Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Surveillance

I've just discovered that Amazon knows - and registers - whenever Kindle users highlight a passage on their Kindles, and it reminded me of something I saw many years when John Wilkinson and I were on a walking (actually, hitch-hiking) tour of western Scotland and the Hebrides. We were holed up in the north-westernmost youth hostel of the British Isles, a stone's throw from Cape Wrath. Among the other hostellers was a fierce-browed woman with a copy of Edgar Allen Poe's collected stories. She was reading the book with a red pen in her hand and, every now and again, with a stifled grunt, she'd ring something in the text. When she left the room, presumably to pee, I couldn't resist. I sneaked a look to see what she'd been marking.

I dropped the book immediately, as though scalded. The word she'd ringed, over and over, with a heavy hand, was BLOOD.

2 comments:

Rob Spence said...

I think she was writing a thesis on the frequency of blood references in Poe. These days, a computer would do it in a nano-second, but then, manual labour was the only way.
Or...she was a vampire. No sign of a wicker man in those parts?

Charles Lambert said...

Well, I suspected witchcraft. It was certainly wicker man territory, though maybe cannabis sativa man might have been easier to achieve, in that hostel at least...