Dancing had always existed, and it evolved over the millennia. Proper ballet only came into being after en pointe was introduced.
A couple of centuries ago, there was a little girl called Svetlana, who was svelte and lean and who loved dancing. They lived in a small village not far from Moscow. She had heard that there was a dancing mistress in Moscow, a Madame Arkadina, who trained young boys and girls to dance so they could perform for the tsar, but it was not free. …
The BBC now only existed as a branch of The Lebvedev Group, and was available on subscription. Jemima Paxman was the controller and Quentin Dimbleby its News Director. They are having a business lunch at The French House in Soho, discussing the now inevitable war looming between the Americans and the Russians. They are fine-tuning their broadcasting strategy for when the conflagration erupts. Britain is still fiercely pro-American, but Vassili Lebvedev will be expecting a pro-Russian slant. They had been informed that President Eric Trump was scheduled to meet President Vladimir Putin.
Eric Trump had taken over The Real Republican…
I confess that I enjoyed being the object of desire of so many illustrious men. I loved the flattery, the pâtisserie, the bonbons, the money, and the jewels. Very soon, I too had indulged in and dispensed those perversions that I had disapproved of with such vehemence, and admit that after a very short time I no longer even batted an eyelid. I have to concede that I was born a petite vicieuse, what Anglo-Saxons call a sex maniac. Or a nympho.
I had once thought it demeaning to put a male member in my mouth, but now I learnt…
“Ce qu’il faut de sanglots pour un air de guitare/ How many tears for an tune on the guitar”
Louis Aragon was born in Paris after his teenage mother had a liaison with a senator and Prefect of Police in Paris, a man 32 years older than her, in 1897.
Elsa Triolet (née Illa Kagan) was born in Moscow in 1896 in a rich Jewish family.
Aragon thought his mother was his older sister until he became an adult. His famous father always refused to recognise his paternity, although he agreed to be his godfather. This might be the reason…
There was no proper wall between us and the Hindu family next door but a massive badamier and some pieces of wood from old boxes unconvincingly nailed together served as one. Nearest to us, with a window opening on our yard were a recently married couple, Bola, a bread seller and his wife, Shanti, who was expecting their first baby. Mother was quite fond of Bola, because, as she said, “When Bola talks to us ladies he looks at his shoes.” …
A revised version of a previous entry
38 year old woman in a middle-class flat. A weaving and Picasso reproductions on the wall. Sitting room, but there must be some sort of door. On the floor there is what looks like a pile of unwanted mail.There is a half-empty bottle of wine and a glass, and a cigarette ashtray with a forgotten cigarette smouldering in it. Woman is in front of ironing board,contemplating shirts and things, a cigarette in her mouth. She walks towards the table where she notices the smouldering cigarette, shakes her head, and stubs both fags out…
A fable by Voltaire and its English translation by SC
Voltaire was, arguably the greatest French thinker who ever lived. He was a leading figure of the Enlightenment. A philosopher, dramatist, polemicist, scientist, novelist, campaigner, a Renaissance man, he also wrote poetry. He was born François-Marie Arouet, in 1694, and took the name Voltaire.
His erudition and wisdom were known and admired throughout Europe. He was invited to live in Frederick of Prussia’s Rheinsberg Palace, where the monarch became his pupil. He was a crusader against injustice and tyranny. He wrote about civil liberties, against religious dogma. His drama Candide…
I published this here in 2019, and think it’s an opportune time to give it another airing.
Mohammed bin Salman (may his wisdom increase)
Awoke one night from a sleep wrack’d with unease
And saw, within the moonlight in his room.
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:-
Exceeding wealth had made Bin Salman bold
And to the presence in the room he said
“What writest thou?”- the vision raised its head
And with a look of infinite sadness
At this our world with its limitless badness
Answered “Names of…
Laforgue was born in 1860 in Uruguay of French parents. He was greatly influenced by impressionism and his poetry has been described as part-symbolist part-impressionist. Renoir is said to have been influenced by him. His poem Aquarelle en cinq minutes printed here and in an English translation could easily be translated into impressionist art.
Oh ! oh ! le temps se gâte,
L’orage n’est pas loin,
Voilà que l’on se hâte
De rentrer les foins !…
L’abcès perce !
Vl’à l’averse !
Des déluges !….
Oh ! ces ribambelles
Oh ! cett’ Nature
En déconfiture …
Jean de la Fontaine is he most famous fabulist in Europe after Aesop, from whom he borrowed extensively. He collected fables from all over the world, and re-wrote them in his own style. He was born in 1621. Although he is principally known for his fables, he was also a poet, playwright and novelist.
The fable of sour grapes is perhaps his best-known. Interestingly the usage of the term “sour grapes” has somewhat changed over the years.
Here is the English translation I made, followed by the original.
A fox from Gascony_ but might have been Normandy
Almost starving had…
Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.