Skip to main content

Lagging on the cultural front

If there's one cultural event I regret not having seen it's Jerusalem. It totally passed me by. I had been about to book tickets before Christmas and then didn't. What made it worse was when my colleague arrived into wirk last week and said: 'you'd love it'! And as of last week it is over. Today I found myself trawling the online news to see whether it would go to Broadway for another run - perfectly willing to arrange a weekend's trip to see it. Mark Rylance was reported as saying that he may resume the role in five or six years, if the appetite is there. Come on BBC, how about filming a special performance?

Tickets for Hockney's exhibition at the Royal Academy are also being snapped up left, right and centre. I don't care to mention Hirst, about whom I hope future fables will be written in the vein of The Emperor's New Clothes! It makes me realise that London is the hotbed of culture. And for that reason alone I can't see myself ever leaving this city, which so many of us adopt with the fervour far greater than the native. Nor have I yet been to see The Artist, or Shame, or Margaret. (Forget The Iron Lady.) It would seem I've fallen a little behind on the cultural front. What have I been doing? Well, working, writing, nursing headaches. Puking up, yes, seriously. I'm not sure if I've had/got some sort of stomach virus but the past week has been physically testing. Although one evening I felt so subdued it actually had me in a good tone to write from the deep, poignant part of myself. I also neglected to book a massage, since November, despite now knowing that they ease the stress and reduce the headaches. That was rectified today though as I treated myself to an hour long deep tissue massage at Earthlife, in an arch beneath Kew Bridge. Having my arms included was a revelation, not least because the masseuse had to say twice 'relax your (left) arm', which I found difficult. I hadn't realised that the arms bear the brunt just as much as the neck and shoulders when one spends every day desk bound, head always a little forward, shoulders hunched - and arms always (like now) held aloft to enable the constant tapping, writing, carrying, holding onto tube rails in rush hour.
Anyway, not much of a post, but that's all I can muster for today. I'm almost at the end of Howards End. I'm also dipping into Sean O'Brien's poetry 'November', which hasn't yet touched the spot, having failed to reveal any truths to me. I'm also reading this werk's Times Lit Supp, London Review of Books, and for a bit of a change, The New Yorker.
Onwards. With nurofen and pepto-bismol aka 'the pink stuff'.

Location:Kew

Popular posts from this blog

Who was Mary Burns?

On 7th January 1863 Mary Burns was found dead from a suspected heart attack. She was 43 years old. Since her death Mary has received barely any attention despite the fact that she spent over twenty years as the common-law wife of Friedrich Engels, one of the world’s most influential thinkers and the co-founder of Marxism.

Born in 1822, Mary was the oldest surviving child of textile dyer and factory operative, Michael Burns, and Mary Conroy, Irish immigrants from Tipperary. Mary’s parents had married at St. Patrick’s in an area known casually as Irish Town, one of few Catholic churches in Manchester at that time. The year of Mary’s birth and her infancy were significant in that Manchester was still dealing with the aftermath of the event that became known as the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, a peaceful protest of the working-classes on the site of St. Peter’s Fields in which several people were killed and hundreds injured. The Massacre occurred when magistrates, alarmed at the size of t…

My PhD critical paper

The biggest thank-you is due to Norma Clarke, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, who supervised this PhD. I never had cause to doubt my initial instincts as Norma proved to be the best mentor I could ever have wished for.

I would also like to acknowledge the generous studentship that I was fortunate to be awarded by Kingston University, without which postgraduate study of this nature would have remained firmly beyond reach - as it is - and becomes even more so - for countless others who would relish this hard, yet rewarding journey of growth.
Thanks are due to my brothers and sisters, particularly my older brother, Sean.

Behind this PhD candidate was a fellowship of brilliant friends, whose kind and wise words, often amounting to no more than 'keep going' encouraged me in the low moments. And, of course, to the spirit of Mary Burns (1822-1863) - no mere mistress.


No endeavour is the work of an individual.


SECTION ONE
Revolution, Rom…

Midwinter Break - Bernard McLaverty

The only other book that I've read of Bernard MacLaverty was the sublime Grace Notes, published in 1997, and shortlisted for the Booker Prize of the same year. That prize was awarded to an author of another similar hiatus recently broken, Arundhati Roy, of the widely acclaimed The God of Small Things. I was certain, when buying the kindle version of Midwinter Break, that MacLaverty's first book in seventeen years (Cal, 2001, was his most recent) had made both the Booker Longlist and Shortlist - but having just double-checked - am disappointed and confused to find it had made neither. MacLaverty's prose style feels Yatesian, after the late Richard Yates, US author of Revolutionary Road, and TheEaster Parade
Midwinter Break, set in Amsterdam, is written in the same deliciously clear and poignant prose that so widely marked out Grace Notes. The husby and I have not long returned from a late summer break in that same fabulous city. With the visit to the Rijksmuseum still fre…