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July 2009

June 2009

It doesn't matter

I've been teaching myself to draw. It seemed a nice way to spend my convalescence (nothing scary, don't worry), sitting in bed with the sun and the birdsong coming in through the open window and Quentin Blake and John Cassidy's Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered on my duveted lap. The book's very funny, very encouraging, very clever about how it gives you rock-bottom basic technique, and gets to the heart of the matter. And it's also being extremely salutary, because for the first time in a long time I'm trying to do something at which I'm a total beginner. Indeed,... Read more →


Twenty minutes and no clarinets

Over on Radio 3 they're knee-deep in Haydn at the moment, it being his bicentenary and all. In his lifetime he was considered the greatest composer in Europe, the kind of accolade which seems to end in plummeting stock once someone's heirs begin to have their Oedipal way (cf Mendelssohn - another revelation of this year of anniversaries - being murdered by Wagner). But not any longer: Haydn's risen again in critical esteem since the 70s, when I was told that if it sounded like Mozart, but was duller and you didn't recognise it, then it was Haydn. And of... Read more →