Music/theatre/art 2

So glad to hear your guitar course was both helpful and fun – were either the coming ‘international star’ or the boy who played Bach whatever he was told – the boy who joined your class last year and progressed at great speed much to your irritation – there?!

X phoned this morning to say my big picture has sold in the gallery – to a woman from France who saw it here and then wrote from France saying she must have it!! So now the to-do of getting money from her first and sending it minus glass to France.

Mangles are in great demand [for use as a printing press!] – so glad you got one – is it hard rubber or wood? X does some lovely work – etching – the colours are so crisp and she draws so well – it amazes me she doesn’t sell better.

X [young son] has just spent a couple of days being a penguin in a Christmas film which will be on TV. He’s only background, but everyone starts somewhere. Anyway, he very much enjoyed it.

I went to see La Traviata last week. I don’t think I’m very opera minded as I found the whole thing highly amusing and giggled for about a quarter of it.

X sounds so happy. We’re so glad she’s making such good use of her opportunities – even opera – about which she’s ecstatic about costumes, scenery and music and ‘…the singing was bearable’!

The solid little X (14 months) will be the musical one and cannot resist dancing in time to whatever tune he hears – with a seraphic grin and a gentle attempt to sing as well. His mother is thrilled, being a real musician herself.

Last night we’d had it and thought a jolly picture would cheer us up and X had kept telling us what a fantastic film Ryan’s Daughter was. I asked her if it was suitable for Y and ‘Oh yes’. Have you seen it? We were eventually madly brave in the middle of the second wholesale love scene and walked out. Of course we were in the middle of the row. 30/- worth for about half an hour of acute embarrassment.

They have just refurbished the cathedral organ ($100,000+) and chose this occasion for it to be handed over. X chose to play a completely unknown composition which went on a long time and seemed designed to use every note and stop (not always all together) – and then later the choir sang an anthem ‘In praise of the Trinity’ which was very far from acknowledging the Unity – I have seldom heard such a discordant collection of sounds.

Marcel Marceau was here last month and I’d have loved to see him, but the seats were exorbitant – funny, I thought he died about 5 years ago.

We went to a show at the school put on by the leaving 7th form girls. Odd acts were good – but appallingly produced – everything that could go wrong with lights, sounds etc. did – the whole show was more suitable for the Windmill than a church school for young ladies!

Papier mache is very labour intensive. I have nearly given up making pots, but I can’t resist well-paying commissions, but pottery is very labour intensive compared to painting.

The cubs did a fun thing recently. We made the classic western of all times. It lasted 8 minutes and had 22 cub actors all of whose ideas were included in the script! Considering rehearsals consisted of 4 lots of 20 minutes and one of 1 hour it all went very well. However I’ll reserve my judgement until the final thing comes back from the processors…[and from a different reporter] It was shot on location in the railway yard and the hill behind it, and comprised imprimis, a fight on a train between cardsharpers and their victims, then an attack by Indians intent on getting money to buy booze, then a fight between the booze-dispensing baddies and the Indians, then rescue of the passengers, short shrift for baddies and flight of Indians under attack by US Cavalry (dismounted owing to steep terrain). The Cavalry forgot their flag at the critical moment and Indians their warpaint – so a good deal will be required of the subtitles I think.

The lecture (which was with slides of his pictures) didn’t get started until 10.15 p.m. or so. I caught a glimpse of the first two pictures and one or two others but otherwise slept soundly through it all, apart from the moments when I nearly fell off my chair; but he was so irritating in the discussion at the end that he quite woke me up – to the point of taking part. He was very down on anyone who painted anything beautiful (lumping all such together as ‘tourist spot artists’ comparable to the writers of comics who produce their trash to make money from the public’s ignorance and bad taste) whereas what mattered in a painting was really the Artist’s Ideas. We all went home furious after midnight.

boring slides

NOW to paint a masterpiece to put into the exhibition, entrance day next Wednesday; the awful thing is I don’t know if any of them are any good or not, I fear it means it’s NOT!

I phoned a man at the Dept of Scientific Research who was most helpful apart from hastening the oxidisation of copper – he said he knew when they built Buck House they imported camel dung! I s’pose I could go and get some hand pickings from the zoo!

He said I was to be included in the 5 to be asked to send in designs and the ‘brief’ would be out in about 3 weeks. I waited 4 and as I’d made endless enquiries about suitable materials etc wanted to know when I’d get it and asked him. Only to be told it had to be offered to 5 of the Sculptors Union first and if nothing came of that it would be an open competition. He s’posed he should have let me know – don’t you think that’s offhand? – I spent hours making enquiries and looking things up and making a detailed graph drawing with all specifications that weren’t necessary for just my small model. However his diabetes is blowing up and he looks awful so I s’pose I must excuse him – not that I have any choice.

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