All change

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Since I’ve decided to start writing here more frequently I’m also taking advantage of a rare lull between commissions to upgrade the blog. I’ve avoided doing this for far too long with the result that the current three-column appearance is no longer suitable for mobile hardware. I don’t look at websites on my phone but I use a tablet every day and these pages aren’t very readable on small screens so I’m looking for a more flexible blog theme. Before doing this I’ve also been upgrading some of the background software, and will probably be installing things and messing around behind the scenes for the next couple of days. Consequently, the TS Eliot testcard may be visible more than usual while I take WordPress offline.

The Marvellous

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The marvellous is always beautiful. Anything marvellous is beautiful. In fact only the marvellous is beautiful.

George Melly (above) quoting André Breton’s declaration from the first Surrealist Manifesto, 1924

Two posts in one week—quelle surprise. This is partly because I’m trying to get WordPress to post updates to Twitter, something that hasn’t been possible for many years without going through the long-winded process of signing up as a Twitter developer. Anything that limits my involvement with Twitter’s burning café feels like a positive thing at the moment, so thoughts that I previously cast into the flames may find their expression here instead.

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The two screengrabs are from recent re-viewings. George Melly’s short guide to Surrealism for the BBC’s Arena, and Jan Svankmajer’s equally short BBC profile have both been featured here in the past, but my recent purchase of a box of blu-rays from Svankmajer’s shop has prompted a journey back into the Surrealist praxis via whatever books and videos I have to hand. It’s been interesting looking again at René Passeron’s Encyclopedia of Surrealism (1975), a book which for many years was more interesting for the 24-page section devoted to the precursors of Surrealism, all the artist-eccentrics, architects, illustrators, Mannerists, and (especially) the Symbolists whose works I spent most of the 1980s pursuing. Today there are more threads to be followed in the Surrealist section of Passeron’s study so I’m looking forward to seeing where they lead. As for The Marvellous, the Svankmajer discs are this with and without the capital “M”. I recommend them.

Update: And the post didn’t announce itself at Twitter which isn’t so surprising; I’ll keep working at this behind the scenes. Social media is the anti-Marvellous.

Two thousand

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Being post number 2,000 here at {feuilleton}. The page above is a sample from Monograms & Ciphers (1906) by AA Turbayne at the trusty Internet Archive.

I’ll take the opportunity here to apologise for the continuing flakiness of my web connection. The advantage of WordPress is independence from the shackles of Blogger and co. but this can leave you at the mercy of webhosts with inadequate or shoddy resources. I intend changing host at some point but have been far too busy of late to deal with the matter. As always, your patience is appreciated. Thanks.

Bruegel in winter

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The Hunters in the Snow (1565).

Most of the snow here in Manchester melted over Christmas but it’s likely there’ll be more on the way given the unusually low temperatures. Whatever the complaints about the weather, the empty-handed hunters painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525–1569) had it worse. Of the two paintings, Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap is the lesser composition but seems slightly more optimistic.

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Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap (1565).

I upgraded WordPress a few hours ago with the result that the latest version of the software no longer works with a couple of the plug-ins I was using. I try to keep WP plug-ins to a minimum but fell foul on this occasion so there’s now no tag cloud at the foot of the page until I work out a way to restore it by other means. If anything here seems awry or broken over the next couple of days, that’s the explanation.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Winter panoramas
Winter music
Winter light
La Tour by Schuiten & Peeters

Outage

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Extended downtime over the past few days was caused by a major server calamity at the webhost end so my apologies to regular visitors. I keep backups of everything for precisely this reason—servers of all kinds can be subject to failure—but one of the problems with an increasingly sprawling site such as this (8,000+ files, 450 web pages, etc) is that restoring the thing from scratch can take some time. Reinstalling the database was the most difficult part but that’s been done without any loss. Normal service is now resumed. Thanks for your patience. And a belated Happy Bloomsday!