Monday, January 29, 2007


Rock star crushes continued

Bowie, Bowie, Bowie. The last post prompted several Bowie-related emails; one friend-in-books tells me about David Bowie coming into the Legendary Bookshop he worked at. Bodyguards with him. He bought a lot of books. The staff followed him around discreetly. Thanks for sharing. Thanks a lot. Really.

Re aging rock stars - we're all getting older together, aren't we? It actually makes me very happy to see people continuing to do their thing, whatever it is, at whatever age they happen to be. That pbs special last winter - I thought, Can I stand to watch it, will it make me feel old(er), seeing him old(er)? I gave in and was so glad, the show was incredible, and he still had every little thing he ever had way back when, but amplified, MORE, better. The look in his eye.

Enough, enough. I wish I had sixty-five extra bucks so I could join Bowienet and read his online journal, but I don't, so I can't. Rent day looms. Onward through The Reader's Encyclopedia:

vae victis! A Latin phrase meaning "woe to the vanquished!" It is ascribed to the Gaul Brennus, who conquered Rome in 390 B.C. (p.1161)

variorum. An edition with notes by different persons. A good example is the Variorum Shakespeare (1871-1930) edited originally by Horace Howard Furness. (p.1166)

Vedder, Elihu (1836-1923). American painter and illustrator. His best murals are in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. His best illustrations were done for an edition of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. (p.1168) (I mention this because I love a few paintings of his - often romantic symbolist works - one in particular in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts - but also because when I was in college I looked at a limited edition copy of his Rubáiyát, a large folio of original prints, and it was the first time I realized what the term rare book physically meant. The edition was stunning, and I sat there leafing through it, thinking, This is a book? What a splendid book! while a special collections librarian hovered over my shoulder. I still think about that fine edition, though I now own the regular trade edition.)

Vox Clamantis. A long poem in Latin, partly in allegory, by John Gower, written about 1382, dealing mainly with the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. The rebellious peasants are presented in terms of animals and monsters, including asses, oxen, dogs, and swine, who rise against the nobles, capture London, and are finally put down. This is all told vividly as a dream experienced by the poet; the remainder of the poem is concerned with a discussion of the evils and corruptions of society at the time, in which the faults and duties of the knights, the peasants, the craftsmen and merchants, the lawyers, and finally the King himself, are considered in turn. (p.1180) (Sounds like Animal Farm, in a way. Also sounds like times haven't changed much. Another interesting book to read from the Middle Ages!)

A few long entries of note, also: Venus, Paul Verlaine, and Voltaire. I am reaching the end of this book. I realize I know nothing, NOTHING.

In honor of the V entries, I must mention that I spent much of the weekend reading The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Penguin 1997). In a word, devastating. Devastating to finish, knowing what is coming when the writer of the letters of course does not. Near the end of his life: "I cannot help it that my pictures do not sell." (p.419) Jesus. I'm trying to get hold of a copy of Delacroix's Journal next - one of Van Gogh's favorite books. And Anne Truitt's third and last book. And pay the rent. Did I mention that already? Anyway, I've got to go. The mailman just came, bringing another package of booksellers' tickets from Don in California. This means the rest of my day is shot. This, however, is not a complaint! Far from it!

Sarah, My link to you evokes a '402' or some-such. I'll look to see if a letter is missing in the url. About Van Gogh. Friends from Mexico opened a Galerie-Café a couple years ago nearby where I was more than a regular, becoming friends of the family and a student in a conversational Spanish class we organised each Sunday.

The name of the café was (it died too) L'Oreja de Van Gogh, or L'Oreille de Van Gogh or Van Gogh's Ear.

A sculptor did a foot tall wood carving of an ear and it sat prominently on the pastry counter. I could go on.

I think I was the only person who found the sculture way over the top. Nobody would even listen when I tried to 'make them real' about what he went through. Win some, lose some.
One of my sisters spent some time in Amsterdam years ago, and one of the postcards she sent back to me depticted a street vendor selling plastic bloody ears, a huge pile of them on a sheet on the sidewalk. The ultimate tacky souvenir? I read more about Van Gogh, and Gauguin, last night, but more about that later today...
I've adored Bowie ever since I saw him in Labyrinth and in my opinion,he gets better with age like a fine wine.

I do agree,however,that sixty-five dollars to read his online journal is too rich for my blood! I'd rather play some tunes off the Labyrinth soundtrack or watch some YouTube clips of him instead.
I first saw him in "The Man Who Fell to Earth" - based on the book by Walter Tevis - and was smitten then. Though I heard him on the radio first. "Let's Dance" in high school, and I soon went back in time to search for more. I still have all my vinyl. YouTube. Oh dear. Nothing will get done today.

"Put on your red shoes and dance the blues."

I won't enter into the Bowie part of the discussion except to say he's intriguing in a manner I find similar to that je ne sais pas quoi of Andy Warhohl. A local bookseller, Caroline, agreed with me BTW.

A fan club I'd join would focus on female anchor-persons for news hours like BBCs. Women with unpronouncable names, slight accents, and something WOW without compromising their intellect.

The error in linking here on my blog was my misspelling of 'Sarah' in the url. My step-niece is Sara so that explains it. It's fixed.

A biographic ref book you might like, Sarah, is the English 'Illustrated Biographical Dictionary'; London: Chancellor, 1994. 511 p & amply illustrated with photos. ISBN 1 85152 727 3

An entry, for ex, on F Lee Bailey incl a ref to Patty Hearst (tho there's nada on the Simbianese Liberation Front anywhere. I guess that I miss having 'year books' from the old print encyclopedia for newsy items like that. Is it 'sim bianese' or 'sym bianese'? The newspaper style books don't have that one.

Glad to see someone else is grossed out by bloody oracular appendages!
Cy, you do realize that Bowie played the role of Warhol in "Basquiat" - the great film made by Julian Schnabel about artist Jean-Michel Basquiat... So, two icons for the price of one, as it were. Early in my painting "career" I was smitten with Warhol. I saw the MOMA retrospective in the 1980s after his death. I still kinda love him, though I've since become infatuated with more painterly (less ironic) painters.

APD - I remember doing exactly that, way back when. I bet you do, too...
Since you are interested in Vincent’s life and work, you might want to look at the Notes section on I am the writer and director of the new independent film on his life.
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