September 20th, 2015



"Stunned" is what you feel when someone just hit you on the back of the head with a frying pan- and you're halfway to unconsciousness, mouth agape, eyes glazed, unable to speak or move. How often has any work of art- or set of celebrity pix- actually affected you that way? Ever? Once or twice in your life?

But the people who write the headlines over at the Mail would be bereft if you took "stunning" away from them. And here's the Guardian at it too- trying to engage our interest in "Lee Miller's "stunning photographs of women at war."  Stunning? Really? Actually, no,  not at all. They're interesting pictures- if that's the sort of thing you find interesting- quite nice- but they don't stop you in your tracks. You register them, then flick on past. If it weren't that that's a woman's face framed in the flying helmet you wouldn't give the image a second's thought.

Brian Sewell

He was a nasty, bad-tempered old queen- or that's the role he mostly played, but he was kind and loyal too- standing by Anthony Blunt- to his own detriment- when the wolf pack was howling for him. He became the most entertaining of art critics- unfair, bitchy, outrageous, quotable; he despised most modern art but- for some unfathomable reason- loved the Chapman brothers.  He became a TV star of sorts- though he affected to hate the business- and his filmed pilgrimage to Compostela is a joy. The two volumes of Autobiography are (I'm told) filthy and unputdownable. He took his love of dogs to unsavoury extremes- digging up their little corpses to take with him when he moved houses. He was a character, an original. He didn't censor himself. He preferred "queer" to "gay"- and queer was what he was- in every sense of the word.

 We "could have better spared a better man."