David Bouchier

Commentator

David began as a print journalist in London and taught at a British university for almost twenty years. After coming to the United States in 1986 he continued to teach and to publish a regular humor column in The New York Times regional edition.  He joined WSHU as a weekly commentator in 1992, becoming host of Sunday Matinee in 1996. His latest book of essays, Peripheral Vision, was published in 2011. His other books include A Few Well Chosen Words, The Song of Suburbia, The Cats and the Water Bottles, The Accidental Immigrant and Writer at Work. He lives in Stony Brook, New York with his wife who is a professor at Stony Brook University, and two un-musical cats.

We’ve had a potter in the basement for the past few days. This is the kind of thing that can happen when you live in a village devoted to arts and crafts. Every year an international festival of pottery and ceramics brings amateur and professional artists here from all over the world, and space has to be found for them to display their creations. So the visiting artists are shoehorned into courtyards, garages, spare rooms around the village, and into our basement.

I'm always on the lookout for new fashions among the young, in case I might be missing something important. But, frankly, I haven’t had much success in catching up with the enthusiasms of youth. I’ve missed just about every trend in music and fashion for the past forty years; I’ve missed video games, ipods, smart phones, SnapChat, and just about everything an up-to-date six-year old needs to know.

Right now the sun is shining, the sky is a dazzling deep blue, and the temperature has just reached ninety-one degrees. I’m sorry if it’s not the same where you are, but that’s the reassuring thing about weather. If you don’t like your climate you can change it, simply by moving a few hundred or a few thousand miles.

Right now there is a flurry of media interest in biometrics. This sounds very scientific and mysterious but in fact it simply means the measurement (metrics) of living things (bio). So your height and weight are biometrics, for example. Recognition depends on a whole complex pattern of biometrics, whether it’s your mother, your cat, or your potted plant. All animals have this astonishing skill.

In recent weeks it has been hard to avoid the bombardment of bizarre images from the big European fashion shows in London, Milan, and Florence. Bizarre is not even a strong enough word. The designers are wheeling out their latest creations and they want us all to know about them: but why? The newspapers are happy to fill their pages with ludicrous fashion images during the summer season, although, goodness knows, there’s plenty of real news to report.

Pages