The sound of breaking glass

Just broken another one. I think that’s the third within a week. A few days back the bloody wind of this Cape of Storms of ours blew over a tray propped against a wall and it fell and smashed a glass. Now, doing the washing up – and actually marvelling at how many glasses I seem to get through in a day when I’m tasting heavily, and especially when someone pops round for an opinion and that means another few glasses – well, this one was simply knocked against the wall as I turned to carefully put it down on a cloth to dry. I’m a bit of a clumsy oaf, I admit.

At least it means the floor gets swept a bit more often than might otherwise be the case.

But I’m running out of glasses. Like Andrew Jefford, whose blog about glasses I put a link to just the other day, I have various pairs and trios of good glasses, and a lot of singles. They used to be sets – suites is perhaps the posh word. I honestly think I must break fifteen or twenty a year.

broken-glassThe latest smash prompted me to a bit of googling, for a literary remark about loving the sound of breaking glass. There’s a pop song I can easily think of with “I love the sound of breaking glass” (the only words of it I know; googling tells me it’s by someone called Nick Lowe, and a pop-up offered it to me as a ring-tone for my phone).I also found this pic.

Most prominent in google is a mystery/thriller novel called The Sound of Breaking Glass, which I’d never heard of.

At last I found the one I’d been think of, in a poem by Hilaire Belloc.

John Vavassour de Quentin Jones de Quentin
Was very fond of throwing stones,
At Horses, People, Passing Trains,
But ‘specially at Window Panes.
Like many of the Upper Class
He liked the sound of Broken Glass;
It bucked him up and made him gay;
It was his favourite form of play.

Elsewhere Belloc used the idea again, when commenting acidly at the behaviour of pre-WW1 undergraduates: “It is distinctive of the upper class, To like the sound of broken glass.”

Something that went wider than English society of course. Rich Russians, according at least to novels I’ve read, took delight in smashing the glasses they had drunk from.

The rich didn’t do their own washing up, otherwise they’d have had the pleasure even more often.

3 thoughts on “The sound of breaking glass

  1. I wonder if that’s the same Nick Lowe that used to play bass for the brilliant John Hiatt in the late eighties and early nineties…

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