Feedback on Zooming the Salon—Virtual Reality March 2020

Proust Tour Four Zooms 19.3.20

“Thanks Toby, I wish everyone stuck at home had such an uplifting and entertaining group to spend time with each week. Looking forward to next time—”

(CD, Finnegans Wake)

“Thanks for yesterday, it seemed to go quite well, and I’m sure we’ll settle into it. There is something of ‘The Decameron’ about it, as we sit in our (virtual) ivory tower and talk about high culture while the world outside slowly winds down…It is certainly going to important to us if we are more and more confined to home.”

(JC—Proust tour 4)

Thanks so much for setting up last evening, I thought it worked brilliantly.
The only comment I have is that it is may be more difficult to have quite the same level of enthusiastic discussion we have had previously. I know I am guilty sometimes of jumping in and this form of interaction needs some space around it.
I love Proust so much. So here we are, looking at ourselves, where we’re all sitting, how we’ve set ourselves up, talking about the book while at the same time another dialogue is running through our heads!  Of course, the man’s a genius!
Just beginning to start on next part and know it’s going to make me cry. I’m very close to my 16-year-old grandson in Brighton and will miss him dreadfully over the next however many months. However, I have devised myself a schedule including exercise, meditation, watching movies, texting and calling family and friends and of course the wonderful on line Salon!

(EW, Prost Tour 4)

Thanks again for last night.  I really enjoyed it. It was interesting how we all settled into it quite quickly and it seemed to get up and running well pretty fast.  Yay!  I’m so grateful we can keep on with our work.  As John said, it’s so important to us, and I think it’s going to keep us sane in our cork-lined rooms…  I realised it must be quite intense for you though!  Hope you enjoyed it too.

Thanks again for thinking of it and getting it all organised.  You’re a star.

(RB, Proust Tour 4)


Positive Statements:

— It’s a wonderful way of continuing to be connected in these hard times

— in some ways, it makes it easier to concentrate on what one person is saying

— I love the individualities of our background scenery (Paul’s Bridge gets my prize this week, closely followed by Michelle’s lamp and those great shadows)

Mookses and Gripes:

— I do miss the ‘group-ness’ of people gathered together in one room

— I wonder if there is a way of presenting the page of text on screen? (We can argue about which text, later on, of course)

— And/or if we can figure out ways of sharing photos etc on the screen, as illustration (there MUST be a way!)

(RE, Finnegans Wake)


Thank you so much for letting me re-join the Wake.  It was very grounding to be able to join all of you in Toby’s virtual salon.  I was so inspired, I am attempting to set up a book group with my London expat friends who are now scattered to the four winds.  It will be a lighter read than FW, however.

(MM, Finnegans Wake)


I’ve not done anything like Zoom before, and it will take a few goes before I get used to it. However, I definitely think it is a good thing to do and thanks for setting it up.

During the session, while people were talking, I kept wondering what we imagine we see, when we stare at the computer? We have an illusion of eye-contact, but the other person’s face is a faulty mirror; we can cue into body language in a reciprocal way, when we are a dyad, but not a group. In the session, we become a group who is blind to everything except the mis-cued image on the screen. How very Proustian!

(NvF Proust Tour 4)

That was wonderful – really worked well and such an interested group  – it worked perfectly – gt to listen to everyone and plenty of time to talk and think.    Very special afternoon in this very odd way of life.      Looking forward so much to more…….   Let me know if you want more takers as I have a few  friends who might be interested…….

(SF– Faulkner, Yellow Wallpaper)

Yes, it was hard for me to not imagine everyone else was together somehow in Toby’s living room!

I think we can manage the decibel level better if we all wear headphones with little mics.. then you can speak at a natural level..  even using the cheap sets that come free with your mobile.Otherwise  utterly  marvellous to concentrate on something this crazy. As regards meetings, given the semi lock-down  I would certainly give serious consideration to continuing the work on the book for now.

(MD, Finnegans Wake)


“Thanks for the session tonight. It was really great to be able to do it. I found it easier then I thought I would!”