Van Morrison at 70: back on the corner again

Van Morrison at 70: back on the corner again

In his Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke advised the aspiring versifier to mine their childhood as a source of poetry: ‘that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories’. Probably no songwriter has taken that injunction to heart more than Van Morrison, who literally returned to his roots on his 70th birthday at the end of August by performing a concert on Cyprus Avenue, a location of mythic significance in the world of back streets and mystic avenues that he created in song. Continue reading “Van Morrison at 70: back on the corner again”

John Piper: the shape and tilt of rocks

John Piper: the shape and tilt of rocks

Our main purpose in popping over to Manchester last week was to see the John Piper exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery.  Piper is an artist whose work I admire, but I have to admit that this exhibition – The Mountains of Wales – left me a little  underwhelmed.  Or maybe that should be overwhelmed? The Whitworth has brought together a large selection of paintings and drawings, all from a private collection, depicting mountains and rocks.  The trouble is that, taken together, the note sung by these works is a dark monotone: predominantly greys, browns and blacks with occasional splashes of colour.  As David Fraser Jenkins says in the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, ‘Not one of the drawings looks as if it has been made on a sunny day.’ Continue reading “John Piper: the shape and tilt of rocks”