On October 13th I was went to The Literary Review lunch in Fitzroy Square for their annual lunch to award for a poem that ‘scans & rhymes & makes sense’.
The Review lunch attracts the literary and the eccentric in equal numbers.
One woman told me how mother’s friend had just introduced her to someone ‘training to be a psychopath’.
A Canadian man wearing a facemask then joined us and got onto the subject of his obsession with of impending Swine flu.
He shed some light when he described how, as a child his mother would wrap his birthday cakes with cling-film so no germ-clogged breath fumes could contaminate the icing as he blew the candles.
I was very amused by this, but he looked as me in dismay and wailed quietly, ‘But it’s a good idea!’
The highlights of Frieze week for me were Museum of Everything [more of which another time] and the Age of Marvelous in Holy Trinity Marylebone, the beautiful neo-classical church designed by John Soane.
Curated by Joe La Placa, the show was a modern day take on the Victorian Cabinet of Curiosities and was showing one of my favorite artists, Alastair Mackie who makes perfect spheres out of mouse skulls. [pictured]
It also featured Polly Morgan who has breathed life back into the defunct art of taxidermy and Kate MacGwire who has managed to create truly strange objects out of bird feathers. Her spooky serpentine knots that fill up antique mahogany cabinets remind us that birds were once reptiles whose scales grew more and more delicate until the could defy gravity.
Particularly arresting was the black Pieta a beautifully executed figure of Christ sitting in an electric chair by Paul Fryer. Fryer [pictured] was wondering around the show, startlingly handsome, in a long coat, wild hair & beard making Jane Eyre’s Mr Rochester look like a simpering beta male. He made the point that if Christ had been killed in the States, Christians would be walking round with little electric chair necklaces rather than crucifixes.
The ape nailed to a cross is even bolder. His motivation was to highlight the plight of the Western Lowland gorillas, but with the replacement of man for a monkey, it manages to speak of man’s cruelty to man, that sophistication is wafer thin & inventing ornate ways to kill each other doesn’t put a murder on a higher plane.
[Interestingly, Holy Trinity, built not to commemorate the higher planes of consciousness, but to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon.]
The show triggers my visceral loathing for organised religion. They dress themselves up as spiritual, but are so blatantly about governance and male hierarchy as to make a lady snort.
I can’t understand how any woman could want to be a part of a church – or mosque - that considers female service unworthy of inclusion. I'm all for the sacred and the importance of ceremony, I just can't stand the intimidating sexually-twisted bullies in maxi dresses who claim to be in a conference call with a supreme being.
I love the fact that the current Uncle Fester look-alike Pope has just issued an open invitation to all the misogynist Protestants to swap to Catholicism.
We look across at Iran and see a religious state that reveals it's murky political intent by rigging an election to keep its puppet in power & wields a huge ‘morality’ policeforce that menaces the public for tiny infringements of dress code & displays of ordinary affection.
Now, in the aftermath of the rigged election, we hear there is systematic rape of imprisoned protestors; state sanctioned by the ‘holy’ men who so disapprove of sex.
At the beginning of the month my friend Neil, who goes to about five plays a week, took me to see The Mysteries, an adaptation of the medieval plays of biblical stories performed by a South African troupe at the Garrick Theatre.
[Lucifer pictured. Cast as a woman]
As the interval curtain came down, I headed straight for the nearest exit.
I just can’t buy into those ghastly old chestnuts of all the angels being blokes, of woman being taken from Adam’s rib and Mary’s premarital sex being retrospectively dressed up as a virgin birth; it’s obnoxious sexist bullshit….the etymological root of Papal bull……..
I think I might be all ranted out. Oh, one last postscript rantlet.....
While he was alive there must have been hundreds of yards worth of column inches written about what a freak Michael Jackson was and how his attempts to look white were a neon sign pointing to his rampant madness and self-loathing. Reports on his post-mortem have only bothered to write a couple of words about about the fact that he was suffering from the pigmentation leaching skin disorder that he always claimed he suffered.