Tuesday, January 18, 2022

1922 and All That

I kinda sorta follow the other Tom Holland since I read his book Dominion. This podcast, The Rest is History, that he does with  Dominic Sandbrook is all over the 1922: Year of Destiny meme as well. Never activated a neuron with me in all of my life before yesterday.

Monday, January 17, 2022

1922: The Birth of Now

Like all right thinking people, Ben and I listen to Radio 4 when we are in the car on a longish road trip (there only being so much Showaddywaddy a man can take).  As we were driving back from West Dean yesterday there was an episode of Open Book about Ulysses, by James Joyce, which was first published in full a hundred years ago.

Apparently there is a school of thought that suggests 1922 was an artistic annus mirabilis; the year that changed everything. After the Joyce show there was a plug for 1922: The Birth of Now: Matthew Sweet investigates objects and events from 1922, the crucial year for modernism, that have an impact today.

Crikey! Kicks off next Monday and runs five days a week for a fortnight at a quarter to two in the afternoon.

  1. The Shabolovka Tower and the Gherkin
  2. The Criterion, which published The Waste Land
  3. The True Story of Ah Q, by Lu Xun
  4. Bertolt Brecht's play Drums in the Night
  5. Louis Armstrong leaves New Orleans for Chicago
  6. The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, and Egyptomania
  7. Nosferatu and Modernist Horror
  8. Hōshō, the First Aircraft Carrier, and HMS Queen Elizabeth 11
  9. Pirandello's Henry IV and the Idea of Truth
  10. Einstein, relativity, time, and indigenous Australian modernism

One cannot help but admire the chutzpah; each episode being a mere quarter of an hour long.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Up the stairs and turn left

Ben and I will be leaving West Dean today when his "Sacred Geometry" short course finishes. We have been staying in room 52.There is a virtual tour of the Front Entry, Oak Hall and Tapestry Corridor at https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=yJS1tQXy6VL. If you follow it up the main stairs, turn left and follow the Tapestry Corridor down to the last door on the right you will be on the route to where we have been put up; not too shabby.

|I took a photo of one of the hangings in the Tapestry Corridor, because it put my in mind of the Arabian Nights which I am still reading at the rate of one story a day.


It depicts a scene form Torquato Tasso's epic poem "Jerusalem delivered (1557), which tells of the First Crusade in 1099 and was produced in 1736 in Rome by Pietro Ferloni. Godfrey of Bouloigne, the figure in the blue cloak with plumed helmet and gold tunic, is depicted in the final duel in which he slew the commander of the Arab army and won Jerusalem for the Christian army.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

It's all related

As a birthday present, John my brother has got us a pair of Sat Mat tickets for The Seagull, at the Harold Pinter Theatre on July 9th.

Let's take The Seagull for a walk. I remember seeing Peter Hall's production at the Old Vic in 1997. It starred Felicity Kendall as Madame Arkadina.

My niece Mia, John's daughter, is in her second year at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She played Madame Arkadina for her assessment (my italics as I don't know exactly what that word means in that context). Act 3 with Trigorin as I recall.

The last time I went to the theatre with Mia we caught "Anything Goes" at the Barbican. Peter Gill couldn't make it, so I gave Saskia his ticket.

Adrian Noble directed a translation on The Seagull that the RSC commissioned from Peter in 2000.

Felicity Kendall was in "Anything Goes" coming up for a quarter of a century, after I saw her in The Seagull.

"Round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows."

Friday, January 14, 2022

Pit Chat?

I remember us launching the Royal Family's twitter account. The details on it say, 'Joined April 2009.' I would never have guessed it was that long ago. We certainly were't anticipating tweets like the one above in those halcyon days.

When we started it I persuaded them not to follow anyone. Today I see that they are following 459 including https://twitter.com/Oprah and https://twitter.com/pitchatpalace. May I suggest that is a list that needs more active pruning, ma'am?

Thursday, January 13, 2022

One a Month in the Bank

 I could be accused of playing fast and loose with booking one gig or show per month well in advance, but them's the breaks. We've got Ava: The Secret Conversations tickets but due to scheduling coordination and conflicts the seats are booked for March 31st rather than April, the month to which I , with BoJo levels of hubris, intend to assign them.

I haven't paid out yet but Harris & Baker's Backstage Pass at the Wimbledon Theatre on Sunday 1st looks like getting the nod for May.

June - as you already know - is To Kill a Mockingbird.

John's going to get a Sat Mat for The Seagull  at the Harold Pinter. My birthday is in June but he is aiming for August, June and July being all but sold out. I imagine that his because Emilia Clarke is in it. It was due to be staged a year or so ago but got Covid cancelled, I guess a lot of early tickets probably went straight out to people who paid for the earlier run.

What will I see in July though? I am haunted by the gaping hole in my schedule. Worrying about it in January though I suggest confirms the worth of the one-a-month discipline.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Show and tell

The details of the photo on the right, charming as it is, are inconsequential in this context. What stands out to me is an Echo Show next to the phone behind Aunt Philo and her first great grandson Ted.

It is coming up for three years (see Icons passim) since I speculated about getting one for my mum. I also noticed on a house visit that my old school friend Sean's mother has got one as well.

Here is what Philo's daughter - my cousin - said when I asked her about it.

It is an Echo Show, well spotted. We got Ma one during lockdown so that we could see as well as speak to her, Kate was in her bubble but the rest of us only had phone contact. This way, Vanny, Georgia and I could at least have daily face time without her having to do anything apart from instruct the echo to answer our calls. She now rings us too and gets weather and news updates and plays all her favourite old timers too.

Lily in Ty Enfys (who I respect enormously) is unconvinced by Alexa and older people and I take that on board but I wonder if Ria's slow burn might work for us. What if I get mum a show that is used initially as nothing more than a rotating photo album? After a month or two we could show her how she could listen to her favourite music on it. Later we could start "dropping in " on her and saying hello.

The jury is still out but it is not impossible.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

White Truffle

PG gave me this White Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil on Sunday.

I got the impression that perhaps someone had given him a gift pack of posh oil and vinegar bottles for Christmas, and that - while he was comfortable with the others - he couldn't quite work out what to do with this one.

I've had a look in the larder, so I think tonight I am going to drizzle it into a sweetcorn chowder served up with an Italian meatball panini. Tomorrow it will be used to season a mushroom risotto.

After that I should know if I like it or not. Here is a link to its home page for the likely future date when I have finished it and thrown out the empty bottle only to realise I can't live without it and have forgotten the brand.

Monday, January 10, 2022

When The Whip Comes Down (Live)

Here's Callum's FA Cup goal from Saturday. I thought it was worth embedding as the tweet seems to be from the legitimate official Emirates FA Cup account to it is unlikely to disappear.

As I type it has struck me, now .the African Cup of Nations is on, that nothing came of the rumours he might give up England for. Ghana.  IF he was going to make the move surely he would have done it for this event. Then again, what do I know?

Sunday, January 09, 2022

33 Love Lane

 There is a free advanced search on the 1921 census digital version hosted by Find My Past at 1921 Census of England & Wales | findmypast.co.uk

As I know my great grandparents lived in Love Lane in Cardiff I have been able to search it by surname and street-name.

Here is the 33 Love Lane household.

  • Catherine Browne born 1896 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • Ellen Browne born 1862 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • Margaret Mary Browne born 1901 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • Stephen Browne born 1900 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • William Browne born 1917 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • William Ida Browne born 1898 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales

Ellen (née McDonnel) is my great grandmother. Margaret Mary is PG's mother and little visiting three year old William Browne was his godfather.

I remember Dad lived in Adam Street.

  • Honora Browne born 1899 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • James Browne born 1890 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales
  • Mary Browne 1921 Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales

My grandmother, grandfather and aunt; Mary was the only one I ever met, the grandparents having died before I was born.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

T EFFLuent

 I was rather surprised to find yesterday when I went through my diary that I am going to a theatre four times in the next four weeks.

It gave me enough of a jolt finally to get round to applying for my 60+ London Oyster photocard so I can get in and out of the West End free of an evening.

The confirmation email says:

Your photo will be checked and approved if it meets our guidelines. Your photocard will be delivered within 5-7 days.

If your photo doesn't meet our guidelines we can't approve it. We'll email and ask you to upload a new photo

I hope the guidelines don't exclude jowly grumpiness

Friday, January 07, 2022

Words and Music

 I got a message from John yesterday saying he will be driving up early in the morning on the 15th with Lorraine, Jasmine, Emily and Sophie. Mia will already be in London as she is coming back to Central this weekend, though I won't be as I am staying at West Dean with Ben.

They are going to see a couple of matinees, Dear Evan Hansen on Saturday and Hamilton on Sunday, before driving back again. I like to get out to a gig or a show at least once a month, and this reminded me that what with Omicrom cancellations and my own self isolation I didn't see anything in December. Looking through my diary though I can see that there is quite a lot in the pipeline, much of which had slipped my mind, so here is a list as an aide-mémoire.

13 Jan Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story at the Jermyn Street Theatre.  (My cousin's boy Bart is in it.)

20 Jan DakhaBrakha at the Barbican ("Ukrainian folk music with an air of theatricality." I had completely forgotten about this. Note to self: travel route will take thought because of closures on the City branch of the Northern Line.)

27 Jan A Number at the Old Vic (Paapa on stage for the first time in a while. Helen may not be able to make it as Mat is due to be away skiing. If that happens I will give Bethany her ticket.

5 Feb  Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical (loads of us going mob-handed)

10 March Ego Ella May at Lafalyette (Ms May was known as small oat cappuccino at Coffee in the Wood)

19 March John is up for a To Kill A Mockingbird matinée (I could get a ticket for something else in Shaftsbury Avenue at the same time and meet them before and afterwards.)

20 June my tickets for To Kill A Mockingbird. What about April and May? I hear you cry. Some sort of combination of Jerusalem, Ava at the Riverside, and The Corn Is Green at the National is my best guess. Maybe try and book Jeruslem first as tickets are likely to be scarce for a limited run and work around that,

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Twelfth Night

 When Ben calls in on the way home from work, he generally gets to the 'Wood at about five, so we have taken to meeting in the Standard opposite the tube station rather than having to coordinate whether he should come to the office or the house, or what do do if I am in transit between them. It is also close to both Corleone and the Istanbul Meze Mangal for an early dinner as they both open at five making them handy.

Today is Twelfth Night if you are a Catholic. It was yesterday for Anglicans.  Christmas decorations come down, so I pointed my phone's camera to preserve what we all refer to as the Standard's "Nazi Santas"

Goose Stepping Santas

Heil Hitler Santa

I realise that the resemblance is accidental, and I am displaying poor taste, but I can't help but laugh every time I see them again for a couple of weeks each side of the turn of the year.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Do you have any apples in that basket?

When I was talking to John the evening before last he said he had been out for a drive along the coast. This is very un-Browne like, the cabin fever must really be biting. Like me he listens to Radio 4 a lot in the car, so he recommended two shows her heard on the trip to me: the Food Programme: #FoodTok: Mastering the Art of Cooking in Three Minutes and a Faith in Music episode about Ralph Vaughan Williams.

I haven't listened to either yet, but I did put Williams on Spotify when I was working yesterday: plangent, introspective, numinous stuff. It did me the power of good. Intrigued I looked him up on Wikipedia which told me that when he was at Trinity College Cambridge, he became friendly with the philosophers G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell. This struck a chord as I am also working through Frances Wilson's "Burning Man: The Ascent of D H Lawrence" and learned in that of Lawrence being invited for dinner at High Table at Trinity College, Cambridge by Bertrand Russell. He sat between Russell and Moore as I recall. (Also, during a visit to the rooms of John Maynard Keynes, Lawrence became aware of the economist’s homosexuality and was horrified.)

The Bloomsbury Group, Freeman Dyson, Ernest Rutherford, Wittgenstein etc. the list of people who went through Trinity between, say, the late 19th and mid 20th century and must in general largely must have been acquainted with each other is astonishing. Someone should write some sort of accessible social and intellectual history of it. (It someone already has and I am just unaware of it I apologise.)

Icons Passim: Beyond the Fringe.