Roundup: From Ocean Liners to The Fiddlers Elbow

The V&A is running an exhibit on Ocean Liners, which remains open until 17 June. Rosemary Hill has written an article about it in the London Review of Books. She discusses the history of luxury liners back to the prewar age that preceded the “modern” style that was introduced after WWI and reached its apogee in the 1930s:

Most modern of all was the Orion, designed by Brian O’Rorke for the Orient Line in 1934. O’Rorke declared war on ‘plush and chintz’, instead using Bakelite, chrome and fabrics by Marion Dorn. The Orion was ‘the first British ship to truly adopt modernist principles’ and was probably what Evelyn Waugh had in mind in Brideshead Revisited: ‘Yards and yards of biscuit-coloured wood … that had been bent round corners … blotting paper carpet’ all ‘designed perhaps by a sanitary engineer’.

The U & Non-U story continues in the “N.B.” column of the TLS. In the latest installment the  columnist “J, C.” or James Campbell discovers that the series has had a noticeable impact on the prices for used copies of Nancy Mitford’s book Noblesse Oblige. The series began when Campbell found a “perambulatory” copy of a 1959 Penguin at a book stall for £3. When a friend asked him if he could find aother copy, Campbell looked online and the best he could do was a Penguin 1960 second printing for £25. Other copies on ABE varied from £34.99 up to £400 depending on the edition. This would suggest that, contrary to what many believe, the power of the press continues to exert itself. Thanks to a reader for passing this along. Maybe a new “print-on-demand” or digital edition will suggest itself to some canny publishing house.

The Leicestershire Times reports that a panel at Loughborough University will address the subject of “Art Portraiture & Biography.” This will consist of Alastair Adams, Dr Barbara Cooke and Sarah Parker dicsussing how the artist or writer tries to capture the essence of the individual. Dr Cooke teaches at Loughborough and is Co-Execuive Editor of the CWEW. Her edition of Waugh’s autobiography was among the first Collected Works volumes published and more recently she has written a book entitled Evelyn Waugh’s Oxford published by the Bodleian Library. Alastair Adams is an artist and is a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters while Sarah Parker also teaches at Loughborough, with a special subject of women’s poetry. Admission is free. Here are the details:

Wed 6 June 2018
6pm – 7.30pm
Leonard Dixon Studio, Martin Hall
Loughborough University, LE11 3TU

Dr Cooke’s book Evelyn Waugh’s Oxford is reviewed by Lauren de Lisle in the latest issue of The Tablet (you may need to register to read a copy):

The elephant in the room, which Barbara Cooke addresses in the first few pages, is that Waugh only spent two and a half years at Oxford. And yet, spiritually, he never left – it was “the place he inhabited, literally, during his student years and, artistically, for the rest of his life”. The first half of the book looks at how Waugh depicted Oxford in his works. The second, much stronger – and brought to life by Amy Dodd’s beautiful, characterful illustrations – is a kind of literary tour of the city, describing places that held particular resonance for Waugh.

The review notes that Dr Cooke extends her consideration of Waugh’s Oxford writings beyond Brideshead to include those in his autobiography. While de Lisle has a few reservations relating to Cooke’s writing, she concludes that “this is still a fascinating exploration of the effect which man and city had on each other.”

From Spain comes news that actor/musician Javier Garruchaga and his Mondragon Orchestra have released a 42-track recording called ¡Noticia Bomba!  This release is on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the orchestra. During that period they have made several recordings and Garruchaga has appeared in numerous films, TV programs and films. He explains in a press report on (a Spanish entertainment guide): “It is also a tribute to Evelyn Waugh’s humorous novel of the 30s, which is very appropriate for these lively and sensational times in which we live.” He is referring to Scoop which was published in Spanish as ¡Noticia Bomba! (Translation by Google.)

Finally, in the British music website of the Camden NW5 venue The Fiddlers Elbow, a newly formed band based in Bath and self-described as a “Piano Punk Trio playing cool music for uncool people” is seeking fans with special qualifications:

The Wedlocks are warm-hearted, sensitive and up for a good time. They’re looking for someone who shares their love of post war literature and Shostakovich’s Jazz efforts. Must be hip enough to quote the works of Evelyn Waugh but not in a way that might prompt jealousy or self-doubt. Must also be ok with band bios being written in the form of lonely hearts ads.

They are scheduled at The Fiddlers Elbow on 20 May 2018.


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