“I want to say something to you or write something about you that would be as beautiful in itself as the life I would have led with you had you loved me.” —Paul Potts in Dante Called You Beatrice.
So how, exactly, did Richie end up where he did? Or me? Or anyone? In Richie’s case, the bottom line might be that he just isn’t into body hair. I’ve seen odder specimens, with odder reasons for being where they are, drift in and out the slipstream in the course of 30 plus years of slogging it out in Spain: alcoholics, remittance men, second-home owners, English teachers (hey—if it was good enough for James Joyce….) Vietnam draft dodgers gone potbellied and gray, people who get on and off yachts, Army brats and many, many lost souls with too much money or with no money at all.
You have to be cautious, though, about attaching visual referents to music. Who can hear Ponchielli without flashing on a bunch of leering crocodiles trying to either eat or rape all those prancing ostriches and hippos in tutus?
Lizzie was just as luckless in her affections. Fruit peddlers found she would much rather believe their solemn pledges than finger the squishy produce.
Turns out dad led a double life, keeping company with a mistress who bore him three daughters that were farmed out to a governess and to whom he paid sporadic but sincere paternal attention in the guise of dear “Uncle Bodger”. Upon this discovery, the son asks, if Ackerley Sr. had one secret life, why not two? And why shouldn’t that other one have been gay enough to turn tricks way back when dad was a young, good-looking and penniless trooper in the Royal Horse Guards, where the younger Ackerley found easy pickins for pickups.
Even as his own chief of police concedes that the attack was in the works before 9/11, Prime Minister Zapatero maintains that it was his predecessor’s decision to send a token Spanish contingent to Iraq that provoked the jihad boys to retaliate. Good reason to believe Spain will remain Al Qaeda’s European base for many years to come.
How the author of World of Wonders would have relished the fact that nearly a decade after his death, Massey students have made a fixed ritual out of touching the nose on his bronze bust before defending their doctorates. The authorial snout has become quite shiny, one hears.
Most amazing of all was the underlying assumption that there really were readers out there who knew the basics about, say, the Opium War or Baroque chamber music, and wanted to be taken some distance beyond them, without being snowed under with technicalities and academic game playing.
In Bombay, you had novelist Arundhati Ray coming out with "Debating imperialism is like debating the pros and cons of rape. What can we say? That we really miss it?" No wonder Clinton cancelled on the Spanish sequel.