Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Until we meet again...

Dearest readers,

I really must say thank you for reading my antics this past year.  You have no idea how your thoughts and comments on my blog have been such a light to my life.  I literally run home from work and check what you have to say on a daily basis.  Thank you!

The next year will bring quite a change to Hibernian Homme.  All good, I assure you.  I won't reveal anything yet, but will save it until we meet again in the new year.  A hint, though, is found in the photograph above - taken by me back in 2008.  Take a guess!

Until then,


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anno MMX-Favorite Reads

I've tossed and I've turned and I think I've found my favorite reads for 2010.  Here's the list with the post it inspired and the reasoning:

5.  Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter (and another one)
I'm not one who wanted to run away to the circus as wee lad, but I certainly wanted to run away with this book.  Her prose on a circus travelling through Imperial Russia, were not only gorgeous, but witty and graphic.

4. Down the Garden Path - Beverley Nichols
What can I say?  I love Beverley Nichols, and his descriptions of gardening are extremely accurate and hysterical. 

3. Our Lady of the Flowers - Jean Genet
What a read!  His evocative imagery can rival no one.  A torrid tale written in prison, destroyed, then written again on scrap paper. It also challenged me to dust parts of my brain that haven't been used in years. 

2. The Heir - Vita Sackville-West
A tiny little novella, with an innocent tale of a man inheriting an Elizabethan manor with a flock of peacocks.  Was it profound, moody or life-changing?  Non. But it stuck with me, and I often find myself thinking about it.

1. The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford (and here)
This was the one that started it all.  The year I became obsessed with the Mitfords.  I thankfully have passed this book onto many kin, they all worship me now.  Although, my mother (who loved it) has recently said to me: "If you start a sentence with 'Nancy Mitford' one more time, I'm gonna kill myself."

There you have it!  Next year, I hope to read more wonderful books and will always gladly read and enjoy your recommendations!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Anno MMX-A Year in Reading

As I've mentioned before, this was the first year I kept a list of what I've read.  Even then, I know I lost track for a month or so.   My list is unbelievably short compared to seasoned book-bloggers (135+!), but it's fun seeing the list in retrospect.  In chronological order:

Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter
Brooklyn - Colm Toibim
All Passion Spent - Vita Sackville-West
Howard's End is on the Landing - Susan Hill
Intimate Companions - David Leddick
The Heir - Vita Sackville-West
Le Livre Blanc - Jean Cocteau
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - Jane Austen and Co.
Free For All - Don Bochert
Memoirs of Montparnasse - John Glassco
From a Paris Garrett - Richard LeGallienne
Dream of Perpetual Motion - Dexter Palmer
Down the Garden Path - Beverley Nichols
Bright Young People - DJ Taylor
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Twenty-five - Beverley Nichols
The Bolter - Frances Osbourne
The Giver - Lois Lowry
West with the Night - Beryl Markham
If On a Winter's Night a Traveler - Italo Calvino
The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford
Our Lady of the Flowers - Jean Genet
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters
Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English - Natasha Solomons
The City and the Pillar - Gore Vidal
Ask Alice - DJ Taylor
Mayflower - Nathanial Philbrick
Water For Elephants - Sarah Guerrin
Strait is the Gate - Andre Gide
Sleepless Nights - Elizabeth Hardwick
The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street - Heywood Hill and Nancy Mitford
Jeeves in the Morning - PG Wodehouse
Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford
Nancy Mitford - Harold Acton
Tea with Mr. Rochester - Frances Towers

I'm having a hard time deciding which ones are my favorite, so I'll do what I do best and postpone it until tomorrow!  Have you read any of these and liked or disliked them?  I'm curious if we share opinions.  Not gonna lie, there are a few on that list that I really hated. Hint: it rhymes with Bride & Breadjudice and Bombies.

Lust, Caution

Well, much to my pleasure, life is looking very Dr. Zhivago's Ice Dacha.  Wind-blown and snow-swept.  And under 14 inches of snow, Carrick has reminded me: be careful what I lust for.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Arabella Strange

Don't you love when you find a piece of work from one of your favorite artists that you seemingly thought you knew everything about, yet have never seen before?  This just happened to me with Kay Nielsen, a master from the Golden Age of Illustration.  I've been scouring all my books about him, but alas! have found nothing.  It came from a Tumblr, so there's even less evidence there..

Can anyone tell me which story this glorious illustration belongs to?

(Those of you who've read 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' will recognize my reference)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jane Wildgoose

A glimpse into the home of Jane Wildgoose, scanned from a November 2006 'World of Interiors', found at Hello Mr. Fox.  If your interest is piqued as mine was, read more about her HERE.  Fascinating lady busy doing brilliant things like recreating the spirit of Miss Havisham...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow lust

While I fester here in New England, where nary a snow accumulation has occured -a rarity- England is getting heaps and heaps!  I have posted about Ben Pentreath's stunning blog before, but his latest photographs are just too gorgeous to pass over.

I wish I may, I wish I might, I wish to be on Lamb's Conduit Street tonight

If you want to know how I'd like my apartment to look...look no further.  And how!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Travails at the Tailor's

After a lunch with my dear friend, Mark Ogilvie-Grant, at the Savoy, I mentioned I was en route to a tailor.  When Mark asked which one I frequent, I was unable to answer.  "Mr. Taylor's," I invented.

"Nonsense, he doesn't exist. I know every tailor in London.  Your Mr. Taylor is imaginary."

After accepting defeat, he steered me toward his own on Saville Row.  In the shop we moaned and groaned about not finding the right shape, fit or color.  This one will make you look short.  This one will drown you.  This cashmere will accentuate your gin blossoms.

"Your rather boyish shoulders are difficult to fit, Sir," piped in the tailor.

"Thank you," I curtly replied, cursing my mother's thin-shouldered Irish heritage under my breath. 

Then, like a gleam from the Heavens, was a men's journal on the work table held open by a French curve.  Under said curve lay a gorgeous J.D. Leyendecker illustration.  The Beltsac. "This, this will do."

"Quite right, Sir, will it be double or single-breasted?"

Illustration: NYPL

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Non parlo l'italiano bene

I wonder what Pier Paolo Pasolini and Fellini are talking about here?  Something amazingly surrealist, no doubt.  I hope my Italian will be good enough to understand them, in case I chance upon them in my imaginary world.

fotografia: elena muti

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish: silent film star in myriads of films.  But more importantly: an exact doppelganger for my mother, Donna Mary.  I must post her nursing school picture for proof!  'Whales of August' gives me a sneak peak of what to look forward to.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Life According to Literature: 2010

photograph by Herbert List, 1952

This year was the first year I wrote down which books I read and my how they added up!  (Note to self: Must get out more).  I will be posting the list as our year ends, but for the time being Simon, from Stuck In A Book, posted THIS on his blog full of wonderful and interesting treats.  Now I want a whack at it!  

Answer the following questions using titles of books you have read during 2010:

Describe yourself: Twenty-five (Beverley Nichols)

How do you feel: All Passion Spent (Vita Sackville-West)

Describe where you currently live: Dream of Perpetual Motion (Dexter Palmer)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Down the Garden Path (Beverley Nichols)

Your favorite form of transportation: Free for All (Don Borchert)

Your best friend is: Nancy Mitford (Harold Acton)

You and your friends are: Bright Young People (DJ Taylor)

What's the weather like: West with the Night (Beryl Markham)

You fear: The Little Stranger (Sarah Waters)

What is the best advice you have to give: Ask Alice (DJ Taylor)

Thought for the day: Strait is the Gate (Andre Gide)

How I would like to die: From a Paris Garret (Richard Le Gallienne)

My soul's present condition: Our Lady of the Flowers (Jean Genet)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love in a Cold Climate

What bliss!  That bridge reminds me of the bridge in Brief Encounter which I saw this weekend for the first time and fell madly in love with.  The tension..egads!

Snake Pass, Derbyshire, England

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conrad Felixmüller

Bildnis Frau Sophie Isakowitz, 1932

Don't you love when you stumble upon something when you are looking for something else entirely!  Look at these gems, by German Expressionist and mentor of Otto Dix, Conrad Felixmüller, I just found!  One could work as a Persephone cover.

Self-portrait (with his wife), 1930

Zeitungsjunge (Newspaper Boy), 1928

There's a pattern in my preference in art.  Someday, in my dream world, these will be a few of what has become a massive collection.  Now let us head to the third floor gallery, shall we?

Lorna von dem Spiegel, 1933

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shanghai Lil'

From, Footlight Parade, one of the best and my favorite Busby Berkeley skits, stars Ruby Keeler (per usual) and the amazing James Cagney. Their dancing is unbelievable, and the opium den scene is positively shocking!  Hysterically clever lyrics as well.  Unfortunately the clip is only available when you wander HERE, but please do!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dreams of a Winter Night

‘The dreams of a young girl the night before her coming out party inhabit these empty bedrooms at Belsay Hall. Longing for love and romance, her childhood world dissolves into social connections, potential husbands and family obligations.’

So said Geraldine Pilgrim of her exhibition at Belsay Hall, something I wish I had seen.  For a few more photographs and information: the artist's webpage.

Photographs by Sukesu found at Miss Wallflower

Friday, December 3, 2010

Far From the Maddening World

Just try, just try and not fall in love with this man's photostream over at flickr.  I just found it and am loving his little tidbits of life in the West Village, his books and collections.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Travelling with Persephone

A few weeks back a friend asked: "Where do you have in mind for you next trip?"  and for the first time in my life it took a few minutes to think of something.  I've always been one who's had a roster of 10 or 12 places on my 'To Visit' list, and not that I've been to them all, but I think life has become so hectic and busy, I don't have time to think of where I want to holiday. 

Thankfully I seem to be catching the travel bug, especially after reading several Anglo-leaning blogs, and my next trip MUST be England.  My bosom friend, Saint Katherine, finds herself with similar leanings so hopefully we can plan a trip together.

Upon arriving in London, Lamb's Conduit Street will be first on the list of places to stop.  At Persephone I'll ship everything in stock home, to fill my nonexistent bookshelves, like Thomas.

Then I'll skip over to Heywood Hill, where my best friend, Nancy Mitford, ran the shop for a bit.  While I'm at it, I'll let that little garret on the top floor so I can see London to its full extent.

Now the country is my oyster, and after meeting all of you fellow bloggers, I'll be exploring all the places I've never seen and always wanted to. Hopefully I'll be able to tackle every secondhand bookstore and resale shop in my line of vision as wekk. I remember them being tear-worthy.  Knitting whilst travelling of course.  One needs to make socks for all the nippers I abandoned back home!

On the list, Sissinghurst, Charleston and Chatsworth.  Everytime I read a post about either of these places my mouth starts to water and I start to feel faint.  The salts!  Grab the salts!

Vita's desk at Sissinghurst

The trip just flew by!  Where did that year go?  Might as well end the trip at the place I've been dreaming of since I read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, all those years ago.  Yorkshire! A castle will do,  there I can stay close to the fire, read and drink tea 'till my chest starts to pound.

All images found at the ever-inspiring, always fascinating, Persephone Post.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Elizabeth Hardwick's 'Sleepless Nights'

As someone who spends most of his days drifting in and out of a memory-consciousness, 'Sleepless Nights' by Elizabeth Hardwick was a wonderful novel with which I could relate to entirely.  As I've searched around for other's opinions, Hardwick, who was a founder of the New York Review of Books, seems to get a mixed bag.  Many find it hard to follow and although it is short in size (151 pages) it reads like something that is 300.  You need to read it slow to drink up all the stories weaved into the memories of the author.  "J.," Louisa, the old rich lady who befriends a young man late in life, all have rich things to bring to memories just like our own.  Which to me takes a talent most do not possess.

Joan Didion reviewed it perfectly for the New York Times back in 1979.  She states: "'Sleepless Nights' is a novel, but it is a novel in which the subject is memory and to which the 'I' whose memories are in question is entirely and deliberately the author."

One of my favorite samples, and the reason I chose the images for this post, involves a scene of a changing New York, beautiful and sad:

Part Seven.  Last year a large new office building began to go up on my small, narrow street in New York.  It is an odd street, filled with old apartment houses of modest size which were built just after the turn of the century for the accommodation of artists. "Des Artistes," as one of the buildings is named, were to work and live in the same quarters, to paint in their ateliers like Frenchmen with little pointed beards, and to eat in their dining rooms off the kitchen like Americans.

The large windows of the studio room were then covered with opaque glass, according with the theoretical belief of the time.  The light was dimmed--to free the mind for the light of the imagination?  A northern smoothness and easels upon which stood the half-finished portraits waiting for the sitter or the model, a colorful old man or a loosely draped girl, or still lifes from the fruit bin...

...The thick glass is gone from most of the windows, but now a new building roars up across the street, arriving with a hideous grinding.  Exquisite machinery stands about all day, and the steel skeleton with its artful modernity is more fit to decorate the city scene than the building itself.  The noise of construction will one day die down, and yet the light will never return to the artist-building.  It is in its glass opacity.  Perhaps some sort of preservation is taking place.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Diary of a Wandering Eye

Now you all know that mommy loves you all equally, but there's a chick in this coop that I hold near and dear to my breast.

When I turn on my ordinateur every morning, there is a place I turn to like clockwork to laugh and be amazed.  It's none other than the blog of The Diary of a Wandering Eye.

He seems to find everything I'm interested in: Weiner Werkstatte, Rudolf Nureyev, gothic interiors, Paul Cadmus, and curate it into one mind-blowing thing of beauty. With a wit.  Sometimes he will come out with something so uproariously funny, I'll be shrieking with laughter.

So if you're like me and like a little humor with your aesthetically pleasing bits, get your arse over there post haste!  But make a stop at the ladies first, we don't want any accidents.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

London Daily News, 3 March 1926

Mr. Chatterbox reporting Stateside, where the Nation is still under the evil grips of Prohibition.  All's well when Lady La, of the Redding Blairs, sent out lovely invites welcoming us to her little 'pharmacy.'  The press was to be kept secret of all goings on, whilst prescriptions healing our seasonal ailments were promised.   A flurry of telegrams were delivered in eager response, plans were made, as well as calls to tailors, drivers and furriers.

The Honorable Daniel of Halifax, fresh off the set of Rudolph Valentino's latest, Son of the Sheik, arrived just in time to meet Latin scholar Michus Saccomannochus and stable boy, "Jordan," for a trial on the new color film camera straight from the World Fair. 

Soon after, Saint Katherine and Lulu Lockwood unveiled themselves, each clad in Molyneux and Chanel respectively.  With Veuve on their breath, the gang jumped in the Essex Six and whisked off to Town.   Hunger was suppressed at Henry Public, a neighborhood joint serving simple fare and potent juice.  The Automat was closed but all were contented.

 Inside the grand 12 foot ceiling, parquet floored (rent-controlled) apartment, a party was under way. Prescriptions were made by Russian pharmacist, Svetlana who was easy on the herbs and heavy on the spirits.  After one or two cocktails, made with gin and chartreuse, the crowd was swelling and having a difficult time keeping the "easy" in "speak." 

GM heiress and cabaret star, Lulu Lockwood was thrilled to gab with her sister, Saint Katherine.  St. Katherine has lately heard rumour that Paris doyenne, Alice B. Toklas, was thief to her book of recipes and is in works to be using them to publish her own!  St. Katherine, ever humble ever pure, has decided to write her own, focusing on recipes to detox waste and people  from our bodies.  Lulu, an overnight star was so inspired by "Metropolis" she wrote a song for her act called "Spaceship Lover," and her fans beg for more.

Hon. Daniel of Halifax joined in the conversation between Norvegienne, Ingrid Skjold and young Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga.  Balenciaga was kind enough to take Halifax aside and fix the neck wear that had gone askew after Halifax's Brandy Alexander.

C.C. Blair the Younger filled in all on his plans of wooment to the Danish Countess, Mie.  As a man true to his word, he left the party and made for Pier 14 where a liner heading toward Copenhagen awaited him.

Hungarian film starlet, April Olenska, discussed with Argentine Tango star, Paloma Degli Sposati, steps for the double lady act they had in the works.  They are sure to set ballrooms ablaze on all six continents!

As the cock crowed the patients realized it was time for their beauty sleep.  One needs adequate sleep lest we wake with puffness of the visage.  "Jordan" waited outside the flat to catch one last shot of Saint Katherine, Halifax, Lockwood, Saccomannochus and toy designer/tycoon, Mr. Schwartz.

The press was kept at bay indoors but out on the mean streets another story awaited poor Honorable Daniel of Halifax and Lulu Lockwood.  A swarm of bulbs and lights cornered them, with nothing but an heirloom sheleighly for defense.  When the local papers and glossies finished having their way with them, off they sauntered not feeling a little bit undefiled.

(A special thanks to Katie, Micah, Jordan and Michael for the photographs!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

But I'm afraid of you...

 Louis Muhlstock, 1937

I find myself a bit run down from this past weekend's soiree.  Time travel can do that to you.  I'll be sure to fill you in on the salacious gossip as soon as I have some visual, a necessity. 

Turn on the clever Whispering Jack Smith song below. Let's go to the gallery.  Today we're going to have a viewing of the little-known Montreal artist, Lilias Torrance Newton.  Don't you love her brooding use of color and shadowing.  Can't you almost see that she's from Montreal in her paintings?  There's something about her that reminds me of George Tooker, who we visited last week.

Anna, 1923

Self-Portrait, 1929

Friday, November 12, 2010

N.M. to H.H.


"The bright hot sunshine comes mainly from my new servant Hassan (shades of James Elroy [Flecker]) who is literally first class cook & adorable man; & who, instead of standing over me & boring as the Belgian lady did, does his work and thinks silently about the desert..."

Nancy Mitford to Heywood Hill

Still from 'Julnar of the Sea,' a vaudeville production from 1919 starring Lillian Powell and Miles Smith, based on one of the tales from 'Arabian Nights.'  Found at the New York Public Library.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Like Iceland, Bhutan, and Yap, New Zealand is one of those places I've always wanted to go to.  So imagine my surprise when I checked my Google Analytics (exciting and scary) and found that I have a following coming from New Zealand!  What an honor.  I dedicate this to you my faithful Kiwi folk.  Thanks for pissin' on my lemon tree!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Del Cinema Muto

Pina Menichelli, Italian cinema star of the silent era, and inspiration for this weekends gala, where one knows not the location nor what to wear.  She will be my starting point.  Will I Cecil Beaton my eyes? 

ho trovato allo Stanza di Elena Muti