Gaudy is Good: Bath and Brighton Pier, part III, by Kenneth Radu

29 August 2012

The carousel towards the latter end of the Brighton Pier, just before the roller coaster, is grotesquely beautiful, and enthrals the children and older bystanders for that reason. So vividly painted, the horses eerily distorted as they circle and bob, transfixed on a silvery pole to which half-terrified and half-delighted kids hang on and ride. Like all such carousels, this one unapologetically violates principles of aesthetic restraint, nightmarishly stunning as it spins to blaring music above the water.

Gaudy is Good: Bath and Brighton Pier, part II, by Kenneth Radu

25 August 2012

It’s absurd to compare the Pier, not to mention the giant Ferris wheel circling above the beach, to the gleaming perfection of the famous Assembly rooms in Bath, but absurdity is intrinsic to the Pier, so all comparisons are sublimely ludicrous.

Gaudy is Good: Bath and Brighton Pier, part I, by Kenneth Radu

22 August 2012

Bath is beautiful in the way Brighton is not: sedate façades and iron palings, a vigorous river and splendid rooms, all contribute to a grand effect, the Bath manner, but one longs for the upstart and riotous, for colour.

Author Kenneth Radu on Brighton Pier


 

The Goodtime Girl, by Tess Fragoulis

7 August 2012

The sights and sounds of Smyrna, Piraeus and Athens are brought to life by Fragoulis’s finely crafted prose. The cast of characters – manghas, manghissas, and the girls in Kyria Effie’s brothel, are fully realized. The result is a novel which is as tough and intelligent as Kivelli herself.

Review by Margaret Goldik

 

Carlos Fuentes: In The Best Company, by Ingrid Bejerman

22 June 2012

Ingrid Bejerman, former director of the renowned Julio Cortázar Latin American Chair, writes about her relationship with the recently deceased Mexican writer and some of the stories his friends remember him by.

Photo: Dulce Ma. Zuniga  

Mind the Gap, part II, by Kenneth Radu

6 June 2012

Not long ago I saw the extraordinary Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express, a Josef von Sternberg movie with wonderful black and white cinematography, much of which occurs on a train. In the film Dietrich utters the magnificent line, “it took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.” Presumably not all on the train, but one is allowed to imagine so.

Marylebone Station, London

Mind the Gap, part I, by Kenneth Radu

6 June 2012

The old trains and their stations are marvels of intent and mystery. No wonder so many films make use of them.

King's Cross-St. Pancras, London

 

Rye Observations, by Kenneth Radu

18 April 2012

Why a town becomes a gathering place of the literati is a subject for literary histories. In Rye’s case, it may well have been the seductions of the past, which certainly seduced Henry James.

Conduit Street, Rye

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