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Perception and memories can play tricks

As I set off upon today’s post I’m conscious that I don’t know quite where I’m going or indeed where I’m going to end up. However – in the spirit of the famous catchphrase of Alfred E. Newman, the hero of America’s Mad magazine of which I was an avid reader about fifty-five years ago [...]

August 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Lehman Trilogy

Many of my friends who go irregularly to the West End Theatre cite the same reasons: 1) it is expensive; 2) the theatres are old with poor amenities; 3) it’s a rush and the choice of supper beforehand or after is unattractive; 4) you emerge late at night in an insalubrious part of London; 5) [...]

August 15, 2019 // 0 Comments

Film criticism and Mark Kermode

In France film reviewing is taken very seriously. The film review magazine Cahiers du Cinema – literally translated as “Exercise books of Cinema” – spawned a fine generation of Auteurs like Jean Luc Goddard, Francois Truffaut and Alain Resnais. In the UK film reviewing can [...]

August 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

Six Minutes in May/ Nicholas Shakespeare

This is an account of how Winston Churchill became Prime Minister in May 1940. It begins with a detailed account of the Norway Campaign. The assault on Narvik which produced iron ore for Germany was Churchill’s brainchild as First Sea Lord. It was a disastrous campaign comparable to Gallipoli and [...]

August 9, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Impartiality of Love/Hannah Rothschild

This is a novel of many parts, most of which do not work. Above all it reveals the amoral ruthlessness of the art world after a woman called Annie, a cook who is unlucky in love, discovers a lost Antoine Watteau called Improbability of Love in a junk shop. This develops into a chick lit romance, an [...]

August 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

Fake or Fortune

It’s good to see Fake or Fortune back on our screens – not on Sundays at 8.00pm but Thursday evening at 9.00 pm. Its formula of the investigation into whether a painting is genuine or not clearly attracts the viewing public. It’s a bit contrived with the informal chats between presenter [...]

August 3, 2019 // 0 Comments

Magic Flute/Glyndebourne & related PC issues

Yesterday I did something I rarely if ever do, namely to cancel my trip to Glyndebourne to see The Magic Flute. The driver who takes me – normally most reliable – called at midday to report he was unwell. This meant I had to find alternative transport. Other factors in my decision were [...]

July 31, 2019 // 0 Comments

The Club/ Jonathan Clegg & Joshua Robinson

The subtitle of this book is “How the Premier League became the richest, most disruptive business in sport” which reflects a work that is more assertive than analytical. You can tell it’s written by journalists – in this case the Washington Post’s as a historian tends more to rely on [...]

July 29, 2019 // 0 Comments

Sport, money and television

“There’s nowt so queer as folk …” is (and I’ve just looked this up) an old idiom from either Yorkshire or Lancashire and probably comes from the same stable as “There’s always someone worse off than yerself …”. Be that as it may, I was reminded of it overnight as I saw a report in [...]

July 28, 2019 // 0 Comments

Verona Opera

Since the raison d’etre of the trip was opera I have been given my very own post on it. It’s unique among international opera for being in an open arena, not an Opera House. This does create problems as the facilities are poor, especially the loos for which you had to queue and were smelly. The [...]

July 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

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