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The Complete Gentleman, Issue #008
September 21, 2015

Experiencing Seasonal Change

Here in the Northern Hemisphere I have already begun to see a few leaves falling from the trees and know Autumn/Fall is coming upon us. Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere the days are beginning to get warmer, a welcome feeling to the colder months. Seasonal changes have always been interesting and exciting for me; I guess it has something to do with the different clothes worn, the seasonal food & drink, holidays celebrated and the different pursuits to participate in. It’s an “experience” thing only real life brings, as opposed to experiences gained through passive media (films, books, internet, video games etc.).

Seasonal Gin Change

I’ve recently written 2 website posts regarding two very different styles (or categories) of Gin. While these types of Gin can be imbibed anytime and during any season, they do have an element of seasonality to them.

First up is the ubiquitous London Dry Gin , a stalwart of warm days in Gin & Tonics and Gin Fizz’s, and those with impending warmer weather may be looking forward to. According to reports, this summer in the UK there was a larger than usual boost of Gins sales, some showing a 30% increase than normally experienced at this time of year!

Secondly is the lesser known and experienced juniper flavored spirit called Genever. This is frequently taken neat and is a great sipping drink for colder nights ahead. If you have never tried it, or it’s been a while since you tried it, why not give it a whirl. There is a steady but increasing interest in this spirit and you may be fortunate to find this appearing on shelves in stores near you.

A Constant Season of Our Own Making?

If you’ve ever seen the 1941 film “Meet John Doe” then you’ll probably understand this more, so without doing too much of a spoiler for those who haven’t, during the film there is scene for a Radio Broadcast. The key message of the broadcast is to take a seasonal feeling of goodwill and apply it year round. How do you show you care for your neighbor/fellow man? And yes what we do does count, regardless of our position or standing in life.

Life Style Inflation

While mentioning Meet John Doe, it would seem remiss to omit highlighting The Heelots Speech contained within the movie. If you’re not sure what a Heelot is then it’s worth clicking on the link. Mentioned in this is the example of a Car. It’s an interesting proposition to think if you could do without a car these days but, what about that 2nd or 3rd car? Of course it’s not just cars, the real question is, do you spend less than you earn? Can you attain and maintain this state of financial affairs…even when you earn more money? Do you honestly need to upgrade to a larger home, more luxurious vehicle, bigger screen TV etc?

A Man for all Seasons

Some may recall the 1988 film starring Charlton Heston, the previous 1966 film starring Paul Scofield or even the original radio play (the films are based on) by Robert Bolt first aired on the BBC in 1954 (and performed on stage in the west End and Broadway in the early 1960’s). If this is all a mystery to you, or your mind needs jogging, these tell the story of Sir Thomas More, the Lord High Chancellor of England during the 1530’s.

More, a devout Catholic and man of principle, refused to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the Church of England, or the king’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn. Thomas More sought to not speak publically of this in faith to his king, but could not publically support the king’s actions either in faith to God and the Pope, and so asked to be able to resign and follow a quiet private life away from court. This was granted in 1532 but the king was unable to accept the situation and had Thomas More executed in 1535. More was recognized as a man of the people, well liked in court amongst politicians and a close friend of the king, becoming known as “a Man for All Seasons,” hence the title for the plays and films. But where does this phrase come from?

It’s all Latin to me!

People of a certain age today, myself included, may fondly recall their schoolboy days and, perhaps not so fondly, learning Latin. Many of the exercises had been around for a long time - one dating back to the 1520’s and made famous by schoolteacher Robert Whittinton at that time, involved translating “A Man for All Seasons” into Latin (“omnium horarum homo”). However, Whittinton probably used the phrase from another scholar of that time.

In the early 1500’s Desiderius Erasmus had written about Thomas More: “…though your remarkably keen intelligence places you worlds apart from the common herd, still the incredible sweetness and gentleness of your character makes you able and willing to be a man for all seasons to all men” – in Latin the last part of the sentence is: “cum omnibus omnium horarum hominem agree.” A few years earlier, Erasmus had written a book entitled “Adagia,” listing over 3,000 Latin and Greek sayings. In this he lists “omnium horarum homo” with the description: “…is applied to those who are equally adept at pleasantries and serious matters and whose company we always enjoy.”

The use of the word “seasons” does not mean seasons of the year (despite the inferences made in the play and film). The literal translation from the Latin to English is: “A man suited to all hours, times, occasions.” Surely this is something we should endeavor to be like.

Gentlemen, I’ll leave you with a toast: May we become “men for all seasons to all men.”

My sincere regards,

David “Woody” Schofield

President and Founder, The Complete Gentleman LLC.

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