Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Guess Who's Back

... perhaps not entirely surprisingly, it's me! 2013 thus far hasn't been entirely successful. My 'dry January' lasted for about six days. My attempts to not spend too much money have been disastrous. And my diet... well, I had a Macdonalds for lunch today. Because, incidentally, I had a hangover. BUT there is hope. I have been doing some lovely, cultural things, too. Hence the picture of the culture vulture above (which comes from The Cherwell). The highlight so far has been seeing the wonderful Don Paterson in conversation with Adam Philips at Lutyens and Rubinstein bookshop. I used to work there, and still feel at my absolute happiest when I go back. Some of my favourite books - The Enchanted April, The Constant Nymph, all of Barbara Pym, Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil - came from recommendations from the girls who work there. When I started, I was halfway through Anna Karenina. When I left, six months later, I hadn't read a page further. They taught me things about reading that I couldn't live without. Ok, panegyric over. L&R run events with illustrious poets and the shrink Adam Philips. They sit at the front like any old talk, but it seems as though the poet is on the psychoanalyst's couch, so searching and personal are Adam's questions. I can't recommend them highly enough - I always come away feeling edified and enlightened. Then I went to a talk at the British Museum, intriguingly entitled 'Alexander the Great: Cross-Dressing Conquerer of the World?' (Turns out, not so much). I am entirely ignorant about Alexandrian history - or was - so it was great to learn about it. Even if all the girls at the fashion magazine where I work couldn't quite believe that I was spending my Friday night in such a square way. A Fred Sandback show at the David Zwirner gallery was, franky, awful. Pointless, soulless, showy and just stupid. The Manet show at the Royal Academy didn't hit the spot, either. I'm just going to come out and say it: Manet's no good. He's a sub-par painter with poor execution, mawkish tendencies and a sentimental outlook. He's also wildy derivative. Is he trying to be Singer Sargent? Corot? Rubens? In the end, he's a poor man's Renoir. And I don't even like Renoir. Tonight I'm going to something at the LRB about the fine line between madness and genius, and tomorrow is the press view for the Man Ray show. That's all folks. Stay posted. I pinky promise it won't be so long next time.