Pithy quotes

Rachel has a post about Don Paterson’s books of aphorisms, and I too like them. However, aphorisms can sometimes be too long for me. I have a Commonplace Book in which I record quotes that I like. Here are some extracts:

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never any use to oneself. Oscar Wilde

The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won’t get much sleep. Woody Allen

This nonsense about beauty being only skin deep. That’s deep enough. What do you want – an adorable pancreas? Jean Kerr

Behavioural psychology is the science of pulling habits out of rats. Douglas Busch

Cough and the world coughs with you. Fart and you stand alone. Trevor Griffiths

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp-post how it feels about dogs. Christopher Hampton

The way up and the way down are one and the same. Heraclitus

The kilt is an unrivalled garment for fornication and diarrhoea. John Masters

Windbags can be right. Aphorists can be wrong. It’s a tough world. James Fenton

Awards are like piles. Sooner or later every bum has one. Maureen Lipman

No man is lonely while eating spaghetti. Robert Morley

Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising. Cyril Connolly

I will be arriving in Paris tomorrow evening. Don’t wash. Napoleon

Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where’s it going to end? Tom Stoppard

Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life is the other way round. David Lodge

I married beneath me. All women do. Nancy Astor

A song is anything that can walk by itself. Bob Dylan

If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question? Lily Tomlin

The essence of sex is communication. All the rest is just plumbing.Chuck Spezzano

And finally, a couple of my own:
One of the best inventions of the late twentieth century was the mango.

It’s no good going on about a lack of time. If you had more you’d still fill it with emptiness.

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About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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12 Responses to Pithy quotes

  1. Rachel Fox says:

    Oh Colin – some great ones! And many that show just how humour can be pretty dress-up for real insight too.I may link to you…but tomorrow…I’ve done today’s short one already.x

  2. Rachel Fox says:

    Couldn’t wait – went and edited you in!I’ll never look at a man in a kilt in the same way again.x

  3. Colin Will says:

    Thanks for linking Rachel.

  4. Tommaso Gervasutti says:

    Dear Colin, I know and I am sure you know better than me that some Chinese in the past, used trousers that, being opened on the back, had the same advantages of kilts…but for God’s sake, kilts are the best and they can’t manage to be diminished by that. Those Chinese trousers on the contrary, what a lack of “class”….

  5. Crafty Green Poet says:

    good selection, some old favourites some new ones. I’m intrigued by the mango though…

  6. Colin Will says:

    Davide: I remember when I was in Qinghai and Tibet two years ago I noticed that the babies didn’t wear nappies at all. It made life a lot easier for the parents.CGP: I’ve no idea where the idea came from, but I think I know what I meant.

  7. Tommaso Gervasutti says:

    Colin: yes, from a practical point of view it’s a great idea…Re-reading your own aphorisms I think I have always loved Mango and I feel very much in tune with the “lack of time” thing, very much…Too many people use it as an excuse which often sounds blatantly stupid…I think it’s often only matter of how they decide to spend their time and when they are not satisfied of their own choice and can’t get out of it they simply complain of not having enough time….and they just drag on…And it’s too terribly easy to drag on in the emptiness one creates…

  8. Dick says:

    The John Masters observation arises presumably from personal experience, hopefully not simultaneously. The Cyril Connolly is wonderfully acute. The Napoleon Bonaparte message provides maybe a little more information about the man than we need. A great list, Colin. Thanks for it.

  9. McGuire says:

    Loved some of these quotes. Always insightful or humourous. Particularly: Douglas Busch, Trevor Griffiths, John Masters, Robert Morley.Comedy at its finest, I think.

  10. Colin Will says:

    Thanks all. May post some more in a month or so.

  11. Liz says:

    Enjoyed these, Colin…the mango one got me thinking too – there is ‘mango’ and ‘manga’fruit here and I always confuse the two – one I love, one, not so much : )

  12. the broken down barman says:

    loved the post.magic big manmagic

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