Chrissie Hynde

Chrissie Hyndes

‘I just like drawing and making stuff’: Chrissie Hynde in her studio at her London flat. Photograph: Gabby Laurent.

Rock stars becoming painters remains one the most cliched career transitions in showbiz… Hynde has reservations about entering this gang. “I mean, who the fuck am I? There’s so many people who’ve been doing this all their lives and they can’t get a gallery… and then muggins walks in, dabbles for a couple of years and the next thing, here’s a big fuck-off box set of her paintings!” She laughs at herself, although she’s not a phoney, she says. “I’m really doing this shit. But yeah, I’m embarrassed by it. Of course I am!”

(Jude Rogers, “Chrissie Hynde: ‘It’s hard work being alone. Paintings are an outlet,'” The Guardian, 11-4-18)

(c) 2018 JMN.

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Judith Kazantzis

Judith Kazantzis

Judith Pakenham in 1962 in London with her then-fiancé Alexander Kazantzis. In a career that spanned nearly four decades, she published 12 collections of poetry, numerous essays and a novel. Credit Keystone/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images.

Ms. Kazantzis wrote in free verse, her language intelligent but not didactic, powerful but not polemic. It could be witty, with traces of sarcasm. She portrayed women as complex, to correct literature’s pigeonholing them in one-dimensional characterizations as goddess or villain.

(Iliana Magra, “Judith Kazantzis, British Feminist Poet and Activist, Dies at 78,” NYTimes, 11-4-18)

(c) 2018 JMN.

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Lineman’s Whine

JMN2017 Woman With Automatic, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in. (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.

JMN2017 Woman With Automatic, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in. (c) 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.

My love goes deeper than a Ditch Witch pokes,
And higher than a cherry-picker soars.
But I done caught you, darlin’, way ‘cross town
Spendin’ my money in the Dollar Stores.

Baloney, rotgut wine, Chef Boyardee,
Bags of super-jumbo cotton puffs,
Oh Henrys, Mike-‘n-Ikes, and frozen pies —
Enough’s enough. Damn! lovin’ you is tough!

Why oh why can’t you make do with me?
What’s in my pickup truck that you can’t find?
I’m right here for you, darlin’, Texas strong,
But hurtin’ bad now where the sun don’t shine!

Pigs feet, boiled goober peas, corn mush ‘n greens,
Ole Shep bayin’ at the moon, while me and you
Sop our plates plumb clean, then shuck our shorts,
Hear cricket song and do what lovers do.

(Reprise verse 1)


(c) 2018 JMN.

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“Glenn Gould’s Scribbles”

Glenn Gould Scribbles

Gould’s score for the ninth and 10th variations.Credit Bonhams.

Those scribbles? That’s Glenn Gould, scratching on his sheet music as he recorded Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations in 1981. We reported this week on the newly rediscovered score, which offers some insights — barely legible ones — into Gould’s process and will be put up for auction next month. (Estimate: $100,000 to $150,000.)

(Zachary Woolfe, “Glenn Gould’s Scribbles: The Week in Classical Music,” NYTimes, 11-2-18)

(c) 2018 JMN.

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The Young Woman and the Sea

Susan Smillie

‘I decided I would turn left at Land’s End instead of right and leave Brexit Britain behind’: Susan Smillie takes the helm. Photograph: Cat Vinton for the Observer.

I’d worried about being lonely in France. I needn’t have. Brittany is the epicentre of sailing and everyone was interested in my journey. “You are taking on the nose of Brittany!?! By yourself? In this leetle boat?” This reaction became common, so rare are solo female sailors. I laughed when someone in Portugal introduced themselves, “I heard about you in Spain” – and when a harbour-master gestured to the cabin, nodding, “Do you have a man down there?” … I’ve had so much respect along the way (and size does matter – I love when sailors emerge from enormous yachts, all thumbs-up in recognition of the challenge of sailing a small boat – Isean is under 8m). And I’ve had untold support – there’s this international community of self-sufficient problem-solvers on the water, almost always ready to help – because everyone knows what it’s like to be in trouble at sea.

(Susan Smillie, “Setting sail: one woman’s year alone at sea,” The Guardian, 11-4-18)

(c) 2018 JMN.

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1987: Afterlife of “A Fable”

Adverbs Ahead

CAUTION! Bumptiousness

To HH & C(B)B
Dear Both:

Thank you. I’m dazzled… and a little chastened… that all or even some of this afflatus (re yours of today) should have been wrung from an Equity [computer]. As it happens, C’s afflatus looks wrung from something else, but that’s no matter…

HH, have you sat on your <Help> key too long? The persona in your “Things Passed” is the product of a fecund, associative, urbane, demented hemidemisemiquaverer… I’m reminded of a colleague in English literature who was reputed to let an article every morning before breakfast…

C(B)B, the Proustian assonances of your untitled fragment do not redeem its filthiness. That much can be said for it. But if you’re going to write that sort of thing, be more explicit. The “dark, gothic prairie,” for instance, is clearly your protagonist. How “dark”? How “gothic”? It matters.

I’ve made minor but significant emendations to the computerscript of “Fable.” I’m considering signing the piece “A Victoria County Writer,” though certain of the evocations are drawn from beyond the county line. This is probably the only real dilemma left to resolve before I mail the CS of “Fable” to Farrar, Straus, Giroux. They’re not hounding me yet, thank goodness, being unaware I exist, but I feel overdue.

Will this be the last episode of “The Literati Cavort”? Who nose?


(c) 2018 JMN.

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“The Good Witch of Park Avenue”

Agnes Gund

Agnes Gund at her home in Manhattan. Credit Brad Ogbonna for The New York Times.

The death of David Rockefeller in 2017 at the age of 101 also helped fortify Ms. Gund’s legend. With him gone, she has become the good witch of Park Avenue, torchbearer for the obligation of the rich in an era dominated by vanity and hypocrisy.

“With a lot of these philanthropists, you don’t know what the motives are or whether they’re going to be indicted in the next week,” said James Reginato, a writer at large at Vanity Fair. “Aggie personifies class in the old sense of the word. She’s unbesmirched by any kind of taint like so many of them….”

(Jacob Bernstein, “Is Agnes Gund the Last Good Rich Person?” NYTimes, 11-3-18)

(c) 2018 JMN.

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