The Gerrard Chronicles 2013

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Art Scene


The first half of the year was taken up with his Symphony 2013, supposedly, a grim 'state of the nation' work but he was unable to prevent cheerfulness breaking out in the last movement of three, each of which lasts just over 13 minutes, 40 in all. But he still has no idea how to promote his work.


More lecturing. The attendance at the Claremont Project was too low (up to 9) to make it worth Ken bothering with, although we had bought them a big telly, as using our projector for daylight lecturing was inadequate. However, we gave that projector to the Stuart Low Trust, as they usually borrowed it & we eventually needed a daylight projector. This was because Islington has started its own University of the Third Age, on who's Steering Committee we both served until all the jobs had bedded in & not having jobs, we dropped out to prepare more content. (Their over-designed web site is on this link & nothing to do with Ken, who, being an expert in such matters, was deliberately excluded). Our talks to Islington U3A have gone well & other groups are starting up, Ken enjoying the Music Circle, an informal group run by John Ford.

Avis has now started giving talks to the SLT & U3A about Modern Art Movements. SLT had the usual three on Music from Ken. However, after the 27th talk he has given them, a wheel seems to have come off relations, owing to a totally false accusation of racism at Ken (a veteran of the South African Embassy Picket line, about 100+ hours of standing around in his best business suit & speaking on the megaphone, no less) & some repair work will need to be done by somebody.

Parkinsons UK is now a regular gig. As now seems to happen 'usually', Fred Olsen's scrounged four talks from Ken on the "Braemar" during two cruises but he has no objection to this. We both gave several lectures to Wednesday Morning classes at Hampstead U3A & during the Summer Season, as otherwise, Hampstead U3A observes academic terms. Avis' repertoire of talks on Modern Art Movements is expanding & Ken has added 5 talks this year.



"Sweet Bird of Youth" By Tennessee Williams. Quite complex main characters, as well as some cardboard.
"Ghosts" by Ibsen. Very excellent production. Both were in the Almeida Theatre in Islington.

Ken's reading list of books for the year:-

"Zoo Time" by Howard Jacobson. Strangely moving for a 'funny' book & serious about literature.
"Opera Origins and Side Lights" by Ruth Berges. Fascinating observations.
"Schönberg" by Anthony Payne. Very good, if short.
"George Gissing" by Paul Delany. Very good biography of a man who was his own worst enemy. I must read one of his books.
"Lost Illusions" by Balzac. Long, a bit didactic & a 'hero' you could wish further. I started this on the Xmas cruise.
"The Gilded Stage" by Daniel Snowman. This history of opera has taken me a long time, as the book is physically very heavy (not the contents) & not rucksack or bath-credible.
"Under the Garden" by Graham Green. One of Penguins little 60. A bit spooky but charming as well. Greeneland."
"Seven Yorkshire Tales" by James Herriott. Another Penguin 60. Vet's tales.
"Verdi with a Vengeance" by William Berger. Plot summaries & observations by a witty but dedicated American.
"Capital" by John Lanchester. State of the Nation book, read completely on the cruise.
"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. One of the most remarkable books I have read recently.
"Fifty Shades of Grey" by E L James.One of the least remarkable. I don't know why Avis bought this. It is inconclusive, to tempt one to buy the two sequels but at over 500 pages each volume, who needs them?
"Winter King" by Thomas Penn. A record of Henry VII's increasingly tyrannical rule. Penn seems to buy Henry's story of "Perkin Warbeck", though. I don't know if he is up to speed on Bosworth, either.
"The Reichenbach Problem" by Martin Booth. I had advised Martin on the geography but the version in this book is unrelated to reality.
"A Maggot" by John Fowles. Superb, as usual. Found this in the Council Recycler.
"The Prince of Mist" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Creepy story for teenagers with a victory for evil at the end!
"The Spanish Holocaust" by Paul Preston. A terrible story. Franco was invented to make Hitler look good.
"Stonemouth" by Iain Banks. His last-but-one. Nice.
"Empire" by Jeremy Paxman. Eviscerates the British Empire neatly. A present from Cousin Liz.
"HHhH" by Laurent Binet. Amazing historical novel, not very novelistic, about the assassination of Heydrich.
"Toby's Room" by Pat Barker. As impressive as 'usual'.
"Sweet Tooth" by Iain McEwen. Sort-of spy story, intriguingly put together. You have to pay attention.
"Walking on Glass" by Iain Banks. Re-read. I had given it to Avis, who had not read any Banks. Not a good choice, as it is a bit weird.
"1913" by Florian Illies. All the mad people in the Arts & what they were doing that year, biased to Central Europe, as the author is German. Crazy lot.
"Père Goriot" by Balzac. If you spoil your daughters, don't expect them to be grateful!
"Bring up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel. Part two of Thomas Cromwell & better than part one.
"We're all in it together" by Owen Wood. Excellent American lefty rant.
"Before she met me" by Julian Barnes. Outrageous tale of stupid, obsessive jealousy.
"A Possible Life" by Sebastian Faulks. Five stories about selfhood, vaguely connect. Excellent.

We went to all the RA & Tate exhibitions as usual.

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Contact: Ken Baldry or Avis Saltsman, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)020 7359 6294 or e-mail him or her
This page's URL: Last revised 1/12/2013 Copyright: Ken Baldry 2013 All rights reserved but print it off if you want to.