I don't know whether Private Eye still has a "Pseuds Corner", but flicking through a copy of The Guardian from early this week, I've found some very promising material for the column. I know I'm stupid to even look at the paper's arts pages, but it just kind of happened before I realised what I was doing.
Journalist Charlotte Higgins has interviewed a man called John Tavener, who apparently became a "household name" after composing some piece of music for Lady Di's funeral. Maybe in the Higgins household he's a household name, but I'm ashamed to admit that he doesn't quite fall into the same category at Woodford Towers. (We've heard of Michael Barrymore and Mahmoud Abbas and consider ourselves to be reasonably cultured.)
The writer's pretention knows no bounds. Having described her 63-year-old interviewee as "etiolated, sunbaked", she says "...he would be more appropriately placed in a setting of either John Pawson-style minimalism or byzantine, gilded splendour." At this point, I'm thinking that her overblown prose would be more appropriately placed in my recycling bin, but I stick with it because something truly bizarre has caught my eye. Tavener claims that his most recent works are inspired by a "dream vision" that occurred after an encounter with an Apache medicine man. He dreamed of the Sufi Frithjof Schuon, who gave him "permission" to work musically within different traditions. Thank God that this permission was granted, eh? To think we might otherwise have been deprived of this bloke's cultural input is just too awful an idea to contemplate.
I won't go into his ideas about the Virgin Mary. That's a whole other blog.