Thursday 11 August, 2022


Believe it or not, they were waiting for the Tour de France the year it started in Cambridge.

Quote of the Day

”Technology is a great servant but a terrible master.”

  • Sherry Turkle

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Vivaldi | Concerto For Lute And Plucked Strings | I. Moderato | DZO Chamber Orchestra


We watched Wes Anderson’s magical film The Grand Budapest Hotel the other night and went to bed with bits of the soundtrack running through our heads. Hence this choice. One of the most striking things about the film is Robert Yeoman’s stunning cinematography. Time and again one sees shots that, if printed as stills, would win awards in photographic exhibitions.

Long Read of the Day

Seriously Susan

This piece by Melinda Harvey in the Sydney Review of Booksis an illuminating review of Benjamin Moser’s biography of Susan Sontag. What I loved about it is the freshness of the literary form she adopted for the review — an adaptation of the catechismic approach James Joyce famously deployed at one point in Ulysses.

– What do we want from biography?

Facts, certainly. Names, dates, places. What happened. Some setting of the record straight.

– More than that.

To go back in time. To see the individual in their context.

– More than that.

For the act of reading to take on the intimacy of a meeting. For the page to become flesh.

– More than even that.

To go inside. To understand what made a person tick.

– What made Susan Sontag tick?

According to Benjamin Moser, an alcoholic mother. But there was also a dead father and a desert childhood – both senses. What made Susan tick might have been shame.

– Why ‘shame’?

You get the idea. Read on to get the full impact.

David McCullough RIP

NYT obituary

Wonderful writer. I loved his histories of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Panama Canal, and his biography of Harry Truman. All still on my shelves.

My commonplace booklet

 Joël Robuchon’s Legacy Explained in Eight Dishes

How to make mashed potatoes into a work of art, plus seven other secrets of the Michelin trade. Heaven for foodies. But for us lesser beings, life’s too short.


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