March 14th, 2013



So many firsts. First man from the Southern Hemisphere, first American, first Jesuit, first Francis.

I love the choice of name. Not only because Francis is one of the few post-Biblical Catholic saints non-Catholics know about and like but also because it shows a willingness to ignore precedent.

Otherwise he's a Prince of the Church who has chosen to live like a poor man (good) and a man of power who seems to have accommodated himself to a right-wing terror regime (not so good).

I watched the news come in on Channel 4. Jon Snow and his team were caught on the hop. They hadn't prepared for this eventuality. Someone had left a mic on and you could hear excited back room chatter. "Who?" "Mutter, mutter" "Wait. I've got it!"

St Peter's

St Peter's is an ugly building too. It has no poetry about it, no charm. What it's saying is, "This is the Pope's house and the Pope has loads of money." I'm coming to the slightly surprising conclusion that I don't much like marble- certainly not as a building material; it's too shiny; it has the arrogance to defy time. I prefer stone that weathers and crumbles and provides safe footing for lichen. Caen stone, that's the stuff!

I don't envy the Romans their buildings- well, maybe the Pantheon and some of those tombs along the Appian Way- but they can keep St Peter's and most of what's in it. I'd far rather have an English or French medieval cathedral- even a very small one- like Rochester.

Update On Savile And Related Matters

Graham Ovenden- an artist famous for highly sexualized images of prepubescent girls- is being tried in Truro on charges of child abuse. His work has been collected by the Tate and also by former Tory chairman Lord MacAlpine.

Has-been entertainer Dave Lee Travis has been re-arrested by police attached to Operation Yew Tree. It's not entirely clear what the charges are. Further arrests of has-been entertainers are expected to follow.

The investigation into the abuse of care home children at The Elm Guest House continues but arrests are slow in coming- even though a list of suspects (including some famous names) is available online.  For some reason it seems much easier to make life miserable for has-beens like DLT than still-ares like Lord Justaclickaway.