No, it’s not a small item of bathroom furniture: it's just that there are three days to go to Book-launch day. No, I’m going to go on about it today except to say that we (the bookstore owner and I) are getting nail-bitingly close to the launch – and the books haven’t arrived yet! They’re saying they’ve been delayed by monsoons in the Indian Ocean, but should be in the UK warehouse in precisely one hour from now. If they are, they’ve then got to get to Cannes by Saturday afternoon.
Worried - who’s worried?
Back from a week-end in Naples with a group of friends I first met in Padua almost eleven years ago. That was in February 1997, and most of us were in our last year of a course at the Open University, at the time doing 13th and 14th century Italian art. On that trip we also went to Venice, Florence, and Sienna – and in the course of our travels became very good friends – so much so that we resolved to continue our trips after graduation, and every year since then we have made similar trips to some European city. This year we went back to Italy for the first time.
It seems crazy now to have gone to Florence and Sienna, strictly avoiding anything to do with the Renaissance, but we did. We would lead each other firmly away from the Botticellis, Donatellos and Michaelangelos: they were ‘not our period’.
Ten years on, our artistic horizons have – like our shapes – widened, and we can now enjoy it all, from ancient Greek to Roman to medieval - to art deco.
Naples has all that and more. You go down a filthy, narrow street, able almost to touch both sides at once, dodging speeding scooters with wheezy horns. Washing - covered with plastic to protect it from the dirt - festoons the walls like political banners. You come to yet another Baroque church, encrusted with centuries of grime, open the door, and there in front of you stands a Caravaggio.