Thursday 29 February 2024

Absolutely glorious... and if I'm too low-brow to meet the Guardian's high standards (another snotty review here) I truly couldn't care less. That fabulous dress - the warmth of the evening - the scent of oleander (does oleander smell? I haven't a clue) - the light shimmering on the sea - the faintly perspiring slumber of a lady who 'merely glows' ... oh, give me Flaming June over Angelica Kauffman any day. (I found the RA's Angelica Kauffman exhibition rather too worthy ... I can respect her as a woman thriving in a man's world, but her paintings spark nothing in me at all.) And what a back-story to Flaming June! Disappeared in the 1930s - rediscovered behind a false wall during building work in 1962 and separated from its frame which was considered to be more valuable than the painting - discovered again in a London antique shop by the young Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose granny refused to lend him £50 to buy 'Victorian junk'- and finally ending up in a museum in Puerto Rico. Currently on loan to the Royal Academy. (And free to get in. Unlike the worthy but ever so slightly dull Angelica Kauffman.)

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Just booked my ticket. I'm really looking forward to seeing this. A nice, old-fashioned play.

Saturday 3 February 2024

This was fascinating and heart-breaking - the true story of a prosperous Jewish family in Vienna, written by their son. It's quite slow-moving and gives such a vivid picture of ordinary life through the 1930s, the meals, the holidays, the visits from relatives, a 17-year-old's first ball only days before the Anschluss, a tea-dance in Berlin even as other Jews were being rounded-up on the streets. Burying heads in the sand because it will all blow over, the procrastination, the bad decisions, then - incredibly - after escaping to neutral Ireland the return to Paris where it still seemed possible that life might be ... normal. And reading it you realise that you'd have been exactly the same, frozen by indecision, incapable of action, sweating the small stuff because the unthinkable is exactly that - unthinkable.