Into the New Year in January – never entered one with so much trepidation. It feels like the end of what my generation worked for: community, multiculturalism, tolerance, a fairer society. Now, the gloves seem to be off. Anything could happen.
One of the things that I noticed in 2016 was how social media came into its own. For the Brexit and US elections it was the only place to me. Conventional newspapers struggled to keep up – even their on-line versions. Of course, Face book means that no only is everyone publishable, they are published. The attitude seems to be any opinion is as good as any other. In this way, everything is levelled down.
It was also the year when I first felt the reality of ‘post-truth’ and ‘post-fact’. I would say that we have spoken about ‘postmodernism’ for years and now it has arrived, but postmodernism seems quite benign to what we have now.
Early on in January, I went to Paris for a social event. Also, took in the new art centre at the Jardin d’Acclimatation near La Defense. Loved the audacious architecture: France always manages to introduce modern buildings amongst traditional ones in a way that works – unlike in Britain.
I thought the Impressionist painting would be a bit boring but far from the case – real crème de la crème stuff based on a single collector’s collection.
The grey wintry weather followed me there though. As it did to Trondheim in Norway.
Don’t think I have ever been that far north before. I am told it is bright with the snow but it had all disappeared when I was there. Issues of light here: it struggles to get light by about 10.00 in the morning and is closing in again by early afternoon. A very ‘quiet’ country – outside at least. I took in a trip to a friend’s farm on a fiord: rather beautiful vistas and ait that is so clear. The world certainly looks different when you are on top of Europe. Rather lovely wooden houses – the keep them lit during the day with candles, etc. Very atmospheric.
Working on a book chapter on reflexivity. Apparently, my Bourdieu Key Concepts book is being translated into Portuguese – cool. Also preparing for the second edition of the Parallel Lives book, as well as the Satsang and Guitar Craft books.
More material on the surrealist painter Ithell Colquhoun, who I am continuing to research. Read the new editions of her books on Cornwall and Ireland from the 1950s – with intros. By comedian/ writer Stewart Lee. Good that these have been reprinted since with renewed interest they are both selling at high three figure prices. Preferred the Cornish to the Irish one, but as it seems lighter – but then, I know each of the places she writes of.
Nice little film about her here: