Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Monday, May 30, 2005
A meal to remember, at "The Ivy"
Milton Abbey.. from Benedictine-Monks to PublicSchool-Boys
(Readers and other Patrons are kindly advised to read the blogtext 'Claudius Tiberius Germanicus Britannicus', Thank You.)
Dorset, England at her very best..
Spent some lovely days with the LandMark Couple, in Blackmore Vale, one of the tamed-Nature Arcadias of South East England. ( Have a look at www.dorsetaonb.org.uk ). Drinks one can get pretty much anywhere, good food either. Charming company or engaging friends not as easy, but achievable. Serious intellectual stimulation outside lectures or books (or some plays) is, on the other hand, very rare indeed. OldBoy of the LandMark Couple is one of such few and far between catalysts of some lively, no-punches spared, real intellectual discussion. A sport for wimps would you say? No, Sir. When you rate yourself (immodestly) as owner of rather brilliant grey cells and you discuss with someone you take as your equal on that department, Victory or Defeat in a discussion is as close as it gets to a blood sport.
We discussed the relationship of Humans to Nature, in the fox-hunting debate context; ChelseaFC vs Liverpool, in the framework of hooliganic Britain; ID Cards and Civil Liberties; referendum negatives among Frogs;the Deferential Society still alive in UK, with sneer remarks to the obsolescence of the Monarchic Principle; green-headed wild birds; Women's stubbornness both in its General and in Applied forms; amoral awareness of sexuality in young teenagers and ways to prevent old-bore attitude to reality-shows modern reality.. All that with generous amounts of Pimm's long-drinked with homegrown peppermint..
Part of the Dorset visit was some kind of poetic Advisory Board Inspection of Public Schools. The admirable grounds and buildings of Milton Abbey School in Milton Abbas (photoblogged in a separated blogtext due to technical difficulties) with a schoolboys population described, in feminine contempt, as "Milton Scabies". The precious St.Mary's School in Shaftesbury (whose schoolgirl inhabitants are depicted, by the Milton Scabies, as "The Whores on the Hill" and their school as "The Virgin(s) Megastore"). Some other Preppies I can't remember respective names but endowed with magnificent buildings and grounds nevertheless. ( If the coast of Portugal and Southern Spain is doomed to be the Florida of EU Senior Citizens, will Dorset and Wiltshire become the Secondary School Land of Europe? Some extrapolations on a map of Europia followed on... Where to put Wineland, Delicatessenland, Prisonland, Surgicalinterventionsland, Sexland, Broccoligrowingland, to name a few? I leave to readers' politically incorrect imagination the guesses about our post-sovereignty speculation).
(End of Part One, to use soap-operatic lingo)
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Adopt an otter at www.ottter.org
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Last Sunday was none of the above. Crisp trousers, linen blazer, and twice shirt changing, twice! Flea market morning trip more like Christie’s South Ken Monday afternoon; lunch with garden-formality with the Taj al~Sultana, Lalande de Pomerol, the Moralejian See-Eeh-O, Ruinard, Garbo and the Fischer-Asskicker; elegant dinner-party with the Torino Set (including the Hostess-Architectoress plus some Tías and Tíos).
At lunch the usual Clash of Worldviews: Centre-Right Politics vs. Liberal Centrist School of Economics. Should Emigration be included in the Sex, Religion and Politics triad of Thou-must-not-mentioned-it-at-table? Well, drama-free, non-confrontational meals are boring anyway. Seafood curry was bliss to such a chilli-addicted palate as mine.
At dinner, lots of reverse or paradoxical roles. A Milanese who berates the rojoneo and is very sceptical about added value of horse riding to the Corrida; a Florentine writer who’s straightforward and prefers Wednesdays to go out and liberate himself; a former transalpine HisExcellency who speaks with the courteous charm of Old Spain; against Cervantes, a female Pancho who’s slim and tall; and Parisian Frenchies who mock Paris. Glamorous Sundays and self-deprecating French: is the world upside down?
The skinny-legged smiling Otter was using a “as per our conversation last night” mini-skirt, with “risqué” fishnet stockings. ("Rollo" stuff?..). The fungi porcini married with the pasta in a sublime way . The risotto was up to the challenge thrown in by the perfumed mushroom neighbours at the dinner table. Delicate Palazzo-grade crystal glasses and old-Venetto porcelain contrasted powerfully with white urban furniture and mustard yellow-jacketed camareros. The Architectorezza well deserved an extra paragraph.
I saw it too...
The list of people involved with this book read like the Almanach de Gotha of Palestinian and Egyptian Belles Lettres. Barghouti, the poet, has described the journey back to his pre-67 home; Ahdaf Soueif (of The Map of Love fame) translates; ; Edward Said writes the Foreword (Uncle Edward, R.I.P., was the Anti-Orientalism post-modern New Yorkese Palestinian intellectual fashionista who I once saw picking the right Wasabi and Ginger Dressing from Harvey Nichols' fifth floor shelves); and Naguib Mafouz names the Award the book has collected. Even Mahmoud Darwish, the Poet, is glimpsed on the streets of Ramallah.
If one wants to get a humanist, gentle and tender-sad account of what it means to a "returnee" to return to Palestine this is the book to read. Much better than the usual stuff, better than the (oh so tempting!) tribal self-pity and victimization, better than subtle Jew-bashing disguised as intellectual Anti-Zionism. Much better than Strategic Institutes-centered cold statistical data. Much better than the eternal plea-bargaining both sides have been involved with since it all begun.
(If one has crossed oneself the Allenby Bridge in the Jordan River, separating 'Transjordania' from 'Cisjordania' the images described in the book have undoubtedly an extra spice. As I blog this, I think of Nadja and of her Amman family.)
Friday, May 20, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
(A beautiful photography of Pedraza, a glamorous medieval castillian village, was supposed to be shown here, but I'm having another bout of the recurrent problems with posting pictures)
Thanks to the Honorary Caliph of Moraleja I was introduced last Sunday to two of the most shining jewels of the Castilla crown: Pedraza and the "cordero lechal". We collected a couple of Romanic Churches on the way to the "suckling lamb" (if one translates freely). It included StMary's Church at the Castillo de Buitrago, the Iglesia del Salvador in Sepulveda, Pedraza itself and (my favourite) the small Ermita de Nuestra Señora de las Vegas in the fertile valley (a "vega") on the road to Segovia. H.E. is keeping an analogical photo record of all those churches and the end-product, in just a few years, will surely be quite impressive. The Ghajar Princess, like a modern day Taj al~Saltana, was at her very best guiding and smiling mode.
Pedraza has some traits of the "S.Tropez curse". An exceedingly beautiful place that is spotted by the happy few and then succumbs to its own popularity. With the current obscene fascination with the rich and famous ( translated in the six-digit circulation figures for the voyeuristic press) a town favored and inhabited by celebrities quickly becomes a pilgrimage spot. The discoverers then become bored with sharing their pet-village with the tourist mobs and move on to start it somewhere else, all over again. But it's still a very charming place and outside weekends it must be bliss. (If the honourable reader asks himself what's the role of D. Bernardino in this text, suffice to say that the status of the fortified town of Pedraza had much to do with the fortunes of the Fernandez de Velasco, Condestables of Castilla).
Thursday, May 12, 2005
The most famous illustrator of GC's "Histoire de Ma Vie" at his best..
Literary impulses of a romantic nature are normally post-fact. A morning-after nostalgic remembrance; a still fresh echo of a loss; or the obsessive reconstruction of a narrative which bears an unsatisfactory end. Brodsky said it before, in cruder terms : "All poetry is post-coital".
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
"Reine- Claude", "Melancia", "Oreo" : beware of false appearances...
Queen Claude of France, (first) wife of François Ier
"Claudia" is not a very common name. In recent times I got acquainted to a fellow-blogger, whose blog I thoroughly recommend, "O Mundo de Claudia" at http://claudia.weblog.com.pt But what "claudia" evokes with a strong and pungent whiff of Youth nostalgia are Summers filled with indulgent eating of small greenish prunes, the "reine-claude".
The "Reine-Claude" designation for those Mesopotamia-born prunes points to the role of Queen Claude in making her Royal Gardeners succeed in the acclimatization of the species in France. They are superb fruits but a bit of a paradox. What their surface tells us is different from what lies deep down at the core of the fruit.
Johan De Fre's "Reine Claudes". oil on canvas 5'' x 8''
The Reine-Claude can be entirely green on the outside, pretending to be slightly acid, youngish and immature, when the pulp tells us a different story. Mature, deliciously sweet. The Frogs call it the "Queen Of Prunes", a fruit of the Sun par excéllence, achieving her maturity only at the end of July and allowing herself to be enjoyed for only six short brief weeks. A conundrum fruit, indeed. "Reine-Claude" are all those no longer that young ladies that Nature and good Cosmetics make them look juvenile and "green", while they are in fact perfectly ripe to be tasted.
Another such paradoxical fruit is the "Pastèque", the "Melancia", the huge green mellon who's heart is red. Sometime ago the ecologist militants in my country were called "Melancias" because although nominally "Green" (and members of the Green Party) they were looked upon as Trojan horses from the Communist Party, whim whom they always joined forces to battle on in General Elections. They appear to be Green but their heart was Red, that was the suspicion.
That takes me to the third "beware of illusions" item. Not a fruit but a chocolate, the "Oreo" chocolate. As you might know it is chocolate-brown on the outside but the filling is pure white. One of the worst insults an African-American can throw at another African-American ( at least according to Tom Wolfe's "A Man in Full "). A kind of successor to the "Uncle Tom" insult. An "Oreo" is a Black man that deep inside thinks and acts as a White. A kind of inverted Michael Jackson, when you come to think of it.
Monday, May 09, 2005
After her role in Bertolluci's "Dreamers" it could only get better..
Ms. Green in Sir Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven"
Eva Green's photo is just a shameless ploy to get readers on board. In fact this post is a 'blognews' item.
Sometimes one just has a casual look at somebody's blog, usually strictly limited to the latest post, and that's it, one moves on. I wanted, you see, to inform fastidious readers that since last Friday I've worked on three different blog-themes three. A late-evening party I attended at a trendy club, featuring protected mammals, birds and reptiles; a movie ("Kingdom of Heaven") which involves crusaders and the Holly Land; and a politico-historical date, VE Day sixty years ago, that brings to the fore, once again, the ambiguity of our rapport towards Stalin. For more details keep on scrolling. First station " William C. Bullit", then "Salaheddin Youseff ibn Ayuub" and final stop "Joseph Vissarionovitch Djugashvili". Meet you there.
"Party Animals" Of The Two Kinds
Yuri Lyubimov's "Master and Margarita" at the Taganka Theater, Moscow - Satan's Ball
More quick-brained readers – or, should I say, yet uncorrupted by Alzheimer humiliating side effects - might remember I once referred to the gentleman offering his name to this blog-text. The first US Ambassador to Soviet Russia, mentioned a propos George Kennan’s recent death, was, it seems, a sort of a “Party Animal” (besides beeing a writer and a friend of Freud. "So close to greatness" is the significant title of a recent biography). He loved parties, and during his tenure in Moscow, Spaso House was the stage for many memorable parties. “ Attended not only by high-ranking Soviets and foreigners, but also by animals from the Durova Animal Theatre, which performed in both expected and unexpected ways” (Rebecca Matlock in “Spaso House – A short Story. Residence of the Ambassador of the United States of America”). As a matter of history, in April 1935, Ambassador Bullit threw a “Spring Festival” party that stunned all those who attended. “Countless animals and hundreds of songbirds were on loan from the Moscow Zoo for the evening; the halls were smothered in roses and tulips; there was food in abundance, rivers of cascading champagne, unexpected lighting, dancing from the Caucasus…” . Mikhail Bulgakov was among the admiring guests and as soon as “The Master and Margarita” was published there were claims that the famous satanic ball scene ,“Spring Ball of the Full Moon”, where Margarita was the naked hostess for that night, had been inspired by that memorable party. (Many decades later the current inhabitants of Spaso House, the Vershbows, did organize a commemorative re-make of that “Spring Festival”.)
Why am I telling you all this? Well, a couple of days ago, I went to a party at the snobbiest club in town, its attendance being akin to having arrived to Heaven, both literally (the last floor in the culmination of successive ladders) and socially, and therefore aptly named “El Cielo”. One of the hosts of the so-christened “Jungle King” party contributed to the general merriment by sending from his family finca a number of carefully chosen guests of the Animal Kingdom.
When arriving at that dark clubbing space, with stroboscopic lights flashing and R&B funky-syncopated high decibels, one could see a majestic tiger, on leash with his own PT; a small boa circling the neck of a philosophical zoo guard; and several rapine birds perched on special gauntlets. An enormous cool-looking owl obviously enjoying herself, attesting that Biology made her more used than her friends to nocturnal activities; a regal royal eagle who caused a considerable mayhem each time she decided to deploy her imposing wings; and a nerd-looking falcon who seemed lost for "words". One could also stare at a she-monkey, grimacing in a slightly menacing way to every newcomer and at a green-blue parrot exchanging confidences with a green-blue dressed young lady. There were some farm animals too. A very young, puffy baby-faced smiling girl was carrying a tender-looking goat in her arms. I asked her if the goat had a name. “Yes, of course. She’s Pepa”.
So, glass in hand and all our muscles flexed we engaged ourselves in some serious partying. I patted the tiger on his head; it strangely felt more like touching a dusty bashkir rug than a mammal fur. I smiled back at the ironical monkey. I caressed the snake’s skin in the right way, smooth as a synthetic high-fashion fabric. The rude owl turned her back 180º on me. And, as I was leaving the party, I said nigh night to Pepa.
The Franj and the Saracens, always fighting the last Crusade
Children, I mean, my children for real, do not take "The Kingdom of Heaven" as the last historical word about the fall of Jerusalem in 1187. The battle might be lost for so many who just wait for the "final" consolidated "truth" brought by epic cinema to file that particular historical archive in their personal databanks. But Children, youve been there in the Holy Land, in the Horns of Hittin and in Saladin-walled Jerusalem! You, my daughters, no doubt fantasize about Orlando Bloom but Balian of Ibelin was the Lord of Toron, Oultrejourdain, Nablus and Ramallah, and you have traveled there! (Remember the narguileh your DNA-donor bought in a nice tobacco shop in Ramallah, with an imposing humidor room, not far from Hanan Ashrawi's place?).
I really enjoyed the film, of course. Several reasons and the usual mental links that pop up like junk-advertising on the Net. (I even shared Salzburg seminar discussions with the present day Guy de Lusignan, for goodness sake!). Just as an example, I always felt that there must be a away to resuscitate the grandeur of awesomely beautiful places like the Casa de Pilatos or the Alcazar of Seville. Thanks to Ridley Scott I've found the answer. An epic with this kind of means can bring alive again these unique gems of our architectural heritage. That could almost be reason enough to go and see the movie. But there are the more serious motivations too. The key issue of tolerance, to begin with. (Uncle Ridley wants to make a "dialogue of civilizations" point, and I'm all for that, of course. The whereabouts of extremist Reynauld of Chatillon versus the moderate Jeremy Irons (Sorry, Tiberias. Although it looks to me he's a fictional clone of the real life, Arabic-speaker, leader of the "appeasers", Raymond, Count of Tripolis). A metaphor for the respective fates of the two main Western postures towards Islam. The generosity of Saladin when conquering Jerusalem, refusing himself and his men to tit-for-that the previous century massacre when the Holy City changed to Christian hands.
( As Frederico, a dear friend of mine used to say: "You're a privileged bastard. You can't discuss Sex, Politics and Religion at table but you've lived in the places where those Totems acquire a sense for us all. Lucky fellow! How can one understand Religion without diving in the Middle East shallow waters and breathe Jerusalem? How can one say anything meaningful about Politics if his knowlegde of the Russian Revolution world is not first-hand? A Moscow stay as a passport for understanding what Democracy is all about." I quickly remember him that he forgot Sex. "Sex? Elementary, my dear Watson. Moscow, again, of course." )
The dialectics of theory and praxis are crucial here. So, having been there on the Land and seeing the film is not enough. Some further reading is highly recommended. I went again for the story of Baldwin, Saladine & Co on two books I had at home. Professor Steven Runciman immense and immensely boring "History of the Crusades" and Amin Maalouf's fair attempt at fairness in "The Crusades as seen by the Arabs". (Delicious the way Arab historians referred to Raymond, son of Raymond and from the lineage of the Saint-Gilles, as "Raumundo Ibn Raumundo as-Sanjili ").
The serious point I'm trying to make here is obviously that every effort to understand the Middle East is worth doing. The roots and the core of almost every single serious issue nowadays are there.
I remember how surprised I was when in heard for the first time in a Palestinian mouth the word "Crusader" used as a contemporary insult.
As Maalouf said in 1983, closing that book: " (...) political and religious leaders in the Arab world constantly speak of Saladin, of the fall of Jerusalem and of its re-taking. Israel is assimilated, both in the popular voice and in certain official discourses to a new crusader State. Of the three divisions of the Palestine Liberation Army, one still holds the name of Hittin and another one Ain Jalut. President Nasser, in his times of glory, was regularly compared to Saladin who, as himself, united Syria and Egypt ... and even Yemen! As to the Suez Canal expedition in 1956, it was interpreted, as in 1191, as a Crusade engaged upon by French and English. (...) its obvious that the Arab East continues to see in the West is natural enemy. Against it, any hostile act, being it political, military or "petrol related", is nothing more than legitimate payback. And we cannot doubt that the fracture between those two worlds stem from the crusades, still today seen by the Arabs as a rape.
Children, go and see the movie. Enjoy it. But go further, please.
The (Un)Ambiguous Stalin..
9th May 1945/2005
Sixty years after VE Day we are still walking in muddy political and moral grounds. On TV one can see a Red-starred Great Patriotic War train arriving at a Moscow station carrying Veterans and a poster of Stalin is present. Numerous Russian voices deplore the unbalanced recollection of the war effort by Western historians, being particularly aggravated by the fact that not enough attention is paid to the titanic dimensions of the Red Army exploits in the Eastern Front when compared to the relatively small-scale of the fight in the Western front. (Only the Landing on Normandie manages to get itself in the Top Ten Battles of the War.). Point taken, but the real issue, I think, is somewhere else. What we witness in Russia is a nostalgic philo-soviet commemoration. And it’s sad, really. The expectations were so high, just a few years ago, that the West and East, in European geopolitics, were to be turned into dated, useless concepts. But in the end, as we stand now, Stalin is still a player.
Stalin legitimised, by defeating against terrible odds the German Army, the Soviet power in Russia. All hopes that one day an ordinary Russian could see the Revolution crimes and the misery of post-Revolution life for what it was really like, and draw the necessary conclusions about their murderous leaders, were lost. What “primes” the Russian psyche is Stalin the saviour and Soviet regime as sinner but nevertheless the winner of monstrous fascism.
Whenever things are not that bright in Russia (even with oil at 50 dollars a barrel!) the old and current generations in power assume almost at an unconscious level a “soviet” “cold-warish” “inferiority complex towards the West” arrogant mentality. Even more saddening, the newer generations have not jumped forward, and “Asiatic vs. European” pseudo-explanations for Russian motivations continue to flourish.
A westernizer liberal filo-European Russian writer, Viktor Erofeev, published recently a must-read book called “The Good Stalin” where one can understand just how the myth of Stalin is still relevant in contemporary Russia. I quote from his book “(…) I have grown up and I have understood: the West and the larger part of the Russian intelligentsia have their own Stalin, but numerous millions of Russians have another one. They do not believe in a bad Stalin. They do not believe that Stalin tormented and tortured to death any one. The people have carefully fetched an image of a good Stalin, saviour of Russia and father of a grand nation. My father was side by side with my people. Do not offend Stalin! “
In the end, we are not commemorating exactly the same things, when, in 1945, both democracies and a totalitarian regime defeated Nazi Germany. And that equivoque still persists.
British historian Norman Davies put it beautifully:
“ So historians have a problem. Somehow they must find a way of describing a complicated war in which the combined forces of western democracy and Stalin tyranny triumphed over the Axis. They must give pride of place to the role which the Soviet Union played in the military defeat of Germany, just as the US shouldered the main burden of the war against Japan.
At the same time they must emphasise that Stalin’s triumph had nothing to do with freedom or justice, and that by western standards the overall outcome was only partly satisfactory. It is a tall order. To date, nobody has succeeded.”
Happy 60th Anniversary!
Thursday, May 05, 2005
A Capital for an Iberian Empire? ...
Can't find the bibliography now, neither googling helped me, but I remember one of my former His Excellencies telling me that the Conde-Duque de Olivares, first minister to Filipe IV, was convinced that the price for keeping the unity of Iberian Spain was the designation of Lisbon as its new Capital..
Today, I read in "El Mundo" a column by Raul Del Pozo, titled "Agujero negro" about all the centrifugal critiques harassing Madrid and the Madrileños. ("Black-hole", because Catalans have supposedly described Madrid "as a Black-hole and the siege of the mediatic Right"). There's a paragraph I feel like sharing with readers, but I don't dare a translation. So, non-Castellano-speakers abstain, please.
"(...) Si hay que adelgazar el Estado, ya anoréxico, quitemos la capitalidad y que se vayan con la sardana a otra parte. Madrid fue declarada capital del imperio por una decisión caprichosa y arbitraria de Felipe II. Su padre el emperador le aconsejó que se fuera de Toledo para huir de los canónigos; la corte debió estar en el Guadalquivir donde las gentes se agolpaban en las orillas esperando el oro, o en Barcelona, archivo de la cortesía o en Lisboa, fundada por Ulises, pero no fue así y los nacionalistas piensan que la Puerta del Sol es el centro geográfico de una España inexistente, cerca de un río sin carnes, un esqueleto de cristal. Si Madrid mata, si Madrid es un lugar de pocas palmeras, donde una vez vinieron los franceses pero se olvidaron de traer la guillotina, mejor que nos dejen en paz. (...) "
Madrid at his New-Yorkish best...
Eduardo Laborde's "Vista desde el Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid.2003". Mixed media: photography and oil.
One doesn't know what Uncle Friedrich would make of it but "Nietzsche - Art& Drinks" looks like a winner in the arty-drinking scene of the Ciudad. A masterful concept in the progressive intertwining of the two most fashionable activities in self-conscious European trend-setter Capitals, attending an Art Gallery's vernissage, that is, and enjoying a stand-up drink. As the locals put it: "combinar uma galeria de arte con bar de copas". This time works by Lalo were on show (http://www.eduardolaborde.com/ )
The Garden Biker kept introducing me to new faces and one's near-Alzheymer shortcomings with name recalling got very acute in the end. Names like Emma and Hortensia, I do remember though, so deliciously non-Nitzschean...
At some point, a young Consultant (name neither saved, nor backed-up, sorry) engaged one with the concept of "organic job". Like a broccoli or a raspberry well worth deserving a certificate and special fiscal protection by the State. What could be taken as a ecologically-correct, certifiable, "organic job"? A job where the proximity of a tender sea breeze would replace air-conditioning; a job where working hours would feel like organized idleness; a job where every bureaucratic scribbling would be done in recycled paper; where the right to siesta would be added to the European Constitution; where the coffee & sandwiches tray at mid-morning pauses would be replaced by guahavaca and passion fruit juices; where all work stations would have magnificent views... "Organic Job" quickly turned into a new Utopia ...
The mastiff gets the spot light...
Ms. Casas Ocampo, my newly discovered member of the 'Post-Las Meninas Painters Society' is exhibiting her latest paintings in Galeria Paz Feliz, just two blocks away from the door of the building where I live.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
In the morning newspaper a journalist, rather a columnist, makes a reference to how the satirical XIX century writer Manuel del Palacio described an orgy. Can't help to share it with you:
" Tanto les deleitó la putería /
que pasaban jodiendo todo el día."
Diplomatic farewells or "Pour Prendre Congé"...
Haven’t read him but it seems he was the New Great Russian Writer
When dinner engagements half-slice a long-weekend what should you do? Risk anyway the engorged autopistas? Or, rather more sensibly, dive into the backlog of books to read? I choose the latter. Quite productive long weekend on that sense, I must say. A fully russky interlude. Nina Berberova’s “Alexandre Blok Et Son Temps” (it looks he never did it to his love-object of eight hundred (!) poems eight hundred, even though he married the Muse of his “To a Beatiful Lady”…); Andreï Makine’s “La Femme Qui Attendait” (about the myth/gold standard of the “Absolute Faithfulness” in a woman..) and “Loin de Byzance”, collected essays by Joseph Brodsky (a must read if you like “Piter” (St. Petersbourg) and what that liquid, classical palace waterfronts have done to Russian poetry and to Ms. Akhmatova, in particular). These essays deserve a full blogtext but I’ll stick to just one point. Brodsky says that the only true successor of Doestoevsky in terms of greatness is Andreï Platonov, whom, I must confess, I’ve never read a line of.
So, let’s do some amazonedotcoming, and get to Platonov. What are we waiting for?
End game of a difficult collector's deal?
Goliath, the Rastro antiquarian some of my dubitative readers might remember from a previous post ( on Albertus Seba, March the 3rd) came to my flat in the Barrio de Salamanca area for a kind of final discussion on whether the deal would go on or not.
One of the points of contention, the Vampire-bat, was overcome quite easily, I rush to inform everybody out there. He looks glorious in his flying mode.
Unfortunately I cannot say the same about the Chameleon. Goliath says he has a personal interest, linked to a private detail in his life, in the colour-changing reptile (now in the un-changeable grey-bluish tone of every biological object immersed in formaldehyde for more than a century). Pity...
But there's more. The Armadillo too won't be included in the items for sale . How can I persuade this greedy collector not to keep the best stuff for himself?
There's more in life than possessing a stuffed armadillo or a formol-fixed chameleon, you say? Well, each blogger has his own idiosyncrasies. And remember, always protect diversity, even in the blogging world.