Thursday, February 21, 2008

half and half, turkey oak, party

"I half like him," says a bloke to his mate as they pass me in the street.

There is a towering oak tree in the corner of the Grove. For a long timeI have thought of it as a Turkey Oak on account of its characteristic, long pendulous leaves. But I occasionally have doubts. These are allayed from time to time, because Clare of Three Beautiful Things fame refers to a Turkey Oak in the Grove in her blog. But is hers the same tree as mine? Today, I meet Clare in the Grove and venture to ask. "It's the one in the corner," she says. "I'm never completely certain," I say. "It's the one on the corner", she says. "I think I must have got it from you." In this way myths are made. I hope I had it right from the start.

A party not to have missed. On May 18, 1922, a rich Englishman called Sydney Schiff, gave a supper party at the Hotel Majestic in Paris. Present were Picasso, Proust, Stravinksy and James Joyce. According to John Richardson, who describes the event in his biography of Picasso (vol 3), it was not a notable success.
"When asked by Proust whether he liked Beethoven, Stravinsky said he detested his music. "But surely the late quartets?" "Worst thing he ever wrote," Stravinsy snapped. Proust fared no better with Joyce, who arrived late, drunk and inappropriately dressed. 'Joyce complained of his eyes, Proust of his stomach. Did Mr Joyce like truffles? He did. Had he met the Duchesse de X? He had not. 'I regret that I do not know M Joyce's work,' remarked Proust. " I have never read M. Proust' , Joyce (lied)... Thus the two greatest novelists of the Twentieth Century met and parted".

1 comment:

Lucas said...

This snapshot of Joyce reminds me of an account I read: when approached by a total stranger with the request, "Can I shake the hand that wrote Ulysses?" Joyce replied, "No. You can't because it has done many other things apart from write Ulysses."