Tuesday, 7 January 2014

'Details' and a day when an umbrella is essential

"Why pile up a jumble of 'details'? When you start really imagining something you have to forget the details anyhow, they just get in the way. Art isn't the reproduction of details of oddments out of life."  The Black Prince/Iris Murdoch
Large atlas of Bible Lands on the table in the library: the tribes of Israel. Judah. Ancient delineations.
A discussion about the wall at St James's. "Apathy creates walls. Was that the message?"

People are translating the Old Testament by the fire, tentatively reading from the Greek. "I always thought that Christ came from a poor background."

Earlier: The Adoration of the Kings (Jan Gossaert) is impossibly bright and pristine. Stop to look at it in the National Gallery during my lunch half hour.

The pest control man visiting the office in the morning says that he collected 50 dead rats in total this week from the University of Westminster on Regent's Street, just down from Portland Place. "Some get caught in the traps.... but you never find them... you see a leg, or a piece of fur. Because once they're trapped, the other rats eat them alive."

It is a wet, cold day. Forget an umbrella at your peril. The tubes are crowded even quite late. An aura of bad temper post holidays.

The first daffodil leaves are emerging in the flowerpots by the front door.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy