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Monthly Archive for June, 2007

While Paris was in jail she told Barbara Walters, in a phone call, that ‘I have become more spiritual. God has given me this new chance.’ While this may not prove to be an enduring conversion, the avowal does efficiently illustrate how very few options there are in the American personalityscape. If, for example, an […]

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In ‘Stop-Time’, an autobiography by Frank Conroy that I am enjoying, the young Frank spends a few weeks on the streets of New York working a fruit-stall with his mother’s unreliable partner, sometime in the early 50s. He describes his absorption in the most basic tasks: “…I approached even the smallest transaction with the e´lan […]

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Pat & Viola

Jaye looks at Charlotte’s desk and giggles. “What’s funny?” I ask. “Charlotte keeps her desk very tidy,” she says. “Uhuh.” “Whenever she tidies something up she gives it a pat. She’ll tidy all the edges of a pile of paper then pat it.” Jaye mimes Charlotte’s pat and laughs a lot. Charlotte grins tolerantly. In […]

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Masquetry

There are two main types of shop in Venice. One sells glass, the other masks. The latter comprise both straight copies of traditional forms and less straightforward souvenirs of the elaborate masks worn at Carnival. The traditional masks were in use at least as early as the 15th Century and some of them were originally […]

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Fizzingly

The Orange Prize is held in the wholly refurbished Royal Festival Hall this year. The atmosphere is bubbly and the Taittinger is being liberally dispensed. Once your glass has less than three inches in it a nicely groomed young person is at your side within moments. “Would you like some more champagne?” “I really oughtn’t […]

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So Fast They Named It Once

On the Tube, an ad for Rennie Dual Action Tablets – they alleviate heartburn and indigestion. The slogan accompanying the image of someone’s stomach seen through their tee-shirt is ‘No Dual Action Product Works Faster’. This is, for a few seconds, confusing. The ad seems to be suggesting that, compared, say, to Single Action Products, […]

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Bunfight at Doge City

The streets are rammed. Passage through the alleys is gruelling – so many tourists are gazing into shop windows that the space left for getting through amounts to just a third of the alley’s width. Down in St Mark’s Square only vertical gazing is possible – the panoramic options are blocked out by thick clusters […]

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