Posts Tagged ‘Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour’

Pue’s Recommendations for October

5 October 2009

womansHeadJuliana Adelman I think all the papers and literary prize givers have beat me to this recommendation, but I am reading Leviathan, or the whale by Philip Hoare at the moment and it deserves every bit of praise received.  It’s a lovely combination of history, natural history, literary criticism and memoir.  I’ve also started reading another history blog, ‘A Historian’s Craft’, written by Cambridge PhD student Rachel Leow.

Lisa-Marie Griffith I haven’t made my final choice just yet, but I have to get to a play at this years Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. I went to the Edvard Munch Prints exhibition on Monday at the National Gallery and was pleasantly surprised to discover that all exhibitions are free on a Monday. I’m not sure if this is new or I have missed it previously!

Kevin O’Sullivan Halloween paraphernalia on the shelves and time wasted searching the paper for something to fill dark evenings when you should be checking out our weekly TV and radio guide. Here’s a few highlights: In Our Time is back on BBC Radio 4; the last part of Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour is on Channel 4 this Sunday (11 October); and ‘A Word With’ The Economist has an interesting take on the reconstruction -v- conservation debate raging on Skellig Michael.

A Design for Life

28 September 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour, Channel 4, Sunday 27 September 2009

Pantheon by PaniniConsider this. You’ve come up with a brilliant idea for a mini series on the British grand tourists who travelled through early modern Europe, the places they visited, the foods they tasted, the ideas they borrowed, the things they saw. The second of four instalments details the link between the reconstruction of London after the Great Fire and the architecture of early modern Florence and Rome. In the corners of these majestic cities it uncovers the influences borrowed by the architect Christopher Wren in the construction of St Paul’s Cathedral, the greatest monument to his elaborate and uncompleted plans to transform and rejuvenate a devastated London.

So far, so good, you might think.

But then you place your knowledgeable and articulate presenter (Kevin McCloud of the excellent Grand Designs) on the floor of the Medici Chapel in Florence and have him gaze up at the simple beauty of its Michelangelo-designed dome. McCloud utters something profound about the master’s craft, about this being architecture as power rather than architecture for the people. This is, he tells us, the place where ‘classical mythology meets dynasty, without the shoulder pads. Come to think of it, with the shoulder pads.’

And there it is: the slap in the face for the unsuspecting viewer, the reminder that this is diet history, history zero, history free, or whichever faddish description most tickles your fancy. But is it forgivable?

Just about. Read More