Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Still your Fan

After what seems quite a long time I have finished I'm your man- The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons and very good it was too. I don't know but it does take me some time to read a whole book these days and I was somewhat astonished to hear Antonia Fraser talk about reading 800 page novels in one day.
To relate some of the things I learned through reading this  well researched biography- Leonard studied Hypnotism in order to get to see the naked female and having been forced back onto the road to rebuild his retirement fund he found he didn't want to retire.
The other thing I would say is that Sylvie has brought something to the book which moves Leonard from the  caricature bed-sitter Lothario  to a human  rounded individual with strengths and weaknesses, Leonard appears to have battled his
personal daemons  and won through by virtue of longevity and his requirement to always deliver the best that he can. Why he should have had the struggles he has is not clear (is it clear why for any of us?) but losing his father at a young age may perhaps have caused deeper scars than was realised.

Anyway a good perhaps great book for all the Leonard fans out there.
I am hoping (perhaps over optimistically) to complete the book I have started about Gustave Courbet in a shorter time.

Grayson's second Reith lecture

This morning I caught the majority of Grayson Perry's second of  four lectures examining Art in modern Britain . |Perry despite his somewhat irritating voice and over the top dress sense makes interesting points in the  'Beating the Bounds' lecture and tried to define some limits to what we can/should consider as art after Duchamp this is not easy and Grayson used humour to deliver some well made points.
I suppose that Perry as others like Warhol, Picasso and Dali feel that there is a need to be a self publicist as well as creative to succeed in Art.
The subject covered  is important in post industrial Britain and I will look out for the next two lectures. 
Interestingly Grayson went to the same school in Chelmsford as my brother Nick - one of the best state schools in Essex if judged by academic results (The King Edward VI Grammar School).
Strangely Dr John Dee who I mentioned after my British Museum visit was also a student at the school albeit when it was the Chelmsford Chantry School before the Royal Charter of 1551.

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