À propos the Marx brothers, apart from the verbal dexterity, their charm was also beyond words:
Harpo is naturally most endearing to musos—notably Steven Isserlis, whose brilliant tribute is here (the link to the radio programme may be defunct, but watch this space). Note his fine historical reflections too.
For Steven’s Bach, see here.
To follow Five easy pieces, a very different kind of oeuvre of that époque—less verité—is Jacques Rivette’s 1974 film Céline et Julie vont en bateau.
One abiding memory is my favourite address, where much of the “action” (if that’s the mot juste) takes place:
7 bis, rue du Nadir-aux-Pommes
I often used this a forwarding address.
What an age—Rafaelson, Bertolucci, Godard, Chabrol… (more here). At the time [historical note—Ed.], the way to see all these films was to do something called “going to the cinema”. Late-night Marx brothers films at the Arts Cinema were a rite de passage too…
In my imagination I tend to reduce my student years to the Tang dynasty, violin, and Adnams, forgetting how important (and how modern) my wider education was—film, art, literature. But the lacunas were remarkable too.
Meanwhile, Li Manshan and his fellow Daoists were languishing in silence and hunger (my book, p.133):
“We just sat around at home, but we could never feel at peace”—always fearing a knock at the door.
My maternal grandfather used to say,
“If we had some bacon, we could have bacon and eggs. If we had some eggs.”
Having assumed this was his own invention, I now find that this goes back at least to Groucho, and perhaps to World War I.
Li Manshan likes this line, identifying with the sentiment with his memories of privation.
This photo, indeed, would have been taken in the late 1950s, just when Yanggao people were starving.