Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Articles, interviews and a bewitching art gallery

A couple of new articles by me appeared in the last few days. You can read my thoughts on how satire could change Japan in this piece in the Asahi Shimbun:

My article on the extraordinary connection between Natsume Soseki and Glenn Gould was in yesterday's Japan Times on Sunday. The article has had a 1000 likes on Facebook and 300 shares so very pleased about that.

On Thursday and Friday last week I was in London meeting some members of the Japanese press in connection with promoting my new book on Yukio Mishima. Met some really fascinating people. Looking forward to seeing what will become of these interviews...

In the evening on both Thursday and Friday, I was at the National Portrait Gallery for their 'Late Shift' evening opening. I'd gone there for the John Singer Sargent exhibition, but had no idea what a wonderful gallery this is. On Thursday I wandered about the ground floor with G and T in hand before ascending to the second floor and checking out the Tudor exhibition and the whole run of national portraits until the 18th century. (Discovering they have a room devoted to the Kit Kat Club, one of my pet obsessions, made my joy complete. Amongst them is Godfrey Kneller's painting of architect and dramatist John Vanbrugh, left.)

Back there again on Friday night, I polished off the portraits up to the mid 19th century, only to discover there was a 'multi-art' event called 'The Poet, the Lover and the Lunatic' starting. Comprising charming choral singing of madrigals and music from Elgar and Vaughan Williams, accomplished performances of speeches from Two Noble Kinsmen, MacBeth, Hamlet, As You Like It, Richard II (which made me melt and want to watch all the plays again) and commentaries on many of the superb paintings, this was really fabulous.

My only concern is that there is so much to explore in this gallery I never got to see the Sargent exhibition I went for in the first place... Plus I still have another 150 years of portraits to get through...Hmm, I have mentally booked a third visit for when I am back in London on March 12 to speak about Glenn Gould and Natsume Soseki at the Daiwa Foundation.

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