Channel 5 finally got around to screening the second half of the series “Brian Sewell’s Grand Tour”, featuring Sewell following the route of the English “grand tourists” of the 18th and 19th centuries through France and Italy, a journey he previously took as a student 50 years ago. The 9th of 10 programmes is screened next Tuesday at 7:15 pm.
Sewell is a neglected and often ridiculed beacon of intelligence, taste and culture in these wretched, dim, darkening isles, where culture is no longer seen as having any value unless it has monetary value, and creativity has no purpose unless that purpose is to generate income. There is no room for art any more, it’s been elbowed out for yet more commerce and shopping, overseen by the heavy, drifting slick of managers, agents, funding bodies and appointment panels who settle for the safest option. Shits.
Sewell was on BBC Radio 4’s “Quote Unquote” an hour ago, implying that the enthusiasm for the motor car so forcefully expressed in the 1909 manifesto of the Futurists was in fact nicked from Toad’s similar excitement in Kenneth Grahame’s “Wind In The Willows”, published in 1908.
He’s probably right.
Should anyone read this who is unfamiliar with Brian Sewell and his work, go to brian-sewell.com , where t-shirts are only 28 and a half guineas – or for a flavour of his style of delivery explore the Brian Sewell soundboard and other delights at the .co.uk site.