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September 21, 2022


There is quite a bit we can learn about service and commitment from both Elizabeth’s and your father’s lives. From what I know, I think you will have a similar record. A belated happy birthday!

"What do we want to do with the unknowable balance of time that remains to us, and with the friends who surround us in those moments, surely far more precious than gold?"

Thank you so much for sharing your art work and for writing with such clarity.

Some people claim to be "monarchists", a term that baffles me. They may be saying, in effect, that they are willing to live in a country which is designated a monarchy; if so it seems hardly worth mentioning. Surely it's wider than that. But how wide, and what are the rules?

The media coverage of the funeral in the UK was interminable, forcing me to consider just exactly what it was I was watching. The pageantry meant nothing.(A form of disguise, perhaps?) and the various hierarchies strangely irritating. The only matter worth analysing were the crowds and what they had to say for themselves. Not a subject that appeals to me; secretly I make no distinction between drunks about to attend a soccer game and the stiff-armed, stiff-legged frozen faces that Leni Riefenstahl captured in The Triumph of the Will.

However, the funeral crowds were different: quiet, orderly and some of them quite obviously mourning. Symbolic crowds, then, relating to an old woman who, herself, had become a symbol. But do symbols have a useful value? I explored this in a recent post but I'd forgotten one piece of film that was both symbolic and valuable. The Queen shaking hands with Martin McGuinness, a senior functionary in the Provisional IRA, masterminding bombings and assassinations, now elevated to high office at Stormont, the parliament of Northern Ireland. Both of them smiling. More recently the Stormont government has ceased to function as the Unionists and Sinn Fein (McGuinness's lot) wrangle over what seem like minor arguments.

Never mind. That handshake crystallised a period of peace better than any voice-over blah-blah. It had value.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.