Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ancestors


It's still absolutely mind bending to me that when I take a right out of my door I come to the base of the Acropolis. Today I actually went up, and there encountered a plethora of aggravating people tramping across the marble and reading aloud from their guidebooks. Dear old Susan Sontag would simply turn in her grave at the sight of the slew of amateur photographers shooting their loved ones against monolithic slabs of rock. At times it was entirely impossible to move more than a metre or so before having to step back and out of someone's holiday snaps. It was akin to a rather gruesome experience I had at New York Fashion Week, in which I was trapped behind Tommy Hilfiger's endless posing for the world's media, whilst trying to elbow my way to a seat at the J.Lo show. This time however the work on display was of a somewhat higher calibre, not to dismiss Ms Lopez, but antiquity was always more of my thing.

Far more delightful was my stroll around the temple that never was, dedicated to Olympian Zeus. The structure was apparently just too big for the soil to uphold so the architects just gave up and went off to carve something else, leaving the pillars where they are. The whole surrounding area is carpeted with wildflowers, and under the shade of fir trees there lies the remains of a Roman bath. With the obligatory friendly stray dog not far behind and the ripples of applause and soft popping of a nearby tennis match, this holy site was beautifully tranquil. It put me in the frame of mind to do some work, and feeling very Byronic, I set about researching Hermaphroditus (which actually rhymes with more words than you might think) and began writing the cabaret theme song to the upcoming An Illustrated History of Longing . To my absolute delight there are a lot of sculptures on the subject of that very demi-God, and most of them are suitably explicit.

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