The rabbit was sad to learn of the death of British artist Lucian Freud at the age of 88 last Wednesday. Above is his self-portrait Reflection. Freud's early works owed much to surrealism but started in his 30s to paint portraits, usually nudes to the exclusion of pretty much everything else.
Above is an early Freud portrait - Girl with a white dog from 1951-2. The sitter is in fact his first wife, Kitty. Freud had extraordinary rapport with his sitters - which is just as well as he took up a very large amount of their time - up to a year. 'You are the centre of his world while he paints you. But then he moves on to someone else' said one.
Many of his portaraits are nudes, both male and female. Above is Blonde girl on a bed from 1987. The portraits are intimate and never flattering. Some of the images are positively disturbing. Although not an outright recluse, he painted at home, never gave out his phone number and rarely left London. Among his better known sitters wer Kate Moss and fellow artist David Hockney (mercifully clothed in Hockney's case).
Below is Boy on a sofa from 1944. The boy, who was named Billy Lumley, tried to break into Freud's flat. Freud did a deal with him. If Lumlwey sat for him, Freud would not report him to the police. Unsurprisingly the boy accepted. The portrait was sold in the same year for £14. It recently was sold again - at Sothebys for £1.5 million.
A fascinating man and creative genius, grandson of Sigmund, brother of Clement and father of Bella. Talented lot those Freuds. Very much a man of his time. We will not see his like again.
Two stories caught the rabbit's eye yesterday, both of which seemed examples of the contemporary tendency to overdo it. Firstly, it is hard to keep track of how many Deputy Mayors London has but one is called Richard Barnes, it emerges. He is in charge of equality it transpires. Barnes is in hot water. The topic is rebuilding Euston station. Barnes as follows: 'are they like most Irish builders ... saying it's going to be roughly that' Whereupon our man licked his finger as if checking the wind direction.
Rabbit reaction. Witless Tory boy stuff. Nothing to get too worked up about though. Enter Labour Assembly member Murad Qureshi huffing and puffing for all he is worth.
'I was taken aback by the comment' pronounces our man. 'Given the huge contribution made by the Irish in building London, this is particularly offensive'.'What is even more shocking, is that he made these comments as the Mayor's lead on equality and diversity policies. He should make an unreserved apology to the Irish in London'.
Burden has apologised. Albeit that the remark was better unsaid we are hardly in hate speech territory here. Perhaps the more highblown flights of condemnatory rhetoric should be reserved for really offensive pronouncements not the merely dumb and stereotyping.
For further overdoing it, step forward the TaxPayers' Alliance. Mervy King (above on bottom right) - of whom the rabbit is no fan - is Governor of the Bank of England. He was at the cricket at Lord's yesterday and thus incurred the ire of the TaxPayers' Alliance. Apparently King was also spotted recently at Wimblebore. 'Taxpayers might reasonably expect that given the very immediate crises in the eurozone, Mr King would spend a little less time watching sport and a little more time in the office' huffed and puffed TaxPayers' alliance campaign director Emma Boon. Give us a break (as it were). 'Man goes to sporting event' is hardly a dreadful dereliction of duty. What is he supposed to be doing? Locking himself in a vault at the Bank of England for purposes of self-flagellation? Maybe again the overblown rhetoric could be saved for something serious to complain about.
While on the subject of cricket (sort of) the rabbit is enough of a cricket anorak to notice that the USA Cricket Association is engaged in a tournament with the lengthy title of the ICC Americas Division 1 T20. He is even such an anorak as to have a look at the USA squad for the tournament. Two facts stuck out. Firstly, none of the USA squad is white. Secondly their countries of birth are as follows: Jamaica 4, Guyana 3, India 3, Pakistan 3, not stated 1. Oh and one player was actually born in the USA - the Bronx to be exact. The rabbit wishes them well in their missionary work.
Above is the winner of the fourth White Rabbit Knob of the Week, Lord Carlisle of Berriew for contributing to gagging a member of his own party - Baroness Tonge - for whom the rabbit has high regard - in the House of Lords. There is a bill going through parliament with the clunking title of the Police Reform and Social Responsibilty Bill. Tucked away in it is a clause (155 as you ask) on any sensible view originating with the arrest warrant issued by an English court against Israeli politician Tzipiu Livni. Sadly, she was never arrested on the warrant but a barrage of toys thereupon flew out of the Israeli pram. Connsequences could follow, they darkly hinted. Why being threatened by the international political equivalent of Billy No Mates is so scary remains obscure but the UK government duly rolled over and wagged its paws in the air. The right of a private individual to apply for an arrest warrant under universal jurisdiction was to go. The odious Livni and her ilk would be able to swan about the UK free of any risk of getting their collars felt for war crimes. Jenny Tonge has been one of the few to stand against this snivelling capitulation.
I copy and paste from Hansard...
Baroness Tonge - 'I will briefly run through once again the current right of a private citizen to initiate a private prosecution by applying to a senior district judge to issue an arrest warrant for such criminals as war criminals. We are
not talking about ordinary crimes, but about very big war crimes committed against international law. This ancient, common right has belonged to the people of England and Wales for many years. It is a valuable safeguard against political interference by the Government. This is why I have objected so strongly to the proposed change in Clause 155, which could delay an arrest, allowing the suspect to escape, and could introduce political interference from the Attorney-General...'
'...When we look at this issue, we begin to think-certainly, the people who lobby me in great numbers think-that the real reason for the change in the law was the incident relating to Tzipi Livni. The Foreign Secretary, for whom I have high regard, argued that in the case of Tzipi Livni, the law had been abused when an arrest warrant was issued against her ... but he did not criticise the evidence against her contained in the arrest warrant which had been obtained by a private citizen'.
Carlile sticks his nose in. Tonge lets him...
Lord Carlile of Berriew: I am grateful to my noble friend for allowing me to interrupt, and I am extremely surprised that we have not heard my noble friend on the Front Bench intervening in the way in which he intervened on my noble friend Lord Palmer of Childs Hill a few minutes ago. What my noble friend is saying is out of order, inappropriate and not related to the amendment. She is having a rant at Mrs Livni.
WR:Well she's expressing herself very moderately but so if she was?
He's trying to get her shut up on procedural grounds. He succeeds.
Baroness Tonge: I am not going to give way again. I must finish. We must contrast this action with what has happened in the past couple of weeks where Raed Salah, a Palestinian-
Lord Lucas: I beg to move that the noble Baroness be no longer heard.
At this point Jenny Tonge left.
Lord Carlile of Berriew: My Lords, I have only a few words to add. I am sorry that my noble friend Lady Tonge has chosen to disobey the normal rules of the House and has stormed out in a way which is not appropriate to noble Lords and noble Baronesses in this House. It is something that I, as a member of her party, feel very strongly about, and I hope that none of my noble friends would normally behave in that way. It is quite shocking.
Oh get over it you simpering ninny. Go play with your Knob of the Week award.