Francois Truffaut and Jeanne Moreau on the sets of Jules et Jim (1961). Photos by Raymond Cauchetier.
“I don’t give a toss about pressure. I spent afternoon sleeping & playing Playstation. Then I went out & won the World Cup.”
The madness and genius of Andrea Pirlo.
So much love. Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin and little Charlotte Gainsbourg, 1970.
— Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse
The pictures of the slain AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus
i) U.S. Marines gather at Camp Commando in the Kuwait desert during a Christmas eve visit by Santa Claus
ii) Britsh Prime Minister David Cameron and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond celebrate as Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon
The green fairy seduces a cafe patron in Viktor Oliva’s classic The Absinthe Drinker (1901), currently at the Slavia Cafe in Prague.
Jackie Gleason, 1944. Photo by Elliott Erwitt.
Hiroshige (1797-1858), Owl on a Maple Branch in the Full Moon, 1832.
On The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan:
They say God takes care of fools and drunks. If so, he’s been working overtime the last few decades taking care of Shane MacGowan. As the frontman and principal songwriter of the Irish rock band the Pogues, MacGowan is as famous for his lyrics and whiskey-timbered voice as for his unlikely longevity, despite a Homeric appetite for intoxicating substances, especially, but not limited to, alcohol.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, reports of MacGowan’s impending demise were so frequent that English author Tim Bradford felt compelled to write a book called Is Shane MacGowan Still Alive? No one, not even MacGowan, takes talk of his mortality seriously anymore. “For the last 35 years I’ve supposed to have been dead in six months,” he has said. “But when all these bastards say you’re going to be dead in six months it tends to give you an incentive not to be… . Let’s face it, I’ve got a charmed life. I’m a lucky bastard, know what I mean?” Whether luck, God, or some combination of the two is responsible for MacGowan’s Promethean tolerance for self-abuse, he has nonetheless been deservedly celebrated for the vivid originality of his songwriting, for which he has often been called Ireland’s greatest living poet. Indeed, his best writing evokes the poetry of William Blake, whose claim that “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” has served as a road-map for MacGowan’s public career.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Joan Didion and her Corvette Stingray, LA 1972. Photo by Julian Wasser.
The wisdom of Joan Didion from the essay collection Slouching Towards Bethelem (1968) :
I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.
"Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like giving a hand grenade to a baby."
Norman Mailer on Diane Arbus, who took this portrait of him.
Portraits of Felix Feneon by Paul Signac and Felix Valloton, and cover of Feneon’s classic Novels in Three Lines.
Julian Barnes lists the achievements of the great, unsung Feneon:
Art critic, art dealer, owner of the best eye in Paris as the century turned, promoter of Seurat, the only galleryist Matisse ever trusted; journalist, ghost-writer for Colette’s Willy, literary adviser then chief editor of the Revue Blanche; friend of Verlaine, Huysmans and Mallarmé, publisher of Laforgue, editor and organiser of Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations; publisher of Joyce and translator of Northanger Abbey.
Farewell Alain Resnais. Stills from the great Resnais classic Hiroshima mon amour (1959)
“I talked with a sex adviser who told me, when you have a couple where, I don’t know if the guy’s impotent or whatever, the worst thing to do is to give him some bullshit like, “Don’t think about, just do it, spontaneously.” This is where you kill him. He told me one way to do it—and he told me it works with couples—is to tell them to imitate a purely externalized bureaucratic procedure. Like, you want to make love, okay, sit down with your partner and make a Stalinist plan. First (she says), your fingers, then put your hand on my breasts. No (he says) put your finger into my ass, not there. You get totally caught in these bureaucratic negotiations. And then usually somebody says, “Fuck it, why don’t we just fuck, let’s go.”
I recall, for example, Flaubert saying that it is splendid to be a writer, to put men into the frying pan of your imagination and make them pop like chestnuts; St. Augustine confessing that even he could not comprehend God’s purpose in creating flies; Beckett telling about a character in his early novel Murphy whom the cops took in for begging without singing, and who was jailed for ten days by the judge; Victor Shklovsky, recounting how he once heard the great Russian poet Mayakovski claim that black cats produce electricity while being stroked; Emily Dickinson saying in a letter, It is lonely without birds today, for it rains badly, and the little poets have no umbrellas; Flannery O’Connor describing a young woman as having a face as broad and as innocent as a cabbage and tied around with a green handkerchief that had two points on the top like rabbit ears; and many other such small and overlooked delights.
How gorgeous is this?