Much activity during the last few days promoting the book, although it is not actually published until late October. First the book launch in the Feather’s Hotel Woodstock. The first outing for my Che jacket (plate 6.14 in the book), and I wore no socks as a homage to Einstein. Yes, he really did not wear socks. Then speaking on the Sunday at the Woodstock Literary Festival. It’s always unnerving for someone who has spent most of their career speaking to captive audiences to rely upon people turning up because they have decided to do so. At least the audience was a good size. Interesting questions.
Talking about the book in 40 mins is tricky, since there are 11 images. Running through them with 3-4 mins allocated to each would be pretty tedious. I decided, after an intro, to run through all 11 quite rapidly – partly to stimulate some audience thinking: “surely such-and-such an image is more famous that that one…” I then explain that I am taking leading examples of types of iconic image rather than providing a top 11. I can then explore some of the quirkier and more powerful stories for selected images. I find it difficult not to stumble when discussing the napalmed girl in Nick Ut’s harrowing photograph and the events at Iwo Jima immortalised in Joe Rosenthal’s shots of the marines raising the flag. There is something in this talk on which to build for future outings.
On Monday at 9.00 Start the Week on Radio 4 with Andrew Marr. We have worked together before. He is professional, clever and draws very well! My fellow guests, Misha Glennie, Jane Parvitt and Tom Uglow (son of Jenny, the author), mesh together pretty well. It was fun. As I hoped, the range of material in C to C provides people with diverse interests their own way in. Then to the Wallace collection restaurant for an interview with Kathy Brewis for the Sunday Times magazine. We concentrate on the “new” Leonardo, the Salvator Mundi, which is to make its public debut at the National Gallery in London in October. The interview was set up by OUP, and I am providing some exclusive information as promised. I would not necessarily have chosen the Sunday Times, but it’s a question of who will provide the best coverage. I’ll try to put up an image.
Monday is devoted to writing a piece for a Spanish Newspaper. They have asked for 100–150 words on each of my team of 11. (I’ve just realised that 11 is the number of players in football, cricket and hockey teams – the latter my main sport). It’s a real challenge, compressing things to that degree – a bit oppressive, and I go for a walk having done 5 of them. But I think it works, and it is a salutary exercise. I’ll post it once it’s been published.