Thursday, 23 January 2014

Restaurants. The Man of Property. Dr Luca Russo.

21st January

Managing to limp through January without The Wolseley, closed for a refurb of the kitchens. Now it's closed, I can't think of anywhere else to eat that I like,  a bit like when you know you have vegetarians coming to dinner and you can't for the life of you think of anything to cook that doesn't involve meat. I like the simple predictability of The Wolseley, its excellent coffee and the way there is always someone interesting to look at (I'm not talking about celebrities). I find I'm rather conservative in my choice of restaurants- I hate anywhere too cheffy, or where the food wears a tin hat and has a poem read to it by a waiter before you're permitted to eat it. Perhaps I'm like old James Forsyte in Galsworthy's The Man of Property -

In the upper room at french's, where a Forsyte could still get heavy English food, James and his son were sitting down to lunch.  Of all eating places, James liked best to come here.  There was something unpretentious, well-flavoured and filling about it and, though he had been to a certain extent corrupted by the necessity of being fashionable, and the trend of habits keeping pace with an income that would increase, he still hankered in quiet city moments after the tasty fleshpots of his earlier days.

I'm reading The Man of Property now - it's the first book I remember seeing at my parent's house, and I can't think why it's taken me this long to pick it up, it's utterly marvellous. Galsworthy is such a deft plotter and so precise with character. Within the first couple of hundred words, someone remarks - a propos of nothing - that she believes Irene has asked Soames for separate rooms, and immediately you know this is a marriage in trouble. Soames, the Man of Property, holds possessions dear - like all Forsytes, ownership is the central tenet of his life - he thinks Irene is his property, but realises the futility of trying to possess her. What is masterly is Galsworthy's resistance to offering the reader anything other than a Forsyte point of view, and it's this and its satire that makes it so compelling and thoughtful.  Is Galsworthy - a Nobel prize winner - now a much underrated and neglected writer? It seems to me that if you're neither a Victorian realist nor a Modernist, you get trapped in the cracks of The Canon - Ford Maddox Ford is another such, and he is brilliant - Parade's End quite the best book I've ever read.

22nd January

I visit Graham the hair God for re-blonding. He took me back to my natural auburn at my urging last year but Mr Trefusis loathed it, only ever having known me as a blonde, and didn't hesitate to tell me so. At first, everytime he said he hated it, I would have it dyed a more vivid red to provoke him, but that stopped being fun, so I'm bowing to pressure and Graham will have to start again. He has done, as ever, a tremendous job - I'm now a kind of Venetian blonde - there's enough red in there to remind me of what I once was, but it's blonde enough to appease Mr Trefusis.

23rd January

Horribly late as ever. I have a busy day, but am lunching - at a fashionable restaurant rather than a tasty fleshpot unfortunately - with the inestimable Dr Luca Russo, so he can inspect his work on my face (a little Botox which I think is way too subtle for my liking) and the effects of the fraxel (fresher, I think). I hope he pronounces me 'marvellous'.


Anna said...

Forsyte Saga is one of my favourite books ever. I haven't read Parade's End, but if it is similar, I will.

george tannenbaum said...

I don't read a lot of fiction, but not long ago I watched all two billion episodes of "The Forsyte Saga."

You're making me think I should pick the books up.

Even though it makes us American immigrant lumpen-proletariat feel woefully inadequate.

The Reluctant Launderer said...

So at the risk of being a bit of a pleb, and moving the conversation away from literary matters please to be telling more about The Fraxel Affair?
Tempted & Curious. (Also: Knackered & In Need of a Quick Fix)