmother”. With weird fascination, I tracked through the list of forbidden liaisons, and marvelled as to why the church felt compelled to warn me against such a clearly ridiculous set of unrealistic matches. But I was judging through the eyes of a child and failed to grasp both the broader picture and the more subtle details of the legislation.

Under ecclesiastical law, a marriage within the prohibited degrees was not void ab initio but it was voidable at the suit of any interested party. Widowers' desires to marry their sisters-in-law became the focus of much discontent and, after a great deal of agitation throughout the 19th century, the law was finally changed in 1907, though widows had to wait until 1921 for freedom to marry their deceased husband’s brother.

Matthew Boulton, the innovative eighteenth-century manufacturer, caused quite stir when he married his deceased wife's sister. When consulted by a friend who found himself in a similar situation, Boulton recommended Silence,  Secrecy,  and  Scotland.

Notes toward a 25-hour city

25 hour city inevitable soon due to increasing leisure from automation and the need to use expensive equipment continuously to recoup investment in a few years. But, indeed, why must we wait another 10 years?
- from the International Times, a 1960's "underground" newspaper edited by Tom McGrath assisted by David Z Mairowitz, based at 102 Southampton Row and produced fortnightly; this quotation comes from issue number 7 which carried the memorable headline "Arrest the Home Secretary!".

Database interrogation in the 1980s

The communications systems upon which all these services are based are at best indifferent to your presence, and at times appear even hostile or dumbly insolent. Requests must be precise: ambiguity is not tolerated. Terminals will behave strangely: there are just too many designs. Please seek advice and persevere. Systems will improve with use.
- a prescient observation by Peter Stone, taken from the Directory of University Library Catalogues on JANET [Joint Academic NETwork] compiled for SCONUL
[Society of COllege, National and University Libraries) by the University of Sussex Library, September 1986.