Marilyn diptych (1962) by Andy Warhol at Tate Modern, London
The “Pope of Pop Art” at London’s cathedral of modern Art: full size Andy Warhol exhibition at the Tate Modern.
The turbine hall, Tate Modern, London
Many of Andy Warhol’s major works that are instantly recognisable are on display here so it is interesting to see them at their original size. But as so much of his work is easily and exactly reproduced (because it is in essence screen printing), this is the main gain from seeing the originals, particularly his later works on a huge scale. It’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer scale but clarity of his execution of these giant works.
We are shown one of Andy Warhol’s Mao series, made following President Nixon’s pioneering visit to China in 1972; small reproductions of those images were fashionable amongst students of my era.
Room 4 of this exhibition also throws new light, literally as its walls are covered in aluminium foil, as a recreation of “The Factory”, Andy Warhol’s studio in New York City; the room has an unusual feel being both light and without intrinsic colour, only the colour of the contents, but there is no explanation offered.
The benefit of seeing Andy Warhol’s works as a retrospective collection like this is to be able to sense the darkness that seems to me to creep in to his work after the assassination attempt at “The Factory” in 1968. The original gaiety of his early work has gone when he recovers from the shooting but he refines his style as he rebuilds. It’s still pop art, with all the ephemerality that implies, along with the clean graphic style that he had already established.
Chatting to a school friend last night we got on to this new and unwelcome vocabulary that we are learning. Furlough, co-morbidities, herd immunity, lockdown, social distancing and so on. I went looking for the word ‘furlough’ in “Men Who March Away”, an anthology of poetry from World War One that they got us to read at school: Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen and many others. I couldn’t find the word. Simon tells me that the OED lists the first use of ‘furlough’ as by Ben Jonson in 1625. Those poems are not easy to read - I last consulted that anthology in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was taking all those good friends and playmates from us.
Doing my gym at home this morning, a funeral cortege draws up at the church opposite; it happens but seeing one at this moment makes you take stock just as the clouds seem to be gathering yet again. John Donne’s words still ring clear, written amidst the plagues of the 17th century; he even mentions Europe!
Happily, the present deceased got a fine day and a good crowd for it.
Selfie at Westfield Shepherds Bush
Christmas decorations display even in the first week of October, Westfield Shepherds Bush
Visual diary of my week - a set of photos linked by time rather than by place.
My photo set “Eleven and Eighteen” on display in the Photo Fringe 2020 exhibition, based in Brighton. My set is occasionally on their front page, which displays a selection of contributions in a seemingly random order. Refresh and reload (on their site) to change the selection.
The wines we enjoyed this weekend:
Denbies Hampshire English Sparkling Brut 2015
St Julien 2002, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalonde, 33250 Pauillac
Terrazza d’Isula, Niellucciu Merlot 2017, Île de Beauté IGP (Corsica)
Hiking Helvellyn by the Mires Beck route.
I’m well pumped from the sporty climb in this photo at about 650 m. on The Nab.
Glenridding, Ullswater and the Pennines in the far distance.
Helvellyn: summit (950 m.) panoramic 180° view
Striding Edge, Helvellyn
Oare Creek, Faversham
Faversham is one of the Cinque Ports I’ve heard about but never before visited. It’s famous for the Shepherd Neame brewery, the umbrella factory and the abbey but infamous for its pirates. I could have lingered in Faversham but my schedule needed me to move on. Next, I drove across Graveney Marshes to Seasalter, then Sandwich and Deal on my roadtrip round the Kent coast.
An object that looks as mundane as a reel of recording tape can be the carrier for many rich and varied emotions
I decided not to listen live to this evening’s rather faux Last Night of the Proms 2020; rather, I chose to take the opportunity to take care transcribing a 2400 foot reel of quarter-inch Ampex 351 Double Play tape on my shelf which I had labelled No 49, “1975 Last Night of the Proms”.
Cormac Rigby introduced the 81st Last Night for BBC Radio 3 whilst “my colleague Richard Baker, the bravest man in the western hemisphere at the moment”, talked with the Promenaders and introduced the programme for BBC1 television. It was a warm evening and I know from my own experience as a promenader that the arena gets even hotter when the lights are on for television. Colour television in 1975 required far far more light than current television cameras so it must have been really hot and sweaty indeed. The ladies of the BBC Singers were, for the first time, dressed in colours, not black. Cormac Rigby describes the two Promenaders who laid a wreath around the bust of Henry Wood as dressed topped in white pith helmets and that they saluted Sir Henry’s bust afterwards in a sharply military fashion.
Col du Lautaret (2057 m.)
Col du Galibier (2642 m.)
Ride to the Alps day 2: aiming for the Col de l’Iseran, at 2770 m. it’s said to be highest paved road pass in Europe.