A June Miscellany


No single subject today, just a quick round-up of the week. A lot of exhibitions, concerts and plays now roam the world in touring productions, so if you missed the Pink Floyd exhibition in London you can catch it in Madrid. The Kubrick exhibition, Tate Modern’s Franz West show (the Austrian artist destroyed artworks that anyone accused of being beautiful), ‘The Light in the Piazza’, Adam Guettel’s melancholy romance with Renée Fleming, are all touring, sometimes in a limited circuit, other times to unlikely places. I saw the terra-cotta warriors in a derelict cinema in Gdansk (they tour the world split into different groupings) and the David Bowie art show in Barcelona without any crowds and at a third of the cost. Sometimes it pays to wait until the initial excitement has died down.

Then there are things that feel peculiar to this city: The gorgeous new Bridge Theatre feels like the most English spot in London, as it has opened up views across the Thames to the Tower of London. It’s the perfect place for a glass of wine on a summer’s night, and not too crowded either.

I was there seeing a very woke, immersive ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, with stunt casting (Brienne of Tarth as Titania!), acrobats, gender switched sex, nudity, selfies, flowers, jokes, Beyoncé and – after a start that recalled ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ – the general atmosphere of an Ibiza beach party. It’s not often you hear the Queen of the Amazons tell Puck to ‘jog on’, or to have him complain about Londoners.

On a less cultural note, Trump’s visit to London did not play well, despite what he might have tried to tell the world. Although she cannot express partisan views the Queen subtly called him out on Nato. In official photographs she looked decidedly uncomfortable (contrast with the extraordinarily warm reception she gave the Obamas). The Palace denied this story, which apparently appeared on US websites. HRH did not say it of course – the whole thing was made up. They couldn’t even get her tone right, and should have known that she does not give interviews.

In revenge, the British did their own doctoring back…much amusement was to be had by Trump’s horrendous tailoring, in which he seemed not to know how to wear a waistcoat.

A series of huge protests were staged across the country. Predictably, the POTUS made random, contradictory statements about trade deals and insulted the Mayor of London, who is Muslim. All in all Trump’s copter cavalcade flew past my apartment six times as he wouldn’t take to the streets and risk British sarcasm. Here’s what you may have missed;

For its brief summer London blooms, but I’m heading for Barcelona to work on the new Bryant & May novel ‘Oranges & Lemons’, and I now have a sumptuous cover in for the book preceding it, ‘England’s Finest’. Then I’ll be in Cadiz, from where it’s just a short ferry ride to Africa. I’ve also starting using Instagram again (although only a little) under BryantandMay.



10 comments on “A June Miscellany”

  1. Brooke says:

    Thank you, thank you for posting these images; emailing to everyone I know. Oh, no. Please leave MND alone–it’s already “woke,” a word so over-used, it no longer has meaning.

    Annoying that you’re gadding about…Barcelona, Cadiz…while the rest of us …work.

  2. Peter Tromans says:

    The waistcoat! Something taken more seriously in the US than here, at least by those who have time to worry about dress. For sure the US diplomats would have provided some guidance or….

  3. Wayne Mook says:

    That title rings a bell, will there be any reference to Quasimodo and what happened at Notre-Dame, or will there be mention of Henry Croft and the pearly guilds and societies. Sorry went a bit punish.

    Trump’s trip was fairly quiet, it could have been a lot more controversial. Snorter Gove could be interesting if he becomes PM, possible being band from travelling to the US. Now if only he’d been a dictator guilty of torture.

    Enjoy the warmth, it’s miserable here.


  4. Jo W says:

    Have a good journey Chris,hope you find some sunshine. But,if you do,we can do without tweets about how warm it is outside and that you are hard at work in the darkness. I don’t think you’ll get much sympathy somehow. 😉

  5. SimonB says:

    Apparently the rubies now part of the tiara in the “waistcoat” photo were originally part of a charm to ward off evil…

  6. Ian Luck says:

    What does ‘Woke’ mean, other than ‘Cessation of sleep’? It’s one of those damn hipster figures of speech, isn’t it, and one I hate more than any of the others, although the use of: “I’m going town” because some clueless arsehead gets exhausted saying the long and complicated preposition ‘Into’, and isn’t sure where to put it in that long and tiring sentence. Punks.

  7. John Griffin says:

    ‘Woke’ is for people who are self-consciously striving to appear aware of the complexity of a society they previously sailed through on a magic carpet of privilege.

  8. Helen Martin says:

    I was just sliding down the comments to ask about “woke” when I discovered that people were already commenting. I still don’t know what the users intend it to mean, though. It’s fine to create new meanings for words – times change and all that – but there should be some sense to it.
    I have a feeling that I met that “Super, fragile…” quote not long after Trump’s election but it deserves to be kept handy. Oh, how that man bothers me, and one can only hope that the rubies hold to their original purpose. I was at a graduation dinner last night and the feeling at our table was that the man will precipitate a major war faster than anyone else could have managed. The Strait of Hormuz springs to mind.

  9. Wayne Mook says:

    I wonder if any of them woke at a happening. it we get too upset about the use of this word we may end up in a brown study.

    One of my favourite phrases, as used in the Carnacki tales, is ‘blue funk’, as in I was in a blue funk, where funk is the heavy sweat caused by fear or sex. The blue kind is caused by fear. They don’t make phrases like they used to.


  10. Helen Martin says:

    I know “blue funks” but what colour are the other kind?
    Please, why do all of those benches or whatever have carpets over them and where are they?

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