recent reading – on beauty by Zadie Smith


I’ve read all three of Zadie Smith’s books and I’m sorry to say that, for me, she pushed it too far this time.

Issues are, of course, what leads people to write, have ideas and put their opinions on the map, but variety is the spice of life.

Zadie Smith, like Spike Lee, is popular in middle-class arty white society and, I suspect, likes the fact. But both of them are obsessed with being black, to the point that they lose perspective.

On Beauty is, on the surface, a polemic on the shallowness of beauty (or indeed the beauty of beauty), but really it’s about being black. Big bootys as opposed to big beauties. Smith adds a fresh dimension to her writing by introducing a mixed race marriage at its core and an adulterous husband (one white, one black victim).

But it’s the same old same old.

Truth be told, her WRITING is brilliant as ever, but her plotting is feeble and the denouement farcical.

I struggled though all 450 pages of this novel and admired bits of it, I think her dialogue is as good as anybody writing today that I’ve read (It’ll make a good screenplay) but I think Zadie Smith needs a sabbatical to find new writing material/subjects.


Or is it just that I ain’t black?

Oh god, Friday night and it’s ugly betty.


How I hate Ugly Betty.

It is quite simply an assault on the senses.

The music score, and believe me there’s a score (in fact it must be the most inanely music-laden piece of TV trash in history) is non stop. Watch it and you’ll see.

There is not a second of this garbage that doesn’t feature the twitter of an oboe, the chirrup of a bassoon or the clatter of a clarinet.

But, a tune?


Avoid at all costs.

The Genius of Photography

BBC4 is running an unbelievably good series on the history of photography called “the Genius of Photography”.

It is unmissable.

And this week one of the featured photographers was new to me (I’m ashamed to say)

Nevertheless he is wonderful and I’d like to share his work with you.

A German called August Sander who shot some of the most stunning portraits of the inter-war years.

Here are just a few.

This man is focussed.




I love the humour in this shot.


I believe this is the seminal Sander shot and I can see why…


And so is this…


I found this and love it…