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Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time [Paperback]

Jay Griffiths
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

7 Aug 2000

‘A wonderful piece of polemic against everything that’s wrong with the way we deal with time today.’ Independent

WINNER OF THE BARNES AND NOBLE ‘DISCOVER AWARD FOR NON-FICTION’ 2003

An infectiously enthusiastic and original piece of cultural analysis on the one subject that has ousted sex and money from the top of the obsessions league. In thrillingly ebullient style and with every paragraph fizzing over with smart ideas smartly expressed, livewire polemicist Jay Griffiths takes Time in her teeth and champs and chews at it until it’s a far more palatable item – something to nourish us, not just to tempt and worry us.

Her fascinating exploration of the passage of time includes (among many other things): our obsession with speed, with overtaking; motorways and their link to fascism; war; Mercury and the mythology of time and speed; History and the heritage industry; the ‘meanness’ of Greenwich Mean Time; the fast language we now have to go with fast food; Aboriginal Dreamtime; the difference between festivals and pageants; May Day; New Year; fin de siecles; the Millennium Dome; the time-consuming nature of housework; sex as anti-authority and anti-linear time; male concepts of time set against female; plastic surgery and the denial of aging; the evolution of the global calendar and clock; clock time versus wild time.

At once playful, political and passionate, she discusses Time’s arrow/domain/passage/gender/ linearity/circularity/speed/sloth/etc with exceptional elan. It all makes for a hugely entertaining, exciting and even terrifying book which marks the beginning of a significant writing career.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New Ed edition (7 Aug 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006551777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006551775
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

A fascinating, highly original meditation on time… Jay Griffiths exposes the political nature of the linear, mechanical and global time of industrial culture and contrasts it with the myriad "times" embodied in nature's processes, known to indigenous cultures. Her writing style is rich and rhythmic, reflecting her main thesis. This is a book which needs to be read slowly." Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics and Web of Life.

"Ambitious… playful, feminine, spontaneous and hedonistic." – The Economist

"Like the seminal socialist, feminist and ecological works, Pip Pip articulates what thousands have felt but no-one has been able to put into words. Suddenly, shapeless concerns are brought into focus. Outrage takes the place of confusion, fascination displaces complacency. Cheeky, intelligent, always gripping, Pip Pip re-introduces us to a dimension we've utterly neglected. It will be the opening salvo in a new battle over the human spirit." – George Monbiot, columnist, The Guardian

"A wonderfully argued and very moving book" – BBC Radio 4, Open Book

From the Author

Reviews
"A fascinating, highly original meditation on time. Jay Griffiths e xposes the political nature of the linear, mechanical and global time of indust rial culture and contrasts it with the myriad "times" embodied in nat ure's processes, known to indigenous cultures. Her writing style is rich and r hythmic, reflecting her main thesis. This is a book which needs to be read slo wly." - Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics and The Web of Life.

"Like the seminal socialist, feminist and ecological works, Pip Pip articulates what thousands have felt but no-one has b een able to put into words. Suddenly, shapeless concerns are brought into focu s. Outrage takes the place of confusion, fascination displaces complacency. C heeky, intelligent, always gripping, Pip Pip re-introduces us to a dimension we 've utterly neglected. It will be the opening salvo in a new battle over the human spirit." - George Monbiot, author, activi st and columnist for The Guardian

"A thoughtful, original and intuitive account of how we perceive time which offers many alternative chronological co nsiderations. This book addresses themes such as the taming of time by clock-d ominated societies, the significance of speed in relation to time, how time is experienced differently according to gender, and how political and fiscal power s manipulate time to their own advantage. There are chapters concerning time a nd death, time and eroticism, and a final section entitled "Wild Time,&quo t; where biodiversity, moving at its own pace in unspoilt wildernesses, renders the clock irrelevant... amusing and erudite, fascinating and spirited. Bravo! " - Peter Reading, Th e Times Literary Supplement

"A wonderful, delightfully humourous polemic against everything that's wrong with the way we deal with time today" - The Indep endent, Books of the Year

"An irresistibly provocative and political ana lysis of time... Her wittily enthusiastic thesis is that time has too long bee n used as a tool to power: as a manifesto, it could cause a revolution." - Iain Finlayson, The Times, Books of the Year

"A truly brilliant and wonderful book, beautifully wr itten. This is one of the best books I've read in years." - Vandana Shiva, author and BBC Reith lectu rer

"A whirl of a book. Any page will get you hooked." - New Scientist

"A compulsivel y readable book cleverly combining influences as diverse as Otis Redding, Belta ne and Australian aboriginals; Griffiths does for time what Robert M Pirsig did for truth-obsessed philosophy in 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'. It's also a sexual, playful, intensely female book. Griffiths argues that thr ough their monthly menstruation cycles, often affected by the moon, women are m uch more in tune with cyclical concepts of non-linear time. With 'Pip Pip' Gri ffiths may just have beaten the clock. Passionately written and cogently argue d, it's a book you should make time to read." - Pete May, Time Out

&q uot;Both revolutionary and a real pleasure to read. Certainly this must become one of the principal texts of anyone campaigning for social or environmental j ustice." - The Ecologist

"A wonderfully argued and very moving boo k" - BBC Radio 4, Open Book

"An exhilarating, truly mind-expanding book." - The Daily Mail

"A mine of ideas, of anecdotes, connections, angles" - Ivan Illich

"A wonderful book, full of illuminating juxt apositions. She has invented a new literary genre." - Richard Gott, author, critic for the London Review of Books < P> "A beautiful, bold, brilliant book." - John Vidal, Environment Editor, The Guardian

"Pip pip is a b rave and novel rage against the machine of time. It oozes ideas as rich as a li terary death-by-chocolate. Savour a spoonful at a time and allow several months to digest." - The B ig Issue

"Jay Griffiths is a dazzlingly original writer, a wordsmith of the first order. She writes like an angel: a funny, brave, passionate and some times naughty angel. Her book is dynamite. It will change your life and you w ill never think of Time the same way again. It is highly serious and yet playf ul; it is wise, wide ranging and radical. If this book were a political party, I'd join it." - Anita Roddick.

"It defies genres, it flows seamlessly from the po etic to the academic, from Joycean puns to rich Sinclair-like meandering, from moments where one can almost see the ink dry as another thought blossoms. Her writing is so alive; in many ways it mimics the flowing circularity that the bo ok speaks of, the organic, fluid moving pulse of life itself." - John Jordan, artist and activist.

" ;Extremely well written and engaging." - Charles Secrett, Director of Friends of the Earth

&q uot;Ambitious... playful, feminine, spontaneous and hedonistic."

- The Economist

"Done with an energetic panache that will le ave you mentally richer... a delight." - Earthmatte rs

"An extraordinary book that challenges us to take a very different vi ew of time." - Green Futures Magazine

"A huge pleasure to read. It just makes you smile." - Archie Baron, producer BBC 'Timewatch'

"She w rites like an angel." - Anthony Nuttall, Profe ssor of English Literature, Oxford University


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 23 May 2009
By Alison
Format:Paperback
Really thought-provoking. Wide-ranging, eclectic, fascinating, expressed in a unique style. I recommend it as well as Jay's more recent book "Wild".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 8 Feb 2008
By Andy
Format:Paperback
I kind of fell in love with Jay Griffiths as I read this. It made me feel like I want to use the rest of however much time I have left rather differently. Preferably with far less emphasis on clocks and watches. Dreamy, beautiful. Take no notice of the one star brigade. If they don't get it they are to be pitied.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Mike L
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a polemic against linear time, which Jay Griffiths describes as the enclosure of time, a parallel act to the enclosure of land. For the author these are colonial acts, all part of the edifice of male western civilization and a Bad Thing. Griffiths appeals instead to a more cyclic, feminine time.

Jay Griffiths is a witty, passionate and intelligent writer. The book is always entertaining and many of the examples she brings from around the world are delightful. At the same time there is no real development of an argument through the book; Griffiths simply piles up example after example. The book is not an enquiry into the nature of time, and after a while I found it hard to read. Maybe I am expecting too much - its the nature of polemic simply to blast against the side of the argument that has got out of hand.

On the other hand, the idea that there are different kinds of time is not new in the West. In ancient Greece there were two words for time: chronos, for linear, clock time, and kairos, which does not mean cyclic time but rather timeless time. They correspond to the conditional (material) and the unconditional (non-material). I find this a very powerful framework for thinking about the nature of time. It is not a dimension that Griffiths visits at all and this was a weakness of the book for me, because without it we are stuck in a male-female good-bad polarity.

Our word paradise comes from a Persian root meaning a walled garden or park. I wonder what Jay Griffiths would say about that: the beginning of the rot?

In summary: fascinating, but frustratingly incomplete.
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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Time of your Life 12 Mar 2007
Format:Paperback
Pip Pip is a miscellany of information that, despite inaccuracies (Marshall Sahlins is an anthropologist, not a biologist) and exaggerations, still makes some good points about the nature of time and how it claws us into its devouring clutch. Childhood, Jay Griffiths reminds us, seems so long because a child's metabolism is so much faster than that of an adult, so that a day that vanishes swiftly for a pensioner stretches forever for a child. Women, she tells us, follow lunar cycles - the paramenstruum leaves women burning with creativity, witch-like with intuition and violent moods. Some of us, of course, just get cramps, take painkillers, and go to bed.

Women, children, nature - all follow a cyclical wild time, a play-time, which is opposed to the horrid masculine linearity of clock time. The author contrasts modern and pre-modern societies. Western societies are estranged from nature, have contempt for animals and fear death instead of welcoming it. She laments the days when death was a communal affair, with friends and relatives gathered round. She hates the measuring of childbirth, the changing definitions of what is and is not a slow labour, the timing and efficiency of hospital wards. We should all be in tune with nature, with the natural rhythm of the seasons - instead of destroying our world with pollution stemming from capitalist greed. Industrialised work-patterns are twinned with consumption. Time, everyone's most precious commodity, is measured so that it can be snatched away from us.

So far, so good, but Griffiths's polemic proceeds by constructing ideological Aunt Sallies that she can toss comments at, without any real evaluation of what is and was going on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A new angle 23 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brilliant. A must read. She writes in such a poetic way, thoroughly creative and exploring all angles of time. I love her writing, I couldn't put it down.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Have you the time to vthink about time? 14 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was sort of interesting to a degre but a bit of a slog to read. I dont know why but I found it a bit hard to get really excited by it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful but Tough Going 2 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jay Griffiths work is contentious, beautiful, political, environmental, honest, and passionately felt! You can hear various interviews with her on Youtube if you want, but her literature is extremely well researched and argued. If you are anti feminist or just plain male chauvinist, this is not going to impress you. I found it both persuasive and challenging to preconceived ideas. Rich in history too.
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18 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet as a nut 20 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is completely fascinating, about times and cultures. It is funny and robust. Amongst other things, it is a revelation about women's experiences of time. I have never read a book like this - ever. One reviewer commented that it does for time what Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance did for philosophy. Well, yes. That's close. It's beautiful. Sexist men may hate it, but I loved it.
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