28 October 2018
The best news of the week was that the small publishing company my younger son set up a few years ago, specialising in fantasy and the related sub-genres, won the Best Independent Publisher award at the British Fantasy Awards and one of its books, which he had edited, was short-listed for the Best Anthology award. (Google Unsung Stories if you want to know more.)
Isn’t it great when your children do so well! Both my sons are experts in their quite different fields (my older son started with a physics degree and, at the last count, has three Masters’ degrees in science-related subjects).
Another thing that cheered me this week was to hear that Michael Fabricant, one of the more eccentric Tory MPs – he makes Jacob Rees-Mogg seem comparatively normal – had filmed himself bicycling nude (apart from dark glasses and a tie) round a park to raise money for a hospice. He subsequently said he thinks naked cycle rides are a good way of raising money for charity and that “a naked bike ride from Lichfield to Whittington would be a beautiful thing and would uncover all sorts of parts I’ve never seen before”. Does he bath with his eyes closed?
After an unusual (for me) dream – I don’t think I’ve ever dreamt about an artwork before – found me looking at a painting of large blocks of plain bright colours separated by thick black lines, I woke thinking “I could do that”. The following day, the name Mondrian came to mind so I googled it and it turned out he’d already done something very similar. Pity.
As one does, I then got side-tracked and came across an artist called Jamie McCartney who describes himself as “a professional artist … working largely in figurative sculpture and photography”. I could probably live with some of his work, such as a stylised bonsai tree in plywood that was commissioned by an oriental restaurant and club in Brighton, but though he’s obviously very talented, he seems to have some hang-ups which result in artworks I’d rather not live with. Still, I’ve always been a philistine and have never really understood how things like piles of bricks or elephant dung, or pickled sharks, or unmade beds, qualify as art.
For me, a more consistently liveable-with artist is someone like Philip Greenwood. We have one of his prints and could happily live with most of them, as I could with a lot of Robert Gillmor’s work, not just because he’s my step second cousin in law (you’ll have to work out how he achieved that relationship) but because he’s respected enough for his prints to have appeared on several British stamps and he was in a recent edition of ‘Countryfile’.
Talking of art, researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany have found that having a leisurely hot bath in the afternoon is associated with a lift in mood among people with depression. Do you think the significance of researching bathing in the afternoon might be linked with the researchers’ preference for being in their own baths in the evening?
On a sadder note, Judy had quite a bad fall about ten days ago (if you have no control over the left side of your body and can’t feel it, it’s impossible to control or cushion a fall) and she pulled / bruised / strained a muscle in the side of her back that she can feel. She’s been spending much of the time since in bed, scoffing as much cocodamol as I allow her, but it seems to be easing slowly and she actually got dressed today.
And on an even sadder note, a self-professed “very stable genius” told everyone the answer to yesterday’s mass murder at a synagogue in Pittsburgh was to arm the rabbi and staff it with armed guards, failing to spot the obvious answer that, if people couldn’t get guns in the first place, nobody would need armed guards.