Monday, October 15, 2007

Nige News

I am back from my latest (and, sadly, last for the year) jaunt in France, the fragant, smoke-wreathed Land of the Free. This was based on walking, ruin-bibbing, eating and drinking in Normandy with a convivial group of fellow misfits and misanthropes. We were based in the achingly pretty little harbour town of Honfleur, which has suffered for its good looks and charm by attracting more seriously bad artists and a denser concentration of seriously bad art than anywhere else I know. The jaunt, as ever, served to rub my English nose in how much there is to admire in the French way of life, and in the extraordinary richness and strength of their rural and urban culture, as compared to ours. There is, there must be, a downside - very probably one so oppressive that to actually live there, as part of it, would be grim. It's just that there are so many things that they do so well and so confidently - things to do with the simple arts of living, which we Brits seem now to be losing, and with getting the important stuff (e.g. 'infrastructure') done, and done well.
One thing they don't do well, though, is TV news, which seems extraordinarily boring, self-important and wordy, lacking all visual interest - footage of avocats, in their agreeably parsonical robes, going in and out of court, is about as good as it gets. Not that that is worse than the imbecile gimmickry and lame-brained editorial of the BBC 6 o'clock News. Nor is it worse than arriving back in Blighty to find Alan Thompson's and Dawn Primarolo's (surely a mobile phone brand?) Fatties (see Bryan's post below) dominating the 'news agenda' - and John Hutton taking over from Hal to drone on about 'vision'. Check out Hutton's website and weep. At least his News section is defiantly out of date though, having apparently ground to a halt some time last year.
Now I must get on with all the depressing things that have to be done at the end of a holiday. Hey ho...


  1. surely, she is the important rolo. would you give someone your primarolo?

  2. Nige, you're spot on about France. Try the Graham Robb book if you haven't read it - The Discovery of France.

    As for news I'd prefer a little less gratuitous footage and a bit more content. Why do they need to show pictures of school kids ankles and calves in slightly blurred vision nearly every time there's a piece on the TV news about school? Other similar daft shots apply. No doubt later today there will be endless shots of wobbly bellies as they drone on about fatties.

  3. Susan B., francophile,October 15, 2007 2:26 pm

    Nige, do you know the English painter Christopher (Kit) Wood? Great biography of him is one of the three in my favorite book by Sebastian Faulkes: "The Fatal Englishman." He spent most of his painting life in France and was most inspired by Brittany. If you've not read the Faulkes, I think you'd love the book.

    As for Honfleur: Should you ever get to the Barnes Foundation (outside of Phila. now, but may soon be on the Parkway), check out Gallery V.'s West Wall: Seurat's "Entrance to the Port of Honfleur" dominates it.

  4. Thanks for that Susan - I must look further into Kit Wood, who was only a name to me. Seurat was one of the good (in his case great) artists whose images of Honfleur have somehow had the paradoxical effect of turning it into the bad art capital of Normandy. There's even a Dufy of the jetty - a most un-Dufy-like subject...
    Richard - the Graham Robb books is high on my To Read list. As for fatties, Normandy of course boasts a population of spectacularly - but apparently healthily - obese citoyens. They got that way by happy over-indulgence in the rich Norman cuisine - very different from being a junk food fattie - and the French, rightly, would laugh at any notion of an 'obesity crisis' (or indeed 'timebomb').

  5. In father's absence I feel you should post the following:

    It made me very happy.