The Diary: Jose Maria Cano's townhouse dinner; The Big Chill; looted treasure; The Lost Girls; Glastonbury
Friday 05 June 2009
Fish supper fails to feed the multitude
Jose Maria Cano, the one-time band member of 1980s pop combo, Mecano, and latter-day visual artist, invited 40 people round to his townhouse in Campden Hill Square (in one of the most exclusive enclaves of west London, and where the walls are lined with paintings by Basquiat and Schnabel) for dinner this week, after the private view of his latest show, La Tauromaquia, at Riflemaker Gallery, which was visited by such friends as the actor Joseph Fiennes and the architect David Chipperfield. Such a hot ticket it was, when a buffet dinner of salmon steaks, salad and pesto pasta arrived on the dinner table, some of the hungry guests were left holding empty plates. By 11pm, as some were still waiting to eat, one of the kitchen helpers was seen rushing up the staircase with a shopping bag. Another helper explained the problem to the guests: "We were told to cook for 40 but there are many more here...!" Thank heavens for the 24-hour Tesco at Holland Park.
Dead can dance
Revellers at that mega-music-festival, The Big Chill, could star in a zombie movie in a record-breaking attempt at audience participation. Thousands will get the chance to have a zombie makeover for a shoot of the Film4 and Warp Films mockumentary, "I Spit On Your Rave", set nine years in the future when mankind is extinct after a virus is released at the 2012 Olympics. Zombies have taken over the world but they are still partial to a summer festival. Film-makers hope to enter the Guinness World Records.
It has been quite a week for Brits returning looted treasure. First, police gave back to the Iranian government hundreds of tiles, which had been removed from the ancient tomb of of Sultan Shihab al-Din Sultan Ahmad in Northern Iran, and had appeared at Bonham's auction house in London. Auctioneers had become suspicious of their provenance and handed them back. Also, Eton College has returned 450 antiquities to Egypt after an Egyptologist's family donated them in 2006, without export permission.
Graphic detail in case of 'The Lost Girls'
Two months ago, I ordered a graphic novel, 'The Lost Girls' by Alan Moore, on the Amazon website, after reading that a coalition of artists and MPs were worried the government plans to introduce laws which could ban these works. 'The Lost Girls' – an erotic story in which Alice (Wonderland) and Dorothy (from Oz) discuss their sexual awakenings with Wendy (Peter Pan) – was in the firing line. Amazon delayed my order and then the website said the book had been "discontinued". A spokesman said that wasn't the case. But the order was still unavailable. So it's crystal clear, then. They're selling it but they're not.
Music, beer and maths
This year, the Glastonbury Festival is rolling out a literary tent in the hope that festival-goers may want to sit down and listen to a lecture on the science of fire (by the novelist, Gavin Pretor-Pinney) or mull over the peculiarities of the mathematical movement, 'Dozenalism' in a talk delivered by journalist Alex Bellos, or perhaps listen to Tom Hodgkinson (from 'The Idler' magazine) speak on anarchy in the middle ages. Festival founder, Michael Eavis, will open the 'Free University of Glastonbury', which will hold nine events through the weekend. I wonder just how populated this 'university' will be...
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