Monday, 17 February 2014

Lucretia Borgia and rad as tits

Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519)


















It is quite hard to think of many Byron poems that people quote today ... he's thought to be a bit out of fashion.... full-blown.... rather literary....dated... not relevant today.  No one reads him!

But don't think that any other poet was quoted by (the extremely irritating) BAFTA host Stephen Fry last night. Not bad for someone who died nearly 200 years previously. Though - I had to think - am not at all sure what Byron would have made of the BAFTAS.

So defining an age/sensibility/literary movement and lifestyle counts for something. It's fairly hard core as Alison in Story of My Life might say - or as might anyone who mastered that kind of junky punchy American prose/slang.

"Even if you weren't a trilingual doctor of arts and such with a badass resume and a dope setta skills you'd still  be rad as tits."

Byron liked Milan.
"I have been to the Ambrosian library (founded in 1609 by Cardinal Federigo Borromeo)..... I have been most delighted with a correspondence of letters, all original and amatory, between Lucretia Borgia and Cardinal Bembo preserved there. I have pored over them and a lock of her hair, the prettiest and fairest imaginable -  I never saw fairer - and shall go repeatedly to read the epistles over and over; and if I can obtain some of the hair by fair means, I shall try. I have already the librarian to promise me copies of the letters, and I hope that he will not disappoint me. They are short, but very simply, sweet, and to the purpose....
Abraham casting out Hagar and Ismael/Guercino
 The Brera gallery of paintings has some fine pictures, but nothing of a collection. Of paintings I know nothing; but I like a Guercino -a picture of Abraham putting away Hagar and Ismael - which seems to me natural and goodly. The Flemish school, such as I saw it in Flanders, I utterly detested, despised and abhorred; it might be painting but it was not nature; the Italian is pleasing,and their ideal very noble."
Letter to John Murray. 15 October 1816, Milan 

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