Monday, 22 June 2009

Hazard's riposte

No free lunch in the cultural sector, Dan? How about an affordable brunch? And although I no longer smoke and rarely drink, I have no problem with banning its public collateral damage. Man has a right to poison himself in private! But that you can be bored by Finland, Sweden and Denmark astonishes me. In my European retirement, I’ve spent almost as much time in Scandinavia as in the rest of Europe. What are you smoking, Dan? Gauloises?

I grew up in Detroit, relishing Eliel Saarinen at Cranbrook, and later his son Eero at the GM Tech Center. Now I scour Finland for more Aalto.

True, jazz grew out of coping with black misery in the Mississippi Delta, but Benny Goodman picked up his clarinet in a mainly benign Chicago and got along with Louie Armstrong. And take Proust’s madeleines away and he’d find something else to munch on deeply and retroactively.

Are you going to blame Mozart’s 600-plus works on Austrian oppression? And Beethoven’s glory on his deafness? Surely there must be a via media between Hobbes and Norman Vincent Peale.

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