Holburne Museum in Bath currently has a 'special exhibition' of Rossetti's Portraits, and they really are something special. Dante Gabriel Rossetti has been my favourite of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood ever since 2009 when Aiden Turner took that role in the brilliant TV series Desperate Romantics - see right - but the gentle, generous sketches of his friends which are among the portraits displayed actually suggest a far more sensitive personality than the BBC's portrayal. Certainly he had a passion for red-heads, and after the laudanum-overdose death of Elizabeth Siddal ("accidentally and casually and by misfortune" the official verdict decided) he become infatuated with Jane Morris, pictured above. In modern eyes these paintings may not look unconventional, but they flouted the Royal Academy's norms as established by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in their vibrance, detail, and subject matter.
(late addenda - can't resist adding Mick's reciprocal snap, which also shows the exhibition stands much better than mine:
On the music scene, autumn has begun with a flurry of gig cancellations, as cautiously-emerging bands have had to recognise what our alleged leader currently doesn't: that the 'new normal' will always trump careful planning. So it was great to catch the fabulous Hot Club de Frome playing hi-energy jazzy blues at Lotte's Bar on Wednesday night.
In a different genre, Frome musician John Law, nationally esteemed for his 'kaleidoscopic fusion of jazz, rock, electronica and classical,' performed his new composition CONGREGATION at the Wiltshire Music Centre, offering a sumptuous taster here. The full session is still available on livestream here.
And it's not yet too wet, or cold, for walking the lanes: hips and berries are doing their jazzy thing all around the hedgerows, and a sunset walk to Marston Park offered the usual superb lake views.
This post was originally planned to conclude with the poem Begin, in homage to Irish poet Brendan Kennelly who died on Sunday, but because those inspiring words have been shared here previously (and because you can read it here - or hear the poet read it here ) instead here's the poem which last week won its teenage author, Giovanni Rose, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, beating over 6,000 young poets from all over the world - and showing why we need poets.
Welcome to TottenhamWhere we wake up to the smell of 'Chick king',mixed with the odour of the corpse from the night before.Where we cover our blood stained streets with dried up gum,Where kids have holes in their last pairs of shoes,Where daddy left mummy and mummy’s left poor.Welcome to Tottenham.Where if you look like me then it’s harder for you,Where everybody’s equal unless they’re darker than you.Where the police see colour before they see the crime,Where children get stopped and searched and aren’t allowed to ask why.Welcome to Tottenham.Where the drugs addicts sit at the back of the 149.Where education and sports are the only ways to shine.Where we ride around on stolen scooters,Where we can’t afford tuition so the streets are our tutors.Welcome to Tottenham.I love but I hate my home,I still listen to the voicemails of my dead peers in my phone,I live in a nightmare. I had to learn how to dream,Welcome to Tottenham.The devil’s playground.We fight over streets we don’t own,Knife crimes on the rise because the beef can’t be left alone.Why does no one understand that we just want our youth clubs back,Why do they claim they’re not racist but label the violence here black?