Chris has bought me the Times Bridge; more comprehensive than the one I had previously on the old hard drive that crashed. I think that one was going a bit doolally anyway. N/S would take a trick and it would be credited to E/W or vice versa and now and again it seemed to get confused when scoring.
Every now and again we get from our friend Ray Peters in London an envelope of press cuttings he thinks will be of interest: items mainly about various people in the art world, what’s happening in London, etcetera. One cutting is headed “Security staff brought in to tame wild West End audiences.” 18th and 19th century theatre audiences might have been boisterous enough but I doubt very much if this happened - “ The cast of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music were stunned to see one man walk over to the side of the stage and relieve himself.” A short while back there was a newspaper photograph of a young student pissing against a war memorial. Is this yet another small indication of the way England has gone in the past few years? At least he was pissing in the open air but in an enclosed theatre in full view of cast and audience? It seems to me that respect including self-respect is no longer to be bothered with.
Some time back we went to the Caravaggio exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens. Well, it was billed as the Caravaggio exhibition but there were only half a dozen paintings by him and others by contemporaries. I am reminded of it because in one of the Sunday Times culture sections there is a revue of the book containing the complete paintings illustrated by a repro of the Victorious Cupid. What was absolutely ravishing and astonishing in viewing the original paintings was the way Caravaggio played light on human flesh and it shows to a certain extent in the Cupid. The book is priced at £100.
One could spend a small fortune on books, for example looking at reviews here are just a few samples: The Three Emperors £25. The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi by Andrew Stott £20. The Greatest Show On earth, Richard Dawkins £25. The Secret Life of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings £25. Mad World by Paula Byrne, Evelyn Waugh Secrets of Brideshead £25. Bad Husbands And Toxic Wives £25. Diaghilev - A life £25. Trotsky – A biography by Robert Service £25. And a couple of cheapies, Uncommon Arrangements by Katie Roiphe £9.95 and a book on Henry Irving and Ellen Terry similar price – there you have it. If I had it I would just have spent nearly £300. I haven’t mentioned Sonia Tolstoy’s diaries at £25 which has been bought.
Apropos my mentioning bad behaviour in the theatre, I see in his new novel Sebastian Faulks says “Stupidity and bad behaviour have been a feature of every society.” True but need one put up with it or forgive it?