Sunday, 9 July 2017

Progress Industry Humanity

The town in which I live is part of Leeds and for the most part that's where I go for entertainment and intellectual stimulation. However, I live on the border with Bradford and this weekend has seen me attend events celebrating two of its most distinguished sons.

On Saturday I made one of my infrequent returns to the University of Bradford, the place where I took my first degree, on this occasion for a talk on the time theories of J.B. Priestley. I won't attempt to reproduce what was discussed, which you would be correct in interpreting to mean that I didn't fully understand it. There were names bandied about that I'd never heard of (J.W. Dunne, Ouspensky), haven't read (Proust - shameful but true) or regard as complete charlatans (Myers and Briggs). Still, the main point at issue was that Priestley was a first rate writer, is unjustly overlooked and was ahead of his time. His influence can clearly be seen on novelists such as Borges and Burgess and on playwrights like Stoppard and Ayckbourn, and he was an early explorer of concepts later seen in works as diverse as E.T., Catch-22, Groundhog Day, Sliding Doors and The Purple Rose of Cairo to name just a few. The speakers recommended a range of works which apparently illustrate his interest in the possible circularity of time, but I have chosen to buy 'The 31st of June' on the basis that the panel said it was very funny. I shall report back. I also have to mention that I rather regret not having also been to the session before ours, which featured lots of brightly clothed Nigerians playing drums.

Today saw celebrations to mark the 80th birthday of David Hockney. The weather was nice, a big crowd turned up, there was a wide choice of food (I went for Tilapia and Jollof rice, perhaps still regretting missing out on the Nigerian drumming) and loud music; judging by the playlist DH is a fervent disco fan. There was even a large birthday cake representing his large work Le Plongeur, which is the cornerstone of the excellent new Hockney Gallery at Bradford's Cartwright Hall.

The other notable feature was a Hockneyfication Station where those with a more frivolous nature than your bloggist could be transformed into lookalikes of the great man.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm - the return of hair! Not sure that the Hockney colour or style suits you!!!