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Wednesday, 16 November 2016


I once read that Soren Kierkegaard got upset when he was described as the greatest philosopher in Denmark. Apparently he thought that such faint praise didn't do him justice. I hope the story is true. It's the most endearing thing I've ever heard about him. For years now I've kept an eye out for examples of what I call Kierkegaard Syndrome  - people or institutions that are described in a similar way, as big frogs in very small ponds.

Adelaide, where I now live, is rich in examples of this cultural phenomenon and I hope to post some from time to time. This morning, for instance I came upon the following:

Now "Adelaide's Premier Rope Supplier" is, on the face of it, a pretty lame claim to fame, although you might argue that South Australia's proud record of exotic murders gains it a little more credibility.
A mile or so down the road is:

The "West Side" in this context doesn't mean a sophisticated retail precinct but the extremely dull western suburbs of Adelaide. The sign (and its attached shop) are in an ordinary suburban street. The boast so proudly displayed is unlikely to be challenged.

One of my Sydney correspondents (thanks, V!) recently told me that she saw Mitchell Johnson's (presumably ghosted) autobiography advertised on a bus stop as "The most eagerly awaited cricket biography of 2016!". That surely counts,  the average cricket biography being hardly more cutting edge than a rank-and-file Danish philosopher.

So you see the pattern. Please send me any examples that come to your attention.

I have a couple of other syndromes to reveal when the time is ripe. Parker Syndrome, for instance, almost universal among journalists, first came to me years ago while I was watching McHale's Navy. Stay tuned.


  1. By hook or by crook........

  2. Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do!
    Issac Assimov

  3. I once saw a photo in a book with the caption

    Saturnino de Brito, one of the most illustrious names in sanitary engineering in Brazil.

  4. This one only exists in my head; I've been waiting about twenty hears for an opportunity to use it.

    The Second Symphony of Borodin is arguably the finest piece of music ever written by a chemist.

  5. Something else that SK said which is sort of a bit endearing:

    "When it comes to emotions, I am like the Englishman who got into financial difficulties because no-one could cash his hundred pound note."

    SK wrote most, maybe all, of his books under various pseudonyms. This may, or may not have been because his surname means "churchyard", cemetery, in effect.

  6. Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Singapore's highest indoor waterfall!

  7. Did you do a tour of all the other indoor waterfalls?