Saturday, October 20

Christopher Isherwood

( Portrait of C. Isherwood by Don Bachardy...The world of Interiors April 2011...p.169)

A friend loaned me Christopher Isherwood's novel..."Mr. Norris changes trains".
She was soon to be on her way to Berlin and I had only recently returned.
I knew very little about the life of Isherwood the writer, before going to Berlin. But  while there, my niece set up a tour for us...

 who runs the "Cabaret Berlin"web site and gives talks on the era of the Weimar republic..
His tour takes you around the relatively small area in East Berlin, that was the location for so many of the novels. Absolutely facinating. And if you are thinking of Berlin for a long break and like the works of Isherwood or absolute must!
Having been on the tour first ...and then read the book was clear that most of the characters were familiar faces to him during his stay there.
The theatres and buildings of the "Golden Era" of the late 1920s and 30s still exist..

...though more often than not, have assumed a very different way of keeping themselves going!
More than anything, the tour opened my eyes to how speedily change can happen, from a decadent "demi-monde" to a police state, in Weimar.

 This is the actual site of the famous Cabaret Theatre..."Eldorado"...where artists such as Marlene Dietrich and Josophine Baker..strutted their stuff. Now a food still has the photos of the great and good hanging on the walls..

A plaque has been put up on the wall of the apartment shared by Isherwood and many of his literary friends....
...but perhaps more moving were the pavement brasses installed in front of the homes where the Nazis had taken the residents to their deaths in the concentration camps.

Cynically...the fascists took over the "Eldorado" as their voting centre and hung the windows with the Nazi flags proclaiming it as the place to vote for Hitler.

Christopher Isherwood eventually lived out the rest of his life in California with this partner Don Bachardy on that famous road...Adelaide Drive.

( An etching of them both by David Hockney...W o I...April 2011  ..p.165)

I went into our local Waterstones bookshop yesterday to buy ,"The Berlin Novels" and "Goodbye to Berlin". I think that his insight into the personalities around him then, resonate even today.
I have been visiting Germany since the '60s and had never made it to that city...and it was  a real treat to share it with my sister and  her family.
I'll be back...I hope!

Friday, October 19

All Hail Blue Peter.

When the two young Snapes were little...
...there were two television programmes that were essential viewing every week.
Doctor Who....often watched from behind the sofa...
...and Blue Peter.....both of these on BBC.

So how good was that moment yesterday evening, when the lovely daughter
 and author of the blog...Amelie's House...
demonstrated for the nation's children, how to make googly bloodshot edible eyes for the halloween party!!

But did I mention the toes as well?
You have to see the toes!

Well let's put it like this ...actually if you do see real toes like this...then you are in big trouble!
They are for a show in London to do with "Autopsies"
Say no more...they are edible cake and icing.. really!

But wait ...there's better even than that far as the nation's children are concerned...
she received a Blue Peter badge....

!!OH!! of joys ..
.and already her older kidlet and one of my grand girls...wants it left to her in the will!!
Well it is that desirable.

I'm sorry if you have no idea what this is all about...but believe me these badges are like gold dust...well even up to the standard of a medal...
...oh ...maybe I exaggerate a bit ...carried away you might say...out of my comfort zone!

Seriously though I had a tear in my eye seeing her so confidently passing on the banner of
 "Doing Something for Fun"...that she had received from Blue Peter all those years ago.

The potter and I were out for a spot of lunch today in town...and being in a thoughtful state of mind...
...wondered how we two ever managed to produce two such great kids?

Tuesday, October 16

Wealth... .....

I've been reading  "Wealth" ...the play by Aristophanes..........

Wow!! who does this woman think she is?

Well I spied the book at a car boot sale in Boscastle in Cornwall and it was only I thought ,  "why not give it a go and educate yourself a bit Geraldine".

I think the sale was to raise funds for the town as many of the inhabitants are still without homes after the horrible flood that occured a couple of years ago destroying many ancient and historic houses.

Anyway ..I was to say the least... overwhelmed by the play and the way that Aristophanes put the thoughts and words together as if he were writing those thoughts today.

I'm quite aware that the play is translated and that the translator may have put his interpretation on parts of it... but even accepting that ...and thinking of the political, financial and ethical shenanigans worldwide over the last few's pretty close to the bone.

Isn't that something...that Greece was in the same position then as now?...then being around 400 b.c.

You may ...lovely give up and not read any further...but I think that you would miss the best...if you did so.!!!

Excerts from "Wealth", by Aristophenes
Translated by...Alan H.Sommerstein
(in which wealth is blind)

Chremylus...(an ancient Farmer) speaking to Poverty (a horrific goddess):  "The present state of our human life can only be described as utter madness and lunacy. Many wicked men live in prosperity through their ill-gotten gains, while others of great virtue are poor and hungry and always accompanied by you............

Poverty speaks....You are certainly very easily persuaded to lose your wits ! You're real members of the Stuff and Nonsense Club! If what you desire were to happen, it would by no means be to your advantage. If Wealth were to see once more and divide himself in fair shares to all, no-one would pursue any trade  or craft any more. And with no trades or crafts, who'll do your metalwork? Who'll build your ships? Who'll be your tailors, your turners, your cobblers, your brickmakers, your launderers, your tanners? Who'll break up  the clods with his plough and harvest the fruits of the Goddess of Corn, if it's open to him to forget about all that and live in idleness?

Chremylus....What rubbish you talk! all those things you mentioned, why, our slaves will do them for us.

Poverty....And where will you get your slaves from?

Chremylus....Buy them of course.

Poverty...But why should anyone sell them, if he's already got all the money he wants?..............

..........     further down page....
Poverty...You won't even have a bed to lie on: there won't be any. No carpets: who's going to weave if he's not short of money? No scents to perfume the bride with, no expensive rich-coloured clothes to dress her in.And if you can't have any of these things, what on earth is the point of being rich?............

Hmmmmmm!      ...and so on.   

The whole play is really quite funny and gets the message across very subtley as they say "slowly slowly catchy monkey"