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Culture and yoghurt

October 14, 2014

The appreciation of culture has never being my strong suit. I would normally prefer to be assaulted by the culture in a slightly mouldy yoghurt than to visit an art gallery, and although I can appreciate proper painting by the likes of Rembrandt, most art leaves me cold. All so-called examples of modern art are also examples of the artists fooling most of the people most of the time. In recent times charlatans like Banksy, Hirst and Emin have done a brilliant job of fooling the majority, but there is a long and cluttered history of “artists” who have fooled their contemporaries and the generations that  have followed them into thinking they are talented. One of my favourite examples of this mass illusionment are most of the paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, almost entirely embarrassing daubs, to which I would not give house room, even in the smallest room in my house.

So it was with some surprise and with a good deal of unease, that I accepted an invitation to go on a walking and culture weekend in St Remy De Provence, the place where Van Gogh did a lot of his painting and was (understandably in my opinion) detained in a lunatic asylum before he shot himself at a mercifully young age. It is a club run by Distressed Aristocracy (his words, not mine), Conde Naste Provence expert, and impossible smoothie Anthony “Dock Of The” Bay. It was my suspicion that the invitation had been extended to me by mistake, a slip of the metaphorical email as it were. On that basis, I decided that, if for devilment only, I would accept. After all, the chance to employ my council-house sense of artistic integrity, ranged against a host of public schoolboys all happily fooled by the emperors new clothes, and in the seat of where many of these crappy canvases were created was too enticing to refuse.

About 20 people met up at a bull farm last Friday for dinner which consisted of bull stew. I expected this to be followed by a load of bullshit about Mr Van Gogh and other dreadful daubers who had spent time in this beautiful part of Provence, but little of note surfaced, except for another FC Exchange prospect, one that will allow me to submit a rather hopeful claim to my accountant to set the costs of the whole weekend against expenses. I could not conjure the proverbial red rag to commence a discussion, due mainly I think to the arrival of the grappa.

walking in Provence

The Appiles in Provence

A spectacular walk on the Saturday of about 8km through the Alpilles, a picture of which I show today, was worth the whole trip. Temperatures in the mid 20’s, warm for the time of year, enhanced the magical beauty of the trek. Before that we had visited (me with much trepidation – they had no bar for me to idle away time whilst others took in the art) Carriers du Lumieres, literally quarry in light at Les Baux des Provence and I have to say it was a magnificent spectacle. A light show of formidably proportions in a covered stone quarry some 200 feet high and projected onto dozens of walls. It is the kind of place Pink Floyd might have used to promote a new album. The subject was the art of Klimt and Vennes, but and here I must register some disappointment, I saw not one reference to Dirty Harry. There was the Cocteau Cafe, but not one underwater experience to enjoy. When I mentioned this to our leader, I was told I was a Philistine, but I have never been interested in collecting stamps. I don’t think I shall ever fully understand the art world

Chris France


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