Sunday, 6 January 2013

Soaping the rope

Translating a text from Russian last week, I learned idioms such as that preparing to hang yourself is known as 'soaping the rope'. I have also learned the Russian for 'knuckleduster' and other expressions unsuitable for a family blog. The text I was translating is an adaptation of T. S Eliot's 'Murder in the Cathedral' telling the story of the murder of Alexander Men, the Russian priest celebrated at the conference in Moffat last September (see www.alexandermenconference. com). A Christmas greeting from a friend in America this morning prompted me to look back at the first few entries of this blog in January 2011. I had attended an event to celebrate the writer W E Sebald, inventor of a unique literary genre that includes semi-fictional autobiography, in his adopted country, East Anglia. A highlight of the event was a concert by the remarkable singer songwriter and author, Patti Smith. Why are so many great artists, of this century and the last, Christians - more often than not, converts in maturity? The roll call includes T S Eliot, Graham Green, Boris Pasternak, Evelyn Waugh, Bob Dylan, Fay Weldon and Patti Smith herself.

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