Really?

This is Andrew Marr talking about having lunch with politicians:

On rare occasions, the story is so good, with so much detail or such strong quotes, that a short visit to the loo to jot notes down on a paper napkin is needed. Few pleasures on this little green planet are so glorious as tucking a real story into your breast pocket and returning for some cheese and a final glass of claret.

Is it really as ‘glorious’ as all that? Either ‘Andy’ is overstating this a bit, or he needs to get out more (hopefully he has done since he started doing less journalism). That’s is the funny thing about journalists – they are so excitable, like children. I suppose they wouldn’t be journalists otherwise. You can’t keep telling readers/viewers how boring everything is.

The Devil’s Whore

Finally got round to watching The Devil’s Whore, an entertaining romp through the English civil war (a period I would dearly love to know more about, but probably never will). It has an excellent cast, which helps to make up for other shortcomings.

The first episode was broadcast on the day our son was born and it languished on our PVR for years thereafter. Eventually we deleted it due to lack of space, only for my wife to buy the DVDs for me as a birthday present later on. And now we have watched them at last. Trivial perhaps, but it feels like it has been quite a saga to us. We have basically been meaning to get round to watching it for six and a half years. Is this a record of some kind?

Designing beauty

Finally got a chance to see this last Friday. I wasn’t blown away, perhaps due to a lack of imagination on my part; I just kept thinking that this was stuff we already know. I needed a fresh pair of eyes, or something.

British Museum blog

Caroline Ingham, Senior Designer: Exhibitions, British Museum

Doryphoros Detail of a Bronze reconstruction of around 1920 by George Römer of the Doryphoros or ‘spear-bearer’ by Polykleitos, made around 440–430 BC. H 212 cm. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich

Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art is the first major temporary exhibition of sculpture at the British Museum since Hadrian: Empire & Conflict in 2008. It is also the first sculpture show in the new Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery (Room 30). For the Museum’s Exhibitions team this is the culmination of over a year of intensive work with the exhibition’s designers, Caruso St John architects and Matt Bigg, Surface 3 graphics.

Doryphoros, Diskobolos, Ilissos2 Sculptures on display in the exhibition, from left to right: Bronze reconstruction of around 1920 by George Römer of the Doryphoros or ‘spear-bearer’ by Polykleitos, made around 440–430 BC. H 212 cm. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich. Marble statue of the Diskobolos or ‘discus-thrower’. Roman copy from 2nd…

View original post 536 more words

I Am Kloot

Went to see them last night at the Electric Ballroom. It was OK. Slightly spoiled (OK, completely spoiled) by the news of the BBC exit poll at 10pm. Ugh.

(pic from Gigwise)

John Bramwell seems like a good guy, anyway. Witty and amiable. I just didn’t dig the material all that much. Capable support from Andy Burrows (not bad for a drummer).

Indigenous Australia: before the sheep arrived

Wanted to see this at the British Museum members’ evening but by the time I went to the desk they had run out of tickets! Didn’t matter – I spent the whole evening in ‘Bonaparte and the British’ anyway. But I think some people were quite unhappy about it.

British Museum blog

Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator, Oceania, British Museum

As curator of the BP exhibition Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation it is a great privilege to be presenting this major exhibition in London. Over the past two years, it has been a special and sometimes moving experience to view and discuss objects in the collection with artists and community visitors from Australia – and to see these special objects up close. It is a big responsibility to put together an exhibition that does justice to the cultural and historical complexity of the story of Indigenous Australia – a story that is still unfolding.

Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters) by Kunmanara Hogan, Tjaruwa Woods, Yarangka Thomas, Estelle Hogan, Ngalpingka Simms and Myrtle Pennington. Acrylic on canvas, H 1790 mm, W 2330 mm, British Museum, London 2014,2009.1 © The artists, courtesy Spinifex Arts Project.Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters) by Kunmanara Hogan, Tjaruwa Woods, Yarangka Thomas, Estelle Hogan, Ngalpingka Simms and Myrtle Pennington. Acrylic on canvas, H 1790 mm, W 2330 mm. British Museum, London 2014,2009.1 © The artists, courtesy Spinifex Arts Project

Early British visitors to Australian shores were surprised to learn that there was more than one…

View original post 863 more words

Of sewing machines and umbrellas

According to Colin Burrow (LRB, 23 April), Denis Donoghue’s main claims are that metaphor ‘invokes things disgracefully far apart’ and that metaphors on the whole get better in proportion to the degree of disjunction between tenor and vehicle. This reminded me of Isidore Ducasse, better known as the Comte de Lautréamont, who famously described a young boy as ‘beau… comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d’une machine à coudre et d’un parapluie’ (beautiful as the accidental encounter, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella) in Les Chants de Maldoror. OK, it’s a simile rather than a metaphor, but the same principle is at work.

The surrealists got terribly excited about this sort of thing. Man Ray, in a direct homage to Lautréamont, wrapped a sewing machine in a blanket, tied it up with strong and called the result ‘L’Enigme d’Isidore Ducasse’ (below). You can see a later version of this on display at Tate Liverpool, I gather.

German surrealist Max Ernst also referred to Lautréamont when describing surrealist painting as ‘a linking of two realities that by all appearances have nothing to link them, in a setting that by all appearances does not fit them.’ Dali painted a sewing machine with umbrellas in a surrealist landscape in 1941 (below). And Belgium’s René Magritte drew a series of full-page illustrations and vignettes in a caricatural style for a 1948 edition of Maldoror.