A year on the Hill of Corton

Archive for March, 2020

Livres en Vignes 2019

I can only say blogging has not been a priority for some time. I am irregular at best and do not want the expression of my thoughts and pictures to become a treadmill, a virtual pet that needs feeding constantly. I hope to share, but on my terms. It is an outlet for me, not a marketing tool.

Coronavirus has brought normal life to a halt, so I have time to catch up.

It will give me a chance to relive, and reflect on, an interesting few months that now seem part of a former life I have lost contact with. Maybe it will bring it back to life and keep me going. We all need to keep going. We all need to realise the necessity to adapt, to change not only our lives, but ourselves. To reexamine our values from the new perspective forced on us. We have made mistakes, taken wrong turnings. Sometimes we do it out of thoughtlessness or selfishness. But we can start to improve things by doing the simple things with more thought for each other. Those small kindnesses that when we are able to perform them make others feel better and us too. We must appreciate what others do for us, how important are these small things that we are too busy to notice.

If we were worried about global warming, nature has told us off, put us in detention and given us time to adjust our thinking and behaviour. It seems as if it all comes down to a choice between possessions and people. Perhaps its time to worry less about what WE need and recognise the needs of others.

.Its not the economy, stupid, its your neighbour that counts. Not what he has and you don’t, but what you have and he does n’t.

Four years after my first experience with Une Année en Corton, I was asked back to this annual book fair to sit behind a pile of my second book “4 Seasons in Côte Chalonnaise”. It had been a much less traumatic birth as I was prepared for the labour of the final hours. However Laurent Poyol the designer was great to work with and was as kind as one can be when there are pictures to be culled. I took a look at initial layouts, rich in the designer’s input and recommended him to look at Ralph Gibson’s book of black and white photographs “The Spirit of Burgundy”. Beautifully clean pages prevent any distractions for the eye. Of course Gibson’s is an art book, the unintelligible preliminary text tells you that, so no captions are required.

4 Seasons is not “Art”, it is intended to communicate on a somewhat lower level. In an interview with Journal Saône et Loire, Emmanuel Mère the writer of the text, describes the book as a “vulgarisation”. Not a kind word to use on a book you have have contributed to I thought. On consulting numerous sources I found a definition that left me feeling a little less slandered: “to make intelligible.” In fact what users anything that is unintelligible I ask myself. Art in its many forms is, I confess, sometimes unintelligible. Paul Delaroche thought that the Daguerreotype had killed painting in 1839. I did n’t, it just sent it mad ! Or at least very angry. Its as if photography sent art or painting into a sulk and it would no longer talk to people wanted intelligibility. Of course photography, however much the English photographer Snowdon saw it as a craft, has become an art form and cut off relations with its forebears. So I am not an artist. I hope to introduce, to explain, to clarify, to admire,to amuse. But not to confuse.

Livres en Vignes you may recall from my last post on the subject is a wonderful weekend of meeting book buyers and authors under the hallowed roof and at the wonderful tables of Château du Clos de Vougeot.

Great fun and a “novel” experience for an Englishman ! Let the pictures tell their story…

Optimistic pile of books
This will do nicely !
Cécile Tremblay and Philippe Charlopin are interested in my neighbour’s book.
French author from “Central Casting “?
A visit from Les Muzards of Santenay
Apero ?
The Japanese love books about Burgundy
Jacky Rigaux draws the crowds
As does Jean-Robert Pitte
Can’t argue with that !
Meanwhile the kitchen is hard at work preparing for dinner tonight
Summoned by trumpets !

Time to mingle before dinner.
Some of us have been intronised !
Cheese madame …?
Time for a song
Or a speech
Or a chat with Jean-Nicolas Meo
Then another song…
Before the traditional finale
And Loic and the rest play a departing fanfare !
Everyone on their buses please !
Sunday morning we are ready to go again !
Under the watchful eyes of the monks.
and Vincent from L’Athenaeum !