Thursday, February 5, 2009

A loose connection

Malcolm has been mystified by a curious circumstance: why do certain of his posts attract continuing interest?

Unlike some, he does not concern himself with what the commercial operators deem "Statporn". That is probably just as well, recognising Malcolm's tiny presence in cyberspace.

Even so, he could not understand why particular postings, for no outstanding merit, attracted particular, and international interest.

Yes, they had piled in when he blogged on the BNP membership list: that could well be salacious interest.

The odd posting, too, had been picked up, mentioned and thereby recommended by the aristocracy of the blogsmiths.

But that didn't explain the popularity of one particular piece.

This had been inspired by the death of Bill Deedes, the dean of British journalism who was the never-seen, never heard antagonist of Private Eye's "Dear Bill" column. Since Deedes was widely assumed to be the model for Evelyn Waugh's equally magnificent William Boot, that posting was a reflection on the real-life models for artistic constructs.

So, is there an endless procession of Google-enquirers panting for an opinion on Deedes/Boot? Perhaps, but that was not what Malcolm discovered.

It now appears that another person mentioned in that same posting was the flame to which these moths continue to be attracted.

She is Alice Ernestine Prin, a cabaret singer, a small-time actress, a minor expressionist painter, and -- above all -- an artist's model. She died in Sanary-sur-mer, a small port just down the coast from Toulon, in 1953, aged just 52, from drink or drugs. Her body was returned to Paris, where she was buried with considerable cermony and artistic doing in the Montparnasse Cemetery. She therefore shares a small patch of earth with the likes of de Maupassant, de Beauvoir and Sartre, Baudelaire, Alfred Dreyfus, César Franck, Eugène Ionesco, Susan Sontag, the delicious Jean Seberg, and that occasional cricketer Samuel Beckett. If there is an artists' plot, anywhere in the world, illuminated with such a constellation of stars, Malcolm would wish to be notified.

Yet, Alice Prin was not buried under that name. By then she had ascended to the pantheon, those few known by a single name. She was now "Kiki", Kiki de Montparnasse, model for Man Ray (hence the top of this post, and the more familiar illustration to the right) and for others.

So far, so good. But all those "hits" descending on Malcolm's site are not earnest searchers for artistic truth.

It seems that "Kiki" has become the trade name for at least one , err ..., somewhat louche operation.

Not, of course, that Malcolm would wish to advertise. Sphere: Related Content

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