Post image for Welcome

THE FOX

My soul is a fox with a hen in its maw
And the tingle of blood in its tooth and its claw
That slips through the curtain of half-conscious dawns,
Its ears always pricked for the hounds and the horns
Of its past and its future, its life and its death,
With the kill in its mouth and the shriek on its breath,
Into mornings of calm, when there’s nothing to hear
And the air is quite still, and the sky is quite clear,
And the prey is at peace, and the fox in its den
That has lived one more day in this strange world of men.

By Jonathan Steffen

First published in ‘The Spectator’, 21 April 2018

Scott Walker and Frank Sinatra

Thumbnail image for Scott Walker and Frank Sinatra

I have been listening to Scott Walker recently, having strayed across some of his recordings of Jacques Brel’s songs. His voice seems to come from the depths ‒ literally, from somewhere beneath the surface of existence.

Read the full article →

19th Graham Greene International Festival 2017

Thumbnail image for 19th Graham Greene International Festival 2017

From its portrayal of razor gangs in 1930s Brighton to its depiction of the machinations of the CIA in 1950s Indochina, the work of the British novelist Graham Greene remains not only chillingly accurate but also enduringly relevant. Swap acid for cutthroat razors and the Middle East for the Far East, and Greene might almost be talking about our own times.

Read the full article →

Boccaccio and Dante: The miracle of free speech

Thumbnail image for Boccaccio and Dante: The miracle of free speech

One of the many wonderful aspects of Boccaccio’s genius is his relationship with Dante. Bocaccio greatly admired Dante: he knew him, he wrote a biography of him, and he lectured on The Divine Comedy – becoming in the process the first person in the late Middle Ages to lecture formally on a contemporary author.

Read the full article →

The Loves of Mars and Venus:Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the birth of modern ballet, performed at Drury Lane Theatre in 1717

Thumbnail image for The Loves of Mars and Venus:Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the birth of modern ballet, performed at Drury Lane Theatre in 1717

Dance is arguably the most ephemeral of art forms, eternally of the moment and impossible to capture in its totality. From the late 19th century, it became possible to document it in photographs, and from the 20th century in film, but even footage of Rudolf Nureyev, Josephine Baker or Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in their pomp cannot quite render of power and brilliance that must have blazed forth from their every step when they danced live.

Read the full article →

Hearses

Thumbnail image for Hearses

Like regrets drifting through consciousness,
They glide through the streets of our cities,
Untouchably themselves,
Silently intent on their purpose,
Counting eternities with each corner they turn.

Read the full article →

Cities as ideas

Thumbnail image for Cities as ideas

14 August 2017
Rome Airport
I am beginning to understand that great cities are always infinitely more than themselves. By this I do not mean simply that a city comprises its present existence together with all of its history: I mean, rather, that it comprises all these things plus all attempts, in the past as well as in the present, to imagine it differently – or, alternatively, to reconstruct its long-lost past.

Read the full article →

The Presence and the Absence of Rome

Thumbnail image for The Presence and the Absence of Rome

The Presence and the Absence of Rome
My visit to Rome of October 2016, and this current one, seem to have completely reversed the negative impression I developed of the city in 1982, when I first visited it.

Read the full article →

POSTPONED until further notice – “All of Your Daybreaks”

Thumbnail image for POSTPONED until further notice – “All of Your Daybreaks”

Due to unforeseen circumstances, “All of Your Daybreaks” at Cambridge Polo Club has been postponed until further notice. Please check back soon for more information.    An Evening of Poetry and Song with Jonathan Steffen and Friends Cambridge Polo Club, Saturday 2nd September, 7:30 p.m. Doors open 7:00 p.m.   Following on from the “Saddle and Ride” concert of January […]

Read the full article →

Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Thumbnail image for Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Saw – at last – Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God yesterday. A marvellous film, all the better for being viewed in German: it allowed me to concentrate entirely upon the images. The experience of watching films in foreign languages inclines me to think that in the best films, dialogue is all but irrelevant.

Read the full article →

Diarists

Thumbnail image for Diarists

Last night in bed, I dipped into the second volume of Virginia Woolf’s Diaries, and the Diaries of Franz Kafka. The desire to imitate a diarist is extraordinarily strong, I find

Read the full article →