Legs

Music should have legs, meaning it should sound good played at a club, it should sound good if it’s played at Carnegie Hall, it should sound good if it’s a decent recording, or a good recording – or an excellent recording, obviously – and if it doesn’t, it’s either the fault of the players or, uh, something else… (Steve Reich)

Prose should also have legs. Good prose survives all forms: it speaks beyond the covers of the book, beyond the quality of the paper, beyond the size of the margins and beyond the first, second and third editions. It even speaks beyond those ‘unique’ (i.e. mass-produced for the chattering classes) folio editions, bound in imitation leather and heavy with prententious fonts. The reputation of good prose – like that of good biscuits – should never rest on the container in which it is kept.

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