Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Consolations of What?

Killing time last night in W.H. Smith's at Victoria while waiting for my train, I was mildly startled to come across an entire table covered with copies of a single title - and that title not the latest from, say, J.K.Rowling but, of all things, The Consolations of Economics. The what of economics? The consolations of what? (to paraphrase Professor Welch in  Lucky Jim). This, alas, is not the long-awaited follow-up to Boethius's Consolations of Philosophy, but a new book by an economist called Gerard Lyons, who I gather is chief economic adviser to Boris Johnson and is highly thought of as a forecaster. Indeed, for an economist, his record seems to be fairly good - but heaven knows that is not saying much, economists being somewhere below even meteorologists on that score.   Anyway, the gist and concernancy of The Consolations of Economics (a title that promises so much more than it could ever give) is that things aren't going to be too bad over the next few decades. Well, hurrah for that - but will Smith's shift a table's worth of this one? I'll be keeping an eye on that table and its 90 copies - five by three piles of six copies. Last night a browser was taking advantage of the flat surface provided by all those unsold copies to read an unpurchased paper. In the old days they wouldn't let you get away with that sort of thing in Smith's...

Talking of meteorology, I caught John Humphrys interviewing a Climate Change bigwig on the radio this morning, and was pleasantly surprised to hear Humphrys reminding him that nothing like the predicted warming has happened in the past 15 years. He didn't press the point (that if those predictions were so wrong, why should we believe that current predictions are right?), but it was good to hear it being put 'out there' as they say - on the BBC of all places. A sign of the times perhaps?


  1. From Hamlet - 'The concernancy, Sir?' - I like it. Gist for short.

  2. I too was struck Guy - struck I was. Wiki tells us it is obsolete? Nay sir, have at you (Hamlet), fair Prince Nige is all about.
    What a delightful word to start a drab, wet day.

  3. By the end of the week, one copy of the 90 appeared to have been sold, though it might have been shoplifted. This is W.H. Smith's big Recommended Title - Steerforth wouldn't have made this mistake...