Two books on Leonardo I’ve read recently show no doubt that Leonardo was a practising homosexual. Nicoll is in no doubt: he says “obviously” homosexual if I remember correctly (Charles Nicholl, Leonardo, Viking 2004). Isaacson thinks likewise, perhaps more cautiously (Walter Isaacson, Leonardo, Simon & Schuster, 2017). Many other modern writers think the same, following … More Leonardo da Vinci: homosexual?
We are all of us products of our heredity and environment (or nature and nurture if you prefer). But while most of us muddle along, some few react so strongly against nature and/or nurture that something extraordinary happens. Creativity is born, new ideas are expressed: and some of these ideas change the world. In what … More Hidden motives
Towards the end of the 18th century in Europe there was a vogue for secret societies. Groups such as the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians were active, with agendas they felt needed to be kept secret from the authorities, who were uniformly reactionary. One of these groups was the Illuminati, originating in Bavaria in 1776 and … More Illuminati
It was a dull Wednesday, three o’clock in the afternoon. It looked like rain. Round the corner of my street a Mr Whippy van came, heralded by a plaintive rendition of a music box “Greensleeves”, to my ear a little out of tune. Nobody came to buy an ice cream. Well, the supermarket was only … More Hawkers
Do you like love stories? I do. Not the he meets she, fall in love, happily ever after type of love story; that mills and boonerism is for people who feel the lack of romance in their lives. I’m thinking of love stories that bear some relation to real life, situation I’ve been in. In … More Love stories
Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature recently: for me this just reinforces the oddity of his career. A literature award for a recording artist is a one off, and the fact that his material has appeared on pop music charts is a real confusion. Pop music is not about excellence, it’s about … More Defining Bob Dylan
From about 105 BC to 14 AD the Roman state experienced wars, revolts and invasions perilously close to the city of Rome. Invasions of German tribes, riots in the city, rebellion by Latin allies, the bloody dictatorship of Sulla, revolt of the gladiators, the conspiracy of Catiline, the takeover of political power by a triumvirate … More Lazarus