Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Of course I'd prefer it if you bought someone an Eritrean donkey for Christmas (believe me, we tried some time back, but the organisation was not as user-friendly as it might have been). If, however, you must go in for seasonal merchandise, do it in style and visit my friend Cressida Bell's online shop.
Cressida had an open studio weekend in her Hackney enclave, as always. We dropped in on Sunday. Having indulged myself on the previous visit with a very bright tie, I bought the godson one this year from the wacky range of monuments (his isn't among this batch, so if he sees this entry and he doesn't like the one I got him, the artist will swap it).
Otherwise, there's a bright range of cushion covers, scarves and lampshades.
Yes, it's in the Bloomsbury line but not, I think, too derivative. And this year Cressida has produced what I think is her best card ever, a Ravilious-style view of rooftops, hills and sea inspired by her mother's stamping ground on the South Downs. Must go and see the Raviliouses in Eastbourne, and we're planning a trip to exotic Bedford for the Edward Bawden exhibition.
Alternative to the Bell Shop, if you're looking for something cheap and cheerful: how about a nice bunch of sprouts, fresh from Loddon?
World AIDS Day, I'm embarrassed to say, almost passed me by yesterday. But we're mindful in a way, revisiting Mike Nichols's stupendously well acted film of Tony Kushner's now-classic Angels in America.
The human complexity of all the characters, led by what must be Al Pacino's greatest performance ever as Roy Cohn, made it hard to watch the Coen Brothers' new film, A Serious Man. This, too, is well acted, and the cinematography is good as ever, but why the cardboard cut-out goodies/baddies? Surely it isn't interesting to choose as your hero a man to whom things just happen? Take away the local trimmings, and A Serious Man is just another of those movies about a dysfunctional American household. Its start never links to the leap-forward in time, and it ends just as purposelessly. I couldn't have cared less.