30 March 2006

renaissance, sliced onions and oil

It's not that I haven't been doing much, it's just that I haven't been writing about it.

So I jumped on the tube Tuesday morning, seeking enlightenment. Not in the traditional religious sense though; more of an intellectual aesthetic sense. On the way I discovered personal prejudice. I don't like bugs on the underground. I was standing, gripping the overhead rail listening to Aerosmith (weird, huh?) on my iPod and the guy on my left, trying to be macho and avoid holding on to the handrail, had a massive bug crawling over his back.

It may not have been that massive, but I thrive on hyperbole, so deal with it.

Anyway, I thought at first it was a spider. They tend to crawl on backs more often than normal bugs. But only six legs confirmed it was a bug. A strange bug; it looked like an ant but had a weird tortoise-shell pattern. I've not seen an ant like it. They're normally shiny. In any case, as Steve Tyler sang about love in an elevator (as cheesy rock as it is, any band that sings about fucking in an elevator kicks fucking arse in my book) I considered tube etiquette regarding fellow passengers and bugs. Should I tell the dude? Should I tap him on the shoulder and be like, "Dude, you've got a big bug on you - thought it was a spider but it looks more like an ant in camoflage" or should I keep my mouth shut?

I kept my mouth shut.

And then the love in an elevator became a dude lookin' like a lady. Weird fucking band.

But it struck me as terribly out of place, this ant. If it was an ant. Whatever it was, it looked more like it should have been scurrying from behind a garden plant and not on the tube. I don't know why, but it began to irk me. I'm sure there's an ecosystem within the London Underground - rats play a big part certainly - but I think this ant wasn't part of it. I think it had hitched the wrong ride. It must have been uncomfortable; about as home as a giraffe in the Yukon. It didn't belong.

But enough of ants.

The British Museum's Michaelangelo exhibition - more examples of true genius than you can shake an easel at - has generated a massive amount of press and has pundits falling over themselves to praise and pillory. I thought I'd check it out for myself, to see if the world's greatest interior decorator's (go fuck yourself Lawrence Llwellyn-Bowen) sketches were worthy of the heaps and heaps of praise they are receiving. Or, if in fact they were mostly fakes, as one iconoclastic critic has suggested. Well, they are indeed works of true genius, born of an incredible time of history. And the iconoclastic critic is more of a total moron IMHO.

Who am I kidding? My opinion's not that humble. The guy's a fucking idiot.

But go and see the exhibition. It's remarkable and humbling to see sketches that exhibit more genius than the finished work of many artists considered brilliant. His retirement project was designing St Peter's Basilica. Most people these days play golf and spoil their grandchildren.


My hands, no matter how many times I wash them, smell of garlic and onions at the moment. I chopped 3 kilos of onions yesterday, and crushed 3 heads of garlic. I have used a lot of soap. I am a clean individual. But I still smell of garlic. And onions. They reek.

Everyone should go and see Syriana. Exceptional, frightening and thought-provoking, it struck me far more than I thought it would.

I'm tired. And smell of onions and garlic.

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