Tag Archives: Mediterranean

Travel & Culture: Greek Island Of Hydra In 1960’s – “A Theatre For Dreamers” By Novelist Polly Samson

From The Guardian (May 23, 2020):

A Theatre For Dreamers - Polly Samson - April 2020I first went to Hydra six years ago, when it was simply a beautiful Greek island and not a place I went to commune with its ghosts. I don’t think I was even aware that it was the island Leonard Cohen had lived on, and knew nothing of Charmian Clift, George Johnston and the bohemian community they fostered.

Bloomsbury Publishers: 1960. The world is dancing on the edge of revolution, and nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives, ruled by the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, troubled king and queen of bohemia. Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzling wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen.

Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels.

Burning with the heat and light of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is a spellbinding novel about utopian dreams and innocence lost – and the wars waged between men and women on the battlegrounds of genius.

Polly Samson is an English novelist, lyricist and journalist. She is married to musician David Gilmour, and has written the lyrics to many of Gilmour’s works, both as a solo artist and with the group Pink Floyd.

 

1950’s Artwork: English Painter John Minton’s “Lavish” Food Book Covers

From Apollo Magazine article (April 13, 2020):

John Minton Illustration for French Cooking by Eizabeth DavidMinton had gone on to produce a series of spectacularly colourful oil paintings of Corsica on his return to London, exhibiting them at the Lefevre Gallery in 1949. Many of them depicted fruit and fish and other ingredients for Mediterranean cuisine, and so confirmed Minton as the obvious choice for the David commission. 

David delightedly recalled that: ‘In the shop windows [Minton’s] brilliant blue Mediterranean bay, his tables spread with white cloths and bright fruit, bowls of pasta and rice, a lobster, pitchers and jugs and bottles of wine, could be seen far down the street.’

Variations on these two images were used for the double-page spread on which the title appeared in David’s second book, French Country Cooking (1951), while the wrap-around image on the dust jacket depicted the interior of a well-stocked kitchen, many of its utensils borrowed from the author to ensure accurate representation.

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Francis John Minton (25 December 1917 – 20 January 1957) was an English painter, illustrator, stage designer and teacher. After studying in France, he became a teacher in London, and at the same time maintained a consistently large output of works. In addition to landscapes, portraits and other paintings, some of them on an unusually large scale, he built up a reputation as an illustrator of books.

In the mid-1950s, Minton found himself out of sympathy with the abstract trend that was then becoming fashionable, and felt increasingly sidelined. He suffered psychological problems, self-medicated with alcohol, and in 1957 died by suicide.

From Wikipedia

New Travel Books: “Athens Riviera”, Stéphanie Artarit (Assouline, May 2020)

Athens Riviera Assouline May 25 2020Overlooking the Aegean Sea, a charming string of coastal neighborhoods form the Athens Riviera, a serene escape from the constant activity in the city’s center. A selection of high-end hotels lines the pristine stretch of beaches down to the southernmost point of the Attica Peninsula.

The revamped Four Seasons Astir Palace, with a history of housing foreign dignitaries and film stars of the 1960s, is the most luxurious hotel in Athens, perhaps even in all of Greece. The night club, Island, is bringing back the glamour and excitement of the twentieth century bouzouki clubs reminiscent of names such as Melina Mercouri and Stavros Niarchos.

Athens Riviera Assouline May 25 2020

Athens is experiencing a revival—in art, night life and design. For a metropolis constantly associated with the past, the modern strides in development and culture are sometimes overlooked in favor of the ruins and artifacts from antiquity. When in fact, the juxtaposition only enhances the beauty of both. Athens Riviera puts the old-world beside the new-world and a deeper understanding of this ancient capital emerges. With one foot in the past and one foot in the future; access to both the electricity of city life and the tranquility of a beach side resort, Athens cannot be defined in simple terms. One just has to experience it for themselves.

Stéphanie Artarit began her career as a journalist, and worked as a psychoanalyst for many years in Tokyo. She then went on to write the novel Variations of the Devil in 2013. Today, she divides her time between homes in Athens and the Cycladic island of Antiparos, where she also operates her boutique, Petit Tipota, and represents several French fashion labels in Greece. In 2018, she began her company, The Gang of Style, which specializes in designing in-house boutiques for luxury hotels all over the world.

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Travel & Quarantines: Author Frances Mayes Writes Of Poet John Keats In Naples, Italy In 1820 (NYT)

From the New York Times (March 26, 2020):

I have seen Naples from his vantage of a ship anchored offshore — one of the most sublime locations in the world, that sweep of coast stacked with apricot, carmine, azure and rose villas; the blue, blue U of the harbor; the emphatic Vesuvius anchoring the view. 

Frances Mayes
Frances Mayes

In October of 1820, typhus raged in Naples. With his artist friend, Joseph Severn, the British poet John Keats rocked in the city’s harbor for 10 days, not nearly the quaranta giorni — 40 days — that give us our word quarantine.

Before this journey, Keats always felt intense melancholy. In “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles for the First Time,” he wrote “… mortality / Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep.” (And in the smooth pentameter of “Ode to a Nightingale”: “I have been half in love with easeful death.”) Not a holiday, this voyage out of England was a desperate trip to the sunny climate of Italy. His cough had grown steadily worse. Since the morning he’d seen a splotch of blood on his pillow, he knew he had little chance of surviving the consumption that had invaded his lungs. His last-ditch: Go to Rome. Meanwhile, exile at sea.

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New Travel Videos: “7 Days In Egypt” By Neal Howland

Filmed and Edited by; Neal Howland

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve dreamt about traveling to Egypt. It was a brief visit, but truly amazing to experience some of these ancient places firsthand.

Locations include:
Giza Necropolis
Saqqara
Alabaster Mosque
Khan Al-Khalili bazaar
New Library of Alexandria
Luxor Temple
Karnak
Valley of the Kings

Website

Travel & Culture Books: “St. Tropez Soleil” By Simon Liberati (Assouline)

The legend of St. Tropez starts with a dog, a rooster, and a martyr; and it leads to movie stars, world-renowned artists and distinguished writers. Located on the sparkling French Riviera, St. Tropez has enjoyed the spotlight for more than half a century, for better or worse, with celebrities flocking to this idyllic locale for its beaches and a dose of Mediterranean sun.

A picturesque oasis, St. Tropez has served as inspiration for a who’s who of notable writers from Françoise Sagan to Colette; as well as renowned artists Paul Signac and Henri Matisse; and even filmmakers. However, St. Tropez would not be the same without then belle du jour Brigitte Bardot, her films and lovers and many other famous couples including Annabel and Bernard Buffet and Bianca and Mick Jagger.

St. Tropez Soleil Assouline book

St. Tropez Soleil guides the reader through its storied past and ever-evolving present. Featuring annual mainstays such as Les Bravades and the Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez as well as exclusive events like a Chanel fashion show at the quintessentially Tropezian Sénéquier café and the White Party at Nikki Beach begun by Naomi Campbell. But despite all that changes, the spirit of St. Tropez remains the same and this volume is an ode to the unique joie de vivre that keeps everyone coming back.

Simon Liberati is an award-winning French writer and journalist. He has worked for publications such as PurpleNuméro, and 20 Ans and he frequently collaborates with Vogue. He has written ten books including Jayne Mansfield 1967 (2011), which won the prix Femina, and the best-selling Eva (2015).

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