William Shakespeare - Robert Aickman - Samuel Beckett - John Dryden - Pali Tipitaka - Isaac Marion - W S Gilbert - After Life: The Strange Science of Decay TV - Henry Miller - Oliver Goldsmith - George Orwell - Dorian Gray 2009 - Measuring Mass: The Last Artefact TV -
Till then fair hope must hinder life’s decay,
And I the rather wean me from despair. William Shakespeare, Richard II IV v 16-17, Lady Gray
I wasted time and now doth time waste me. The Hollow Crown: Richard II starring Ben Whishaw & Rory Kinnear & Patrick Stewart & David Suchet & David Morrissey & Lindsay Duncan & Tom Hughes & James Purefoy & Clemence Poesy & Ferdinand Kinsley et al, director Rupert Goold, Bollingbroke, Richard II, BBC 2012
It is strange that people train themselves so carefully to go to waste so prematurely. Robert Aickman, The Unsettled Dust
Waste and pine. Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot starring Stephen Brennan & Barry McGovern & Johnny Murphy & Sam McGovern et al, director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Lucky’s monologue, 2001
All human beings are subject to decay,
And, when fate summons, monarchs must obey. John Dryden, 1631-1700, MacFlecknoe
All conditioned things are of a nature to decay. Pali Tipitaka
My friend M says the irony of being a zombie is that everything is funny, but you can’t smile, because your lips have rotted off. Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies
There’s a fascination frantic
In a ruin that’s romantic;
Do you think you are sufficiently decayed? W S Gilbert, The Mikado
Decay: it happens to everything and everyone. We try to keep it out of our everyday lives, but decay is one of the most important forces in Nature. It underpins all life on Earth. After Life: The Strange Science of Decay, BBC 2011
Life itself depends on this process. ibid.
Insects ... moulds, bacteria – they are key agents of decay. ibid.
Bacteria are the most common agents of decay on the planet. And on dead animals they are the first to attack. ibid.
The bacteria start to coordinate their actions, working together to benefit the colony. ibid.
We fight a daily battle to keep this kind of decay out of our kitchens. ibid.
Without water bacteria cannot grow. ibid.
Moulds are masters of decay – they are a type of fungi. ibid.
Each mould is trying to seize territory by outgrowing its competitors. But they are also using powerful chemical weapons to try to kill off other moulds and rival decomposers like bacteria. ibid.
Fungi are vital to life on this planet. They are amongst the Earth’s oldest life-forms. ibid.
With fungi unable to break down wood, over time more and more carbon was removed from the air and locked up in dead trees. ibid.
The fungi sends out a network of tiny threads. ibid.
Fungi saved the world. ibid.
The all-pervading hideous stink of decay. ibid.
Rotting meat is far more dangerous to us that rotting vegetable. ibid.
The flies are flying ‘under the influence’. ibid.
This is a slime mould: Physarum polycephalum, and it’s the largest single-celled organism on Earth. ibid.
Slime mould is what’s known as self-organising systems. ibid.
Slime mould could hold the secret to a revolution in computing, or even the creation of artificial intelligence. ibid.
A teaspoon of soil contains four billion micro-organisms. ibid.
A process of renewal we are all part of. ibid.
I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth. Henry Miller
Where wealth accumulates, men decay. Oliver Goldsmith
To accept civilization as it is practically means accepting decay. George Orwell
What is there to believe in? All I see is decay. Dorian Gray 2009 starring Ben Barnes & Colin Firth & Ben Chaplin & Rachel Hurd-Wood & Johnny Harris & Rebecca Hall & Emilia Fox & Fiona Shaw & Maryan d’Abo & Caroline Goodall et al, director Oliver Parker, Dorian
This is the story of an artefact … An object against which all others can be measured … Secured in an underground vault … There is a problem that metrologists are worried about … The weight of everything on the planet has been changing … The kilogram, a fundamental unit of SI … ‘Everything that humans make as a standard decays … and changes and evolves … Everything is decaying’ … Since it was forged, the IPK and its replicas have deviated from one another by about 50 micrograms, or the mass of as single eyelash. Measuring Mass: The Last Artefact, BBC 2021