We enter March and leave in April.
Spring signs a welcome indication of lighter days to come. Crocuses are amongst the earliest to appear in my garden and then a stronger lighter towards the forest:
I have begun a new course of Tai Chi: a form that I have not done before but where many of the individual elements are familiar. My teacher – English name Michael – begins with warm-up and then Qi Cong:
Just been reading a new biography of William Blake:
There are lots of biographies, and still more books which offer various angles on Blake: Jung, Gender, Freud, Political, Qabalah – not to mention my own Gnostic:
This one by Jason Whittaker is a sober and fair account of the life and works of…Of course, almost an impossible task: so little is known about the truth of his life and his works still defy ‘translation’. That being said, the author here clearly loves the man and his art, and his is a fairly accurate picture. It errs on the side of conventionality, and an early danger sign is his enthusiastic appropriation of the first substantive biography of Blake in the 1860s by Gilchrist: much of which is second or third hand accounts – now quoted as ‘truth’ – from individuals who knew people who knew people….a lot of it smacks of mid-Victorian romanticism, sadly. Nevertheless, Whittaker does not get too carried away: but there are many omissions – Bronowsky, Wilson, etc. The accounts of the prophecies are also sketchy in the extreme. Nevertheless, the book is well illustrated and offers a good Introduction to this artist/ poet – with nice graphics to match.
More on the Culture front, ‘Thursday Night is Culture Night’ here at home. Amongst this month’s highlights has been Citizen Kane: Orson Welles’ incredible first film from the 1940s.
This movie was seminal in several regards: the whole concept of time and trans-narrative; and every shot is a study piece in cinematic photography. Of course, it begins with those last enigmatic words of Kane – “Rosebud”. Who was she? What was her significance in Kane’s life? Also, it contains that scene where Bernstein – one of Kane’s editors – tells the story of the girl on the Jersey Ferry. How Ralph McTell utilizes this story in his own song begins my book on him: Parallel Lives: the Biographies of Ralph McTell.
Oddly, Welles’ life went pretty much downhill after this film, indeed, the story it depicts in some ways ‘paralleled’ his own life – paradoxical.
Then, a new translation of Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard:
Very good, of course. However, one of the invisible characters in this play is time itself, and the Chekov world tends to be elegiac. But, the translation here is very modern so the subtlety is somewhat lost. Still, great performance, of course, from Zoe Wannamaker.
Super interesting interview with Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare at the Whitechapel Gallery:
Lots of new produce, so some nice recipes: a cauliflower bake, and then sea bass done Chinese style:
This month also saw the Completion of the Musica en Moviemiento At-A-Distance course:
There were 30 on the list but we were around 20 at the final meeting – the others were guests, instructors, etc. Quite something: at 6 months, probably the longest GC course – ever! I remember doing a Level 4 course over one year where I wrote weekly themes, but that was in conjunction with a residential context. The MeM course was 100% AAD. Quite intense with almost daily small group work and monthly whole-group meetings: guitar, Themes, Morning exercises, Tai Chi, Qi Cong, Feldenkreis, Kitchen Craft, Pranayama, as well as professional support and recording challenges. What now??
Lots of reading this months. Amongst which, two significant accounts of the lying and ineptitude of the current British government and our charlatan Prime Minister. One wonders how it got to this? Actually, we know…..what to do about it is another question as a significant percentage of the voting population have allowed themselves to be duped!!!!
Hey ho! To cheer myself up, I have been saturating myself with West African Kora music:
Then, there is always more spring: