Death in Venice

A thing of beauty is a boy forever.

A priggish, buttoned-up composer, not a million miles in appearance from Gustav Mahlar, arrives in Venice in search of new inspiration and a glimpse of his fugitive vision of beauty. The former is disrupted when he seems to find the latter in the form of an impossibly beautiful Polish boy, but a plague corrupts everything; the vision of beauty remains elusive and the corruption finally claims takes the artist.

I saw this once before, when it was new. Heavens, in 1971 it got a week at the single-screen Embassy in Welwyn Garden City; that would be unthinkable these days. Anyway, this was one of the films that got me hooked on cinema. What amazes me, revisiting it, is how little I remembered.

The things I did remember included the electricity between man and boy, though nothing is exchanged but looks. There’s the gorgeous, lovingly lingering photography, and the music. You can’t go far wrong with Mahler, it was made to have a brooding masterpiece of perverted sensuality built around it. And yet. And yet, that something so sumptuous should ultimatelty be so bleak seems rather disappointing. Perhaps it was of its time, and hasn’t aged well. Perhaps you just had to be young and idealistic to appreciate it.

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A Pong in the Air

Saturday, 19 April 2008

For several days a sharp easterly wind has kept us in our winter woolies. This seems to be covering the whole country.

From down in the barbarian regions south of the Manchester Ship Canal come reports of a rich agricultural aroma in the air. We haven’t had it here, but maybe it’s just been overwhelmed by the smell of sheep. The is being blamed on the usual culprits, the pesky Dutch, Belgians, Germans, and of course the uncouth French.

Seems to me that this is a bit like farting and then putting the blame on thise around you. Of course, there’s never any muck-spreading on the arable prairies of eastern England at this time of year, is there?

Good evening…

Saturday, 19 April 2008

My name is Rosie and I like old Broadway show tunes. I adore retro jazz. Harry Warren makes me wobbly. I’m ardent for Arlen, begging for Mercer.

Yes, I’m desperately uncool. Want of make something of it?

Like any other teenager I rebelled against my parents’ music. But that from my grandparents’ era, that’s different. Is there a tradition of skipping generations like this? Or am I just swimming against the tide? I know a lot of people young enough to be my grandchildren get a big kick out of the Doors and the Velvets, and I in my turn can enjoy Muse or Travis (but not really Coldplay, or Radiohead, or any form of hip-hop)