Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Brifknefs in the Lifts of Venus


I've been reading The Shocking History of Advertising!, by E. S. Turner, a versatile writer and journalist who penned his last full stop in 2006 at the age of 97.

He quotes from The Spectator of about 1740:

Famous Drops for Hypochondriac Melancholy: Which effectually cure on the Spot, by rectifying the Stomach and Blood, cleanfing them from all Impurities, and giving a new Turn to their Ferment, attenuating all vifcous and tenacious Humours (which make the Head Heavy, clog the Spirits, confufe the Mind, and caufe the deepeft Melancholly, with direful Views and black Reflections), comforting the Brain and Nerves, compofing the hurried Thoughts, and introducing bright lively Ideas and pleafant Brifknefs, inftead of difmal Apprehenfion and dark Incumbrance of the Soul, fetting the Intellectuals at Liberty to act with Courage, Serenity and fteady Cheerfulnefs, exciting Agonifts in the Lifts of Venus to great Deeds, and caufing a vifible, diffufive Joy to Reign in the Room of uneafy Doubts, Fear, &c., for which they may be truly efteem'd infallible. Price 3s 6d a Bottle, with Inftructions. Sold only at Mr Bell's, book-feller at the Crofs Keys and Bible in Cornhill, near the Royal Exchange.

Sounds exactly what's needed. I think I might order fome.

20 comments:

Tim said...

I'm fure this literal confusion will have caufed many a war. Were there any orfographical rules? Send tree and sourpence?

Dave said...

My Intellectuals definitely need fetting at liberty.

Martin H. said...

"...introducing bright lively Ideas and pleafant Brifknefs..." Just the thing for bloggers, then.

Christopher said...

This is juft about the time of the '45 rifing, Tim. I sufpect thofe Jacobites had been mixing thefe drops with their ufquebaugh. Dave the hiftorian will have some ideas about this.

I think so, Dave. You have kept them caged too long. You could at least allow them the freedom of your ardour.

Martin: Abfolutely. Don't know that it's much ufe coming here, though.

Christopher said...

Did I write 'ardour', Dave? I meant 'arbour'.

Dave said...

I'm fure you did.

Sarah said...

I'm pretty perky most of the time....no need for artificial stimulants.

Z said...

My mind is osten confufed. On the other hand, I'm already known for my fteady cheefulnefs. I shall drop in to Mr Bell's next time I'm in Cornhill and check it out.

I do not have 3/6, I wonder if he can change the ten shilling note that the Sage carries in his wallet.

dinahmow said...

I rather fancy fome brifkneff,too.
(It's making me think of Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis.")

Rosie said...

I'll take a case of that, thank you.

Christopher said...

Fah: Did you mean ftimulants with an s or stimulants with an f? It makes all the difference.

Z: Didn't we all - at least, those of us with more years than wisdom - love 10/- notes as children? Wasn't there a certain solidity and promise to them, somehow greater and more exciting than the over-effusive £1 occasionally slipped to us by doting uncles and then, as often as not, immediately confiscated and put into Post Office Savings Bank? I wonder where the Sage got his from?

MIT: Absolutely. And of course with the f/s confusion you can't readily tell whether it's Lists of Venus or Lifts of Venus. I think it's 'Lists' in the sense of jousting that's meant in the advert, tho' 'Lifts' is equally intriguing.

Rofie (I promise not to do this any more): It's on its way to you. By mule and xebec.

Mike and Ann said...

I understand about the Sage keeping a 10/- note in his wallet.As an young man (well, alright then- an even younger man) I too always kept a ten shilling note in the secret compartment of my wallet, because, if I'd mislaid my return ticket, it was easily possible to get home from London (or indeed most places) for less than ten shillings.

Christopher said...

M 'n' A: I think this may have been a fairly common practice at one time, later supplanted by keeping a £5 note tucked away for emergencies. Curious that it now costs more than the present-day equivalent of 10/- to send a letter or postcard. Or so I'm told. Who, alas, writes letters these days?

Z said...

Sadly, I had no uncles, doting or any others. Nor aunts. I was mostly given book tokens. A book usually cost 9/6 and change was not given, so I built up quite a stock of Highway Codes.

The Sage kept some florins too. He probably has a white fiver tucked away if I delved deep enough into his back pocket.

Rog said...

This advertising sound much more fun and creative than the continuous stream of tv ads for price comparison web sites. I'm heartened to think we used to actually produce stuff.

Christopher said...

All those Highway Codes, Z - you must have had an impressive knowledge of signals given by drivers of horses and carts. And of that road sign for an approaching school which was supposed to represent a torch of learning but which actually looked like an ice-cream cone.

Rog: Too true. Such a shame that neither of us ever worked in an advertising agency.

Tim said...

My mother's favourite road sign used to be the one for roadworks, which she would describe as 'man putting up an umbrella'.

Christopher said...

The river bank sign was quite entertaining, too. And wasn't there a sign for approaching level crossing with a steam locomotive, just like the Monopoly token?

letouttoplay said...

3s 6d sounds like an awful lot of money for a bottle of medecine bought from a book-feller.
I have a 6d in my purse, if you get some could I buy a few drops from you?

Christopher said...

No, Mig, please don't part with your lucky 6d, particularly as these drops are probably good for cleaning old coins too.