–The exhibition of Cecil Beaton’s works relating to the Bright Young People of the 1920s has reopened in Sheffield. This was originally scheduled for exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London last spring but was forced to close after one week due to the coronavirus lockdown. It is now on exhibit at the Millennium Gallery of the Sheffield Museums. Here is their description:
Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things explores a deliriously eccentric, glamorous and joyful era of British cultural life during the 1920s and 30s through the lens of the renowned British photographer. The exhibition presents a dazzling leading cast of society figures, artists, writers and partygoers, each seen through the prism of Beaton’s portraits. Featuring 150 works, many of which are seldom exhibited, the images on display present a playful spectacle of costumed theatricality and unbridled creativity.
–Comedian Alexei Sayle is this week’s guest in BBC’s long-running radio series Desert Island Discs. Here is an excerpt of a summary he provided in a recent interview:
His chosen tracks included Joe Hill by Joan Baez, which had been sung at the funeral of his communist mother; Dizzee Rascal’s Bonkers, and the Battle Hymn Of The Soviet Air Force, technically known as the Aviators’ March, which he said would be the national anthem of the Tropical Socialist Republic Of Alexei Sayle he would set up on the fictional island.
His luxury item was a Chinese broadsword, both because he enjoys martial arts as a hobby but also because he could use it as a machete, and he chose Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour as his book…
This episode is available on BBC Radio 4 over the BBC iPlayer at this link.
–The Financial Times has a story about the welcome announcement that foreign travel is about to be reopened to the British people. The article is by Tom Robbins who thinks this is in general a good thing. Here’s an excerpt:
Not everyone is so delighted. The truth is that tourists have always been unpopular. […] By the latter half of the 19th century, tourists were already being likened to dumb animals, collectively described as herds, flocks or droves. Paradoxically, seeing the world was becoming an increasingly universal aspiration, the doublethink required enabled by an emerging distinction between the free-willed “traveller” and sheeplike tourist. “Every Englishman abroad, until it is proved to the contrary, likes to consider himself a traveller and not a tourist,” wrote Evelyn Waugh in 1930.
–In the Indiependent newspaper, Ed Bedford writes that the new adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love owes more to the 1981 Granada TV adaptations of Brideshead Revisited than to previous adaptations of Mitford’s novel:
Before going into the detail of these allusions, it is worth noting that some level of similarity is bound to occur as both Mitford and Waugh both had similar backgrounds, and were themselves writing about the same groups of people. What should be stressed is that the allusions this article covers are limited to this specific TV adaption. It would be a great disservice to think that Mitford’s novels are in any way derivative of Waugh’s.
The most apparent of these allusions can be found in the music. Most of the music choice is deliberately anachronistic, blending a range of time periods and styles to wonderful effect. One musical choice that stands out, however, is the use of Georges Delerue’s Le Grand Choral as the narrator Fanny first approaches and enters Alconleigh, the house of the decidedly eccentric Radlett family. As Fanny steps across the threshold, the melody includes a phrase that is uncannily similar to one of the main motifs of Geoffrey Burgon’s theme for the 1981 ITV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.
Other allusions discussed are the scenes where a cigarette is passed by Linda to Fanny and where Charle Ryder passes one to Julia Flyte and the mannerisms of Andrew Scott’s Lord Merlin compared to those of Anthony Blanche as portrayed by Nicholas Grace.
UPDATE (26 June 2021); Edits made in final entry relating to the recent Pursuit of Love BBC adaptation. Thanks to Ed Bedford for pointing out the errors.