August 11th, 2013


Angels, Kings, Composers And Lots Of Other Things

I made an icon of the melancholy angel but she looks even glummer when she's small, so I don't think I'll use her much. In truth she looks like a zombie, which is not at all the effect I was after.

Fallen from our high estate and with death in our hearts, we are all melancholy angels- discuss.

My mother has Andre Maurois' Guide to Living on her shelves. I read a little of it last night. He quotes Conrad as saying we pass a "shadowline" at 40- after which old age begins. Maurois opines that by the time he was writing (in 1939-40) the bar had been raised to 50. I wonder if we've raised it any higher since? Personally, I think not. 50 was the difficult birthday for me. I hardly turned a hair at my 60th.

Then I flipped through a few more pages and lit upon the sentence in which Maurois calls Hitler "a prophet". Ooh er.

Talking about right wing bastards, I've been watching (because my mother likes him) David Starkey talking about Royalty and Music. It's one of the few good things one can say about the Hanoverians that they patronized (and genuinely appreciated) Handel. George IV and Rossini- two vulgar little fat men- were best buddies and used to sing duets together.  The last royals to care a fig about music were Victoria and Albert (Albert was as good a composer as Henry VIII- which is to say not at all bad.) Edward VII liked No No Nanette and George V thought Fidelio was "d*mned dull". A discreet veil was drawn over the tastes of the two most recent occupants of the throne. My trust in Starkey as a guide took a beating when he described Elgar as a "northerner". Worcester a northern city? Really? Does the BBC not have fact checkers? Or is Starkey too grand to submit his scripts for vetting before they're shot?

Some rolling-in-it BBC executive deserves to have his or her inflated bonus pricked for this.

(I'm sorry Starkey didn't end his grand historical survey with Elton John rocking the Abbey. Or Brian May thrashing his guitar on the Palace roof. That was a missed trick I think.)

Nights are closing in. When I went out to feed the rabbits at nine it was almost dark. I'll miss this sunny summer when it's gone.

I was turning the lights off last thing and a bulb exploded. Phut.

Still Blogging Shirley

An army of two hundred workless working men attacks the mill. They are met with gunfire. Our two heroines watch from higher ground and carefully describe the battle to one another. It's like the script for a radio play.

Still, we needed that. We'd had more than enough maidenly moping.

Bronte's politics are benevolent old-school Tory. She thinks the upper classes should be charitable and the lower classes duly grateful. She tilts the balance by portraying the radical agitators as drunks, hypocrites and loonies.

There's a lot of Yorkshire pride and a lot of Yorkshire dialect. Full marks for this. A snobby curate who says snobby things about Northern folk gets chucked out t'house.

It's a bad novel, but it's a bad novel by a writer of genius. Therefore one persists. I think I know how it's going to end.