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Thursday, 12 November 2020


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I know "Alice" virtually by heart. It was the standard text for practice lines (from dialogue) in an extensive communications course I took in my youth.

Love Simon Winchester's work, some great armchair traveling there.

There is a long tradition of renewing yesterday's classic with an illustrator of today. Ralph Steadman's take on "Alice" much fun. Kudos to TOP for reading suggestions!

Tony Armstrong-Jones shot the sexiest photograph of Helen Mirren that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

It's of her in front of a makup mirrror.... easy to find if you consult Dr Google.

I photographed both TA-J and the princess when they came to perform a ceremony at the Scottish Design Centre. I also got the Queen and the Duke of E in the same venue. I no longer have the negs for the TA-J shots, but I do for the other couple and a few of the pix are somewhere on the website, fwiw.

Golden years. For all involved.

I wonder if you know Dodgson / Carroll's parody of Longfellow, "Hiawatha's Photographing"? If you don't you should look it up. It starts with a nice description of using a view camera...


“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

--John Rogers

Speaking of Alice, I believe the last movie with Wendy Hiller (the lead in for example Shaw’s Pygmalion) was entitled (as I recall) "Alice," and is about an older Alice coming to understand her relationship with Dodgson. It was IMO outstanding, but (1) the movie is AFAIK never listed amongst her credits and (2) I don’t believe a Google search comes up with the movie at all. As though it never existed. Odd.

[That happens to me occasionally. Probably you're remembering something amiss--wrong film name, wrong actress, something. An "I could have sworn..." type of situation. Only speaking from my own experience! --Mike]

That marriage confirmed what is known in practice: don't try to "tie" a photographer. He/she is a free spirit.

Looking for photos by A A-J, I came across this quote:

"I'm very much against photographs being framed and treated with reverence and signed and sold as works of art. They aren't. They should be seen in a magazine or a book and then be used to wrap up the fish and chucked away."


No, actually I am quite sure the movie was w/ Ms. Hiller and it was about Alice, as a very old adult talking about/understanding her relationship with him.

The circumstance that causes her to reflect on same is her being interviewed about it.

I had wanted to watch it again years ago, and I was surprised I could not find the movie mentioned. "Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice ... .

I too love the books of Simon Winchester, for storytelling and a superb standard of writing. I would especially recommend 'The Professor and the Madman' (in the UK 'The Surgeon of Crowthorne'). His book 'The perfectionists' or 'Exactly' I thought did not meet its own brief in handling the subject; it was entertaining though.

Here it is:


Purely on the subject of "books to read," I just ordered Rutger Bregman's Humandkind, which I hope will be a sort of antidote to the despair that it is easy to feel right now. You can read a moving excerpt of the book here.

Looking at the reflection in the car window makes me wonder who the reflected photographer was focusing on. Who was riding in the car with Tony and Margaret?

[I assumed it was an additional camera hanging from the neck or shoulder of the photographer who took the picture. Photographers in those days tended to use one lens per camera, but carried several cameras. --Mike]

Than you, Pete, for digging up that snap of Helen Mirren: confirms my memory ain't left me quite yet!

If anyone knows of one sexier of that lady, don't be shy: send the link!


Dodgson was also a lecturer in mathematics and logic and the 2 Alice books have long been appreciated by philosophers because in them Dodgson included examples of probably every logical fallacy and paradox known to him, most of which are not noticed by those readers without some knowledge of logic. Philosophers have been plundering the books for examples to use in lectures since soon after they were written.

My favourite edition of the 2 books is Peter Heath's "The Philosopher's Alice" which provides annotations identifying and commenting on all of the logical and philosophical "wonders" of the books with the kind of humour that led Dodgson to work them into his narratives. Very well worth a read by anyone who wants to know just what really is going on in the books when things get weird.

Alice's Adventures Underground is very different from Alice in Wonderland. It is a children's story. The bound story given to Alice is half the length of Alice in Wonderland and was handwritten and illustrated by Dodgson himself. He even pasted a photograph of Alice on the last page. It was published in handwritten form and with Dodgson's illustrations in 1985 by Pavilion Press.

Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass are as much books for adults as books for children. They have an interest for me as I was an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford, where Alice was the daughter of the Dean and Charles Dodgson was a maths don. One of my few claims to fame was appearing as an extra in a German seminar in about 1966 when the BBC was making a documentary at Christ Church about Lewis Carroll.

In the 1960's and 70's (when I was a teen), Martin Gardner's Annotated Alice was THE reference for the Alice books. Here's Amazon's links:


Stan Greenberg, Kabri

The cover photograph of "Snowdon: A Life In View” driving an Aston Martin say’s it all regarding his protestation of other photographers selling their work as art. The 1960 UK list price of an Aston Martin was in the equivalent US Dollars, $12,687.

[Current inflation-adjusted equivalent, $111,600. And the price of a modern Aston Martin starts at around $156,000. --Mike]

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