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Sometimes I forget just how life-giving music is - music in general, all good music, but Beethoven in particular. I was having a dreary, tiring time, and this wonderful piece just shot through me like new blood. I think that if giving people joy, energy, endurance, is good, then for that good alone Beethoven must be counted among the saints.
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While newspapers and TV waste our time with poseurs and trash, a Titan as great as any old master has passed away unnoticed (except by his grateful followers, who had been gathering in the last few years in the Facebook page). Jeff Jones - later in his/her life Jeffrey Catherine Jones - was simply the greatest artist in my lifetime. Newspapers across the world ought to have cleared their front page and made this an above-the-fold lead news item, instead of wasting time nattering about Tracy Emin's political affiliation and the absurd pyramid of salt in Piazza del Duomo; but there has never been an age yet when merit was so distinct from success. I say firmly and with no fear of being ridiculed by time that Jones will be remembered, when time does justice of all the self-advertising rubbish, as one of the masters of all time.


I would like to write an obituary, but to find the right words for this genius has stumped me since I first came across his/her comic and paintings. One can talk about composition, about brushwork, about spotting blacks (in ink sketches) and holding lines, of anatomy and perspective and colour, but in the end these are only features. I think the best I can say is that s/he was the best, incomparably the best, in understanding what painting was and what it could do. And if this seems cryptic, it is because I can get no closer. Study his work, look at it for yourself; and sad and angry though I feel at this untimely death (his/her last years were stormy, with a bankruptcy, a sex change and apparently not much creativity, and I had hoped that s/he was about to recover), deserted as I feel myself (his/her work had been a fundamental part of my artistic life since my teens), I feel even sorrier for those of you who will only make the acquaintance of this giant after s/he died.

God Who have made us in Your image
That we might perceive the beauty of Your creation and so of You,
That we might be able to make images in Your likeness, and by making images to live,
That we might show in what we make a ray of the beauty of Your Creation and of You,
Forgive the sins of this Your servant,
Hear the voice of gratitude and prayer of all whose lives he enriched,
And taking him past all the abyss of doubt and terror
Take Jeffrey C.Jones to the depth of Your light
Where You live and reign for ever and ever.
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A work of genius in history is something which takes a subject and gives a view of it that is comprehensive, penetrating, and novel. Of the three, being comprehensive and penetrating are the more important requirements, but novelty - not in the sense of cleverness, but in the sense of making you feel as though everything you are looking at is new, surprising, unexpected - is the quality that most impresses the idea of genius on the reader.

Professor Aldo Angelo Settia of the University of Pavia has produced at least one such work, probably more.Read more... )
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Just as I was about to get to sleep, I got a loathsome e-mail from an agency I had done a good bit of work for, which amounted to their wanting to pay me as late as possible ( and they are already six weeks late) and as little as possible. I answered back in suitable terms, with the twin threats of legal action and of making their behaviour public among other translators. At that point I was no longer feeling like sleep, so I went on Facebook. After posting a short snarl about what had just happened, I looked at recent entries, and I noticed that [profile] jamesenge had published a photo of a magnificent painting by Jeffrey Katherine Jones. Now don't ask me to explain Mr/Ms. Jones, I can't. One thing I can say: s/he is, and has been since about 1972, one of the greatest painters in the world - a Master in the full meaning of the term, and I think I have seen enough painting in my life to know the difference.

So ten minutes at most later I get a request for friending from Mr/Ms Jones.

This is not the first genius who has been a friend of mine. Denny Derbyshire and Kenna Hijja spring to mind. But it is the first living legend, someone whose work was already being reprinted and admired when I was a young fan hunting and pecking around Rome's newsstand together with Franco Urru.
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One of several million reasons to feel sorry for anyone who is not Italian.
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A few weeks ago, I caused a stir by posting a magnificent Smirnoff ad on the theme of "the sea giving up its dead", with an extraordinary soundtrack. [livejournal.com profile] sartorias posted it on her LJ in turn, blowing even more people away. Well, a complete version of the soundtrack by Peter Raeburn has been posted on Youtube, and it is even better. This is someone who moves in the classical idiom as though it were his native home, as though Schoenberg and Shostakovich had never happened; listen, in particular, to the beautiful instrumental central section, with piano, omitted from the ad.

Peter Raeburn. Remember that name. It means something, over and above vodka.
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In the late eighteenth century, Read more... )

"Mind must be harder, Heart must be keener,
Bravery be greater, As our strength lessens.
Here our lord Lies cut to pieces,
A good man brought down; If one so much
As thinks to leave this field, Let him howl for ever!"
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If you haven't heard about David Olney (as I had not until this morning), go find out. The man is a genius, on the level of Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne and Bob Dylan. His song 1917 is the most perfect distillation of the tragedy of war (as opposed to its inevitability) I have heard since I don't even know when; it knocks all pacifist songs from Joan Baez to Sting into a cocked hat.


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