Two Halves Make

Two Halves Make

Creative people  are restless. That makes them great lovers but hopeless long term partners. So its no surprise that many of our greatest artists have more than one partner,many have had relationships that end in tears but many have great affairs which produce amazing works of art. No more so in the great inter war years when the surreal became king and the king reading his script. abdicated.

All a  way of introducing “ Modern Couples-Art Intimacy and the Avant Guarde” the art show at the Barbican. Forty six stories of couples who made art,love,fireworks and headlines. Some you know like Leonard and Virginia Woolf and she again with Vita Sackville West. Some not so well known like Lorca and Dali, some you have never heard of like the stepsisters Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.Those last two were so dyke that they changed their names!

Lee Miller is a Vogue cover  girl. She turns up in Paris and tells Man Ray she is joining him on a trip to Biarritz. She became his lover and student. Soon she is as good a photographer as her lover. She shows him  how to turn his photos into immortal art. She leaves him. Becomes a star in her own right but few remember her contribution to  Man Ray’s output. Colette was not the only star to have her work and reputation stolen.This is the way it goes.

The story of Gabriele Münter delivers a warning to creative women: get too close to a talented man and his craving for glory will blot you out. Münter was Wassily Kandinsky’s partner on the front lines of the avant-garde, and at times their paintings can hardly be told apart. But she was pegged early on as his student and lover, rather than his peer. After their relationship ended he went on to worldwide renown, and she stopped painting for almost a decade. “In the eyes of many, I was only an unnecessary side-dish to Kandinsky,” she recalled. “It is all too easily forgotten that a woman can be a creative artist with a real, original talent of her own.

Sure there are the great Russian partnerships that last the decades. And the ones  you know like Frida and Diego-her dad called their marriage a union between a dove and an elephant. But what art ,what a story. Thats what they all have ,a story and some. These are not boy meets girl, boy meets boy, girl meets girl stories but events where someone lights a fuse and neither  steps back.

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Game Over

Game Over


As tennis star Andy Murray tearfully showed for some retirement is not easy. Which is one of the currents in the movie ,Stan and Ollie about the last  days of Laurel and Hardy. In the movie the fat man says it all when he says, “what else can we do?”. Not accepting that there are those that are,younger better fitter is what “rage against the  dying of the light” is all about.

AS we live  longer and longer so more and more have to ask this question. I know some who look on retirement as early death,the identity and status they have through paid work being taken away, they feel they have been castrated. Others feel liberated from wage slavery,at last they can express themselves get on with what really interests them.

Some of course show that work has brainwashed them and they have nothing that really interests them and spend ten or more years walking the dog and planning trips to Sainsburys.

Many self employed white collar workers stretch it out, they never stop, five articles a week become three become two become the occasional. Others get involved with other businesses. For all it is a time of life like youth and middle age which is both inevitable and full of possibility.

Whatever way, having earned millions doing something pleasurable like playing tennis most do not break down in tears. Tears which show that Murray knows he will no longer be the centre of attention,the centre of his universe. If so the tears of a child. Or tears which maybe show that he is a new man and can show his emotion. We have enough stiff lipped commentators, bring on lachrymose Murray.

And so back to Stan and Ollie. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the critics. George loved them, he had a statue of the pair on his mantlepiece. One thing the film did show is that great friendships, and this was one, rely on much ,as in any marriage,being unsaid. No one can be crueller and more devastating than an initimate.And so it was with Stan and Ollie but they made it up. Ollie dies soon after the farewell tour and Stan pathetically spends the next eight years writing sketches for his dead mate.


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The Windhover

The Windhover

As the world got ready to storm the Houses of Parliament, lynch one in ten MPs and generally have a sulk I took to the South Downs.

Cold with the sun breaking through. Good move. Half an hour out of Amberley and on my way to Worthing(where Oliver Hardy had his heart attack!) I see the sun on the sea. Biblical, any moment one expects the Word to come through. And it will be Good. Such a day, even the wind farms out in the Channel look graceful and enchanted. But better, two kestrels. How they twitch, nervous as thoroughbreds, how they hover, red in tooth and claw.

“High there,how he  rung on the rein of a wimpling wing In his ecstasy,then off, off forth on a swing,”

Gerald Manly Hopkins despised his father a loss adjuster, was  nicknamed “Skin” at Highgate and spent a life as a suppressed  homosexual while beating himself up as a Jesuit. But the Windhover and Pied Beauty have been in my top ten poems ever since A level English.

But better I found that Hopkins spent many years at Manresa House the Jesuit College in nearby Roehampton. There  arduous  discipline including self beating was the norm. All in Latin. So much so that once some novitiates on their way  back from Jesuit HQ in Mayfair missed their stop at Putney Bridge. From the top deck of a  number 14(?)a cry went up ,“Siste  paulisper,velim descendere.(Stop for a moment, I wish to descend). There is no report of the conductor’s reply. It may have been “You what.”

And so the Downs stretched on,cold  and bare,a few  beef cattle  some sheep and almost no other walkers. Far away from the madding crowd, the bird,”sweeps smooth on bow bend:the hurl and gliding”. And the walker red in cheek and warm of heart breathes deep and sweet.

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All About This and Twat

All About This and Twat

FDR had a mistress as did Ike, Kennedy got headaches unless he had extra marital regularly, LBJ knew how to abuse power, Clinton lied about it and so did his wife,Trump paid the ladies loads of cash to keep stum. So while the vestal  virgins of Hollywood get excited about this and twat their sisters in Washington know all about the inside leg to a man’s heart.

Which is the background to the movie Front Runner. Mixed reviews , but I  enjoy any story which involves the press. Here Gary Hart is the front runner in the 1988 election. The old argument, is it a matter of public interest or are the public just interested .The press  get hold of his  dalliance, he stumbles, he falls. Basically he handles it all wrong.

His attractive wife is separated and seems relatively relaxed about this and twat. The girl Donna is no out and out bimbo. So he could have come out as the modern man whose marriage is big enough to handle what is commonplace.  And the people would have shrugged,for  Petes sake ,even Ireland, holy Erin has a gay PM. After all, Clinton and   Trump  even with sex outside marriage being their special subject  got elected.

Ethics as the lady said is a county east of London.and  morals are at best something that are painted on walls. Hart wont answer the questions. Is he refusing to answer the question out of guilt or arrogance,or both? Which just increases the press frenzy. Once again its not the act but how the man handles it which is his undoing So Hart plays the Coriolanus part,the elitist,who wont let the people and the populist press change his life. And if that means he falls on his sword, so be it.

The real twist in the film comes at the end when it is stated that  he is still married to his long suffering wife. If he had got up and said, we have an understanding ,he would  have been elected and we may never heard of the Bush dynasty,the invasion of Iraq and all the consequences that have  made the world a worse place ever since. Thank you Donna,one night of fun and the world is fucked forever.

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Two Go On Holiday?

Two Go On Holiday?

Where to go on holiday? The tired dad asked his quarrelsome kids.They had travelled all over. States, India, Australia, Italy, France,Spain. But where to go was always a source of argument. It got more and more vicious. No more arguments dad decided.This year its going to be different, We will make up our mind and that will be that. So how to  decide? Toss  of a coin, cut the pack,stone and paper-winner decides. Yes, yes, the winner decides, both the children cried.

They tossed a coin.States,Australia,India won. Europe lost.The child who wanted Europe was pissed  off,she had learnt languages,she had several pen friends,she loved art galleries. Her brother wasn’t much into classic culture but loved big cities and bigger countries.

So that was that. But sister said I will have to write to all my friends and tell them  we are not coming this year. After a few months he said,well hows it going we have to start making plans for the   holiday. Tell her, dad, to hurry up. You lost fair and square so forget about Umbria this year. He started to scream.

Why should I,I love Umbria,we all do. Her brother rolled  his eyes,see what I mean dad,she is never reasonable. Alright she said why don’t we toss again? And make it the best of three he snorted. Why not? Because we agreed said dad.

Well it just not fair. Anyway I have lost my suitcase so  we cant go anywhere. I’ll buy you another one said the boy. No I want my special case she cried.

That year they didn’t go on holiday. Both the children cried unfair and dad just shook his head. The idea had been to stop the arguments and be more of a family. Oh dear

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Easy Job

Easy Job

I am one of those people that admit they have had it easy. Journalism? Oh come on, as a freelancer I had always earned enough by lunch. Sometimes I got greedy and earned more. House prices? I woke up every day for 40 years a few hundred pounds richer. I have never  earned as much as my house, I have downsized and cashed in. Inheritance ? My parents lived in a big house in London ,they had a lot to leave. Hard work, don’t make me laugh.

But if you want an  easy job  how about reporting on a stabbing. These you don’t have to research.

Colour of victim or killer

Whether there is a father involved

Whether the  single “mum” moved to get him away from bad influences

Whether because of what he was   doing  and how he was killed , the crime was drug gang related

Whether he  was a lovely kid and  promising at football/boxing/rap music

Whether the mayor has offered prayers and thoughts

Whether the police have asked for witnesses

Whether any have come forward

Whether an “eye witness” source on the story will give his/her name

Whether the Evening Standard attacks the mayor for not doing enough

Whether to police are going to carry out more patrols

Whether “locals” say drug dealing has in their area  been going on for some time

Whether a BAME MP will go on TV and say enough is enough

Whether local Mums will form a “No More Knife Crime” group

Whether the Glasgow experience will be quoted


Check out  a “friendly” version of this week’s  stabbing of 14 year old Jayden Moody,seen on Facebook flaunting £50 notes, knocked off his unmarked moped(!) by a (another)gang in a Mercedes,stabbed seven time to death in Leyton. See how his friends confirm all whitey’s prejudice.

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Two Women

Two Women

At the moment Britain is riven,North v South, young v old,educated v less educated,  metropolitan v provincial, nativist v cosmopolitan etc. All made headlines by Leave v Remain.

But it was  always so. One woman a product of the upper middle classes,cosmopolitan wealth and the upper reaches of the Raj. She sails through school and Oxford and reaches the upper levels of the Labour Party. For her  culture,travel and high thinking are second nature.

The other woman the very Yorkshire product of hard working urban doctors. No silver spoon there,just hard graft and professional reward. For her there is a suspicion of everything without a Puritan,family based  motive.

When our first woman leaves her husband the second woman ,meets him,and although much younger falls in love. So much so that she ditches her medical studies for a family and part of her  love for her new husband is  her hatred of his first wife,”who had done him wrong”. And “ditched” her children to follow a “selfish” career.

The first woman in her elitist way never got the feud, couldn’t understand why any one would dislike her. The second had a visceral need for it. Both as today from different tribes who find it easier to be suspicious of each other and shout,rather than be  sympathetic and understanding,How silly,how human,how sad.

They were of course my mother and step mother. Only one RIPs the other never found peace. Still today their tribes are at war.

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