Or a least to this blog! On 21st April 2012, I posted the Hello page of Notes to the Milkman. The first ‘proper’ post came a couple of days later. In Hello (my blog post, not the celeb mag!) one word I used was ephemeral, and that seems to have been one of the main themes of this blog as I try to pass on things I find before they are lost to the mists of time (or, more often to tomorrow’s chip wrappers).
Such as the article in Seven in today’s Sunday Telegraph. Ah, I hear you say, a review of a new exhibition, perhaps? Well, no, though it is about exhibitions. Lynne Truss, famous for her book on correct punctuation, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, beloved by pedants like myself, writes a humorous weekly column in Seven.
“One of the great cartoons of my life was of two people in T-shirts. On one T-shirt it said (I’m approximating), “I’ve seen Matisse at the Pompidou” and on the other, “I saw Vermeer at the Frick” – and a third person was walking past, saying, “Exhibitionists!” I like to remember this cartoon because it reminds me that blockbuster exhibitions were always tough to get into; status has always attached to anyone who actually made it through the doors.
“Personally, I’m proud of all the exhibitions I’ve got into, but I’m also growing more and more angry with myself for the multitude of shows I’ve missed, simply by being too slow off the mark. But how quick do you have to be these days? It’s getting absurd. There’s a big Vermeer coming up at the National Gallery this summer, you know. And when I first heard about it, what was my reaction? Excitement? Pleasant anticipation? No, I felt despair. Without even inquiring into tickets, I’m already convinced it will be sold out by the time I want to go. ….
“… I do worry about what this can’t-get-into-anything-any-more bitterness is doing to me as a person, because when people say, casually, that they saw the Leonardo last year (as many thousands surely did), I don’t ask, “Gosh, how was it?” Instead, I beat them savagely about the head and neck, while shouting “You bastard! You absolute bastard!” …
“… I must simply find a way of handling this envy [of other people’s success] – or try to marry Andrew Graham-Dixon, of course, which would presumably put me nearer the top of the queue. But who are these people who get in? How far in advance do they arrange their cultural lives? They are the modern equivalent of the Wise Virgins of the parable, I suppose; and they scarcely notice the Foolish Virgins (like me) who hang about outside the Royal Academy, hopelessly licking the posters.”
I’m off to London on Thursday for the day – probably a very long day – checking out some of those exhibitions. At the Royal Academy, where, no doubt, Lynne Truss was recently licking the Manet posters, there is the London Original Print Fair, the main purpose of my visit, together with the George Bellows. There is the Becoming Picasso – Paris 1901 at the Courtauld and I still haven’t seen the Kurt Schwitters In Britain at the Tate, despite blogging about it ages ago. Some galleries are open late on Thursdays. As I say, it may be quite a long day!