Not that this rum was aged excessively long but I found this bottle in my cellar the other day (I must have forgotten it down there when moving to this place), and it certainly does have a certain patina to it. I shall ascertain quite soon whether the contents are still palatable and potable or not!
I played lots of it in my earlier teenage-years but differently to skiing I somehow was never too good at it- not that I didn't enjoy it. Maybe that is why everyone wanted to play with me. We mainly played on sand or on a 'carpet' hard-court (when we were indoors) where I wore those strange shoes without any profile on them at all!
An expert in many fields like chess, pistol-shooting or hunting, Lord Dunsany was also a pioneer in the then-budding genre of fantastic literature.He especially impresses me with his short stories and smaller pastiches like his Book of Wonder or 51 Tales. His collected tales of Jorkens that the protagonist tells to fellow members of his London club are more classic straightforward adventure-stories maybe better befitting readers who are more 'realistically' inclined.
…is stance, correct and beautiful poise. Why be content with merely having appealing physical features and tasteful accoutrements?
The best general/neutral stance to be used e.g. when waiting for the train, the plane, the conference to begin, for Godot (*spit*) or Ragnarök to commence is this one: Michelangelo’s David. Lower your left arm and instead of letting it hover over your shoulder, look at your stupid i-phone or something!
I was originally taught –amongst others by Elmayer- that neutral stance ought to be one foot forward, slightly upliftingly balanced on the heel (‘relaxed leg’) and the other (‘supporting leg’) straight and firmly planted to the ground like on this Demosthenes which is correct, certainly, but less elegant in my opinion. Then I’d rather prefer the half-striding stance as exemplified by the Augustus of Primaporta (now don’t say you don’t know it!) or- also excellent- the Doryphoros by Polyklet.
So next time you go down to the Musei Vanticani, the Academia or the Bargello, or even just your local glyptotheque, look at all the statues in this new way and learn from them!
A short run-down of the balls in Vienna and their present status:
Opera Ball: this is one of the few white-tie-only affairs worldwide but- apart from imperial times- has had its high during the Cold War especially in the earlier 70s when Vienna even more than now was the meeting place for spies, terrorists and diplomats of all couleurs. Then, also Seikhs and top politicians paid it a visit; today it's more concentrated on local entrepreneurs, the newly rich and on minor celebrities although the first row of the political intelligentsia of Austria will still be present.
These are the best or most fun ones:
Kaffeesiederball (Ball of the cafetiers)
Philharmonica Ball (Ball of the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra held at the Musikverein), this is the most elegant and refined one; partly, what the Opera Ball once was in terms of visitors with status as well as prestige, has wandered off to this affair.
Jägerball (Hunter's Ball at the Hofburg) this is the most fun one and the only occasion when the 'No Trachten in town'-rule could be broken: it is the carnival-season, after all. Admittedly, even many who are no hunters get into their green or grey outfits or in case of the girls- their Dirndl-dresses- and get it on; throw in a good mixture of Kimonos, Saris and military officers' uniforms for a splendid evening. This has the best looking girls and is favoured and heavily frequented by the Golden Youth/Jeunesse Dorée of Vienna.
There is also the Kaiserball held at the Hofburg on New Years' Eve that is mostly visited by rich Americans and Asians (I once went there, too and got immensely drunk on champagne), and balls of the various professions, groups, clubs and segments of society like the tobacconists, the bakers' or the officers balls. As I mentioned somewhere in this spot, I am leading a more reclusive life right now and although I never was a great dancer I still went to a few in my time and had great fun. So, I'm passing the baton on to you- come over and visit one or a couple of them and enjoy the crazy festivities!
Like any aspiring young man and woman in Viennese society I went to dancing school at the age of 15. In those days there actually only was one option and that was Elmayer. Recently the young Mr. E. has fallen a bit from grace due to his modernistic escapades but then it was the only school that with its main instructor, Mr. H., oversaw the Viennese Opera Ball whose debutants it trained; and it was the only one that held its annual ball at the Hofburg. Furthermore, it described itself as an institution that would teach not only dancing but also the higher forms of etiquette.
So two of my friends from school and I donned our navy blue suits, (mostly ugly) ties, white shirts and black Italian shoes, took with us our white cotton gloves that were compulsory, too and went off. Apart from commiting the slight faux-pas of playing with my dancing-partners' bra at the back of her dress the first night (not out of sexual desire but because I was concentrating so much on getting the steps right and absentmindedly fingered around there) all went well for the first couple of times.
We more or less learned the few standard dances and how to correctly hand-kiss but none of us went on to become a great dancer. I believe this was conditioned by the fact that we- after 4 weeks of our three-month course- instead of further attending class, chose to frequent certain unwholesome drinking-dens and night clubs.
Rilke who really is one of my favourite poets was actually so good at his art that he could make a verse out of any topic may it have been as quotidian or as banal as it could be (Ovid with his, well, boast of ‘whatever I wrote, it came out as verse’ comes to mind, right?)- and this using either a good rhyme or correct meter and an adequate rhythm and thereby elevating and sublimating it; but this at times had the effect that a few of his efforts seem inadvertently comical to me. And: of course I don’t have an example of this. Read him and find out for yourself! It’s quite pleasurable, too.
"If I could create an ideal world, it would be an England with the fire of the Elizabethans, the correct taste of the Georgians, and the refinement and pure ideals of the Victorians." (H.P. Lovecraft in a letter to James F. Morton, April 1 1927)
I also have some other Japanese prints and paintings but this is an old heirloom from my great-grand uncle. Hanging above my writing desk it's a depiction of Mt. Fuji. Although it's already quite yellowed and stained, it can still inspire a feeling of grandness and remote, romantic longing in me and from time to time I lose myself in it and start to dream. (Note: the 'sun' is only the flash from my camera)