Saturday 16 November 2013

Possessed by the devils

Wow, for an absolute clash of cultures, it's fascinating to read Melvyn Bragg's Telegraph piece about his friend Francis Bacon and then to read the comments 'below the line' (as we say in the blogosphere).

I love Radio 4's In Our Time, and can forgive Melvyn Bragg almost everything for the sake of it. Plus (as you may have noticed), I've something of a fondness for 'purple prose' myself. 

So, I rather enjoyed His (Labour) Lordship's ultra-ripe, poetic prose style in this Telegraph article. It strikes me as being pleasingly self-conscious in its intelligence, as well as being deliciously old-fashioned:
And there, the very pope of it all, Francis Bacon. Looking around. Up for anything. For everything. The champagne flute, the cigarette, the deadly eye, that Teddy Boy quiff, and the archly falling love curl on his forehead. His slow Thirties upper-class drawl did not quite disguise the rumble of Irish violent sex in the stables of his boyhood.
(I suspect Jeanette Winterson would approve too).

Then you read the comments. So disrespectful, so vibrant, so modern, so funny. Everyone hates Melv & everyone hates Bacon. (Mmmm, bacon!)

Lord Bragg seems like a left-wing voice from the past. Those commenters are clearly part of the right-wing present.

So how to do I feel about all this? 

Well, I'm right-wing myself, but I'll admit to feeling some sympathy for poor lefty Melvyn here.

He's someone who refuses to dumb down, who loves the English language, who shows an omnivorous curiosity for all manner of subjects (scientific, historical, cultural, philosophical, religious), and who presents the finest programme on BBC Radio 4. 

So I will continue to cut him some slack - even if the commentariat at the Telegraph won't. The rapscallions!

1 comment:

  1. Agreed 100%
    Bragg at his best is a brilliant seminar-type of thinker that brings out the best in his guests on "In Our Time".
    He`s a decent cove and is just about the last of the grammar school intellectuals who still has a faith of a kind.
    Bit smug?...hypocritical at times?...yes...but still as good as BBC public life still tolerates.
    Enjoy him now-before the barbarians like Russell Brand and Laurie Penney become the new standard-bearers for a culture that won`t be worth anything but a Sharia fatwa(and-to be honest-probably deserved by then)


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