LIFE IN VENICE
I’m not saying I’m a republican, but I made a bid for freedom over the recent Jubilee festivities and flew to Venice with the firm intention of ‘doing some painting’. Arriving in a thunderstorm with a sky the colour of squid ink and the lagoon an opaque green marble prompted a rethink and a long lunch. The next day’s sun and light breeze might have been ideal for working ‘en plein air’, but by then I had a list of exhibitions to see; Picasso’s Vollard etchings, Klimt’s darkly glittering portraits and sketches, and an homage to Diana Vreeland at the magnificently melancholy Palazzo Fortuny. Culture needs considering, so afterwards I headed to Harry’s Bar, via the Caffé Florian, to take stock. More displacement activity followed; you can’t go to Venice without visiting the Peggy Guggenheim collection. Her Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal houses the self-confessed art addict’s 20th century master works. I am no fan of her long-term paramour Max Ernst, but the Motherwell, the Klee, the Picasso and the Henry Moore in the sculpture garden are their own reward. So it continued and by the end of my stay I still hadn’t put pen to paper. Instead, I turned to the late artist Glynn Boyd Harte’s beguiling book on Venice which encapsulates everything I had intended to do, better than I could ever do it.
STILL MAD FOR IT
Let joy be unconfined! Mad Men is back and, for obsessives like me, there could be no better news. The fifth series finds Don Draper still king of the ring and sharing a Manhattan penthouse (Don was never at ease in suburbia) with his Jane Birkin-esque bride, Megan.