Sir Edward Carson
collage drawing on Stonehenge grey paper
30 x 22
WWI series / $750
The whole texture of British daily life could be said to commemorate the war still. It is remembered in the odd pub-closing hours (written in 1975), one of the fruits of the Defense of the Realm Act; the afternoon closing was originally designed, it was said, to discourage the munitions workers of 1915 from idling away their afternoons over beer. The Great War persists in many of the laws controlling aliens and repressing sedition and espionage. “D”-notices to newspapers, warning them off “national security matters,” are another legacy. So is Summer Time. So are such apparent universals as cigarette-smoking, the use of wristwatches (originally a trench fad), the cultivation of of garden “allotments” (“Food Will Win the War”). So is the use of paper banknotes, entirely replacing gold coins. The playing of “God Save the King” in theaters began in 1914 and persisted until the 1970s, whose flagrant cynicisms finally brought an end to the custom.
Even cuisine commemorates the war. Eggs and chips became popular during the war because both bacon and steak were scarce and costly. It became the favorite soldiers’ dish off duty, and to this day remains a staple of public menus not just in England but in France and Belgium as well.
– Paul Fussell