January 15th, 2009

Cultural Jottings

1. Ailz is getting into her new Open University course. Last year we lay in bed and talked about Shakespeare. Now we lie in bed and talk about Marcel Duchamp.

2. Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch have made up their quarrel- and Virgin cable are carrying Sky again. The two Sky Arts channels are a real find. There was that rare, Godard movie for starters. Since then we've watched Simon Schama on Rembrandt and Bernini and a short on the photographer Nan Goldin.

3. I thought I'd like Angela Carter- and I don't.  I'm reading Wise Children.  The characters are stereotypes and the writing is packed with cliches- eyes are "sky-blue",  accents are "cut-glass. The one good quality I can't deny her is energy.

4. I got three Carters out of the library- more fool me- because I thought she was going to be my next "project".  The only other thing I got was a big, heavy book on the Romanesque- with gorgeous colour plates and a text translated from the German. My man Rolf Toman characterises the early medieval period as being in the grip of a "death cult"- all crusades and last judgements and saints being torn apart for their relics. And, yes, I see what he means- but I think he's missing the youthful energy, the urge- suddenly- to build up and up, the playfulness of the carving, the simplicity and directness of the lyrics.  When I go into a Romanesque building or listen to a troubador song my heart lifts. I find I'm smiling.  It's as if I can feel the April sunshine on my back.