I Didn’t Know It Until Yesterday…

… but it’s been me and Paranà Coffee all along. Proof beyond the jump.

A happy 51st to Paranà.

I’ve buried the lede, as usual, but I should also add that, in this week’s Mind Meld, the ever-unpredictable and yet predictably awesome Claire Cooney named the Morlock series as one of those she’d want to see made into a TV show (like Game of Thrones, only gamier–more aromi and sapori). Thanks Claire! Is good idea. I’ll get Mike to set that up.

I saw the coffee truck when I was at the Museum of Modern Art in Rome, where there is a jaw-droppingly wonderful exhibition of the pre-Raphaelites, along with their Italian fellow-travellers like Previati. I think we are supposed to hate the pre-Raphaelites these days, but I don’t give a damn. They painted beautiful images that could have been great covers for fantasy novels. (Yes, that is meant to sound like praise. If it doesn’t, you may be reading the wrong blog.)

The museum had the usual small-minded attitude towards photographs. I can understand banning flash-photos: those countless blasts of light can’t be good for the pigments. But the only reason I can see for banning photos without flash is so that they can sell images in the gift shop. I rebelled against this tyranny, firstly, by not buying any pre-Raphaelite gear–even though they had a Frederic Leighton beer-hat that totally rocked! (No, not really.) And, secondly, I snuck a few photos anyway. Fat lot of good it did me; most of them fell foul to reflections and my inability to hold a camera straight.

Of the pre-Raphaelites, I think I like Burne-Jones best, and they had a couple of his Perseus pieces, one of which I’d never seen. Sadly, those images are among the no-hopers. I especially like, in the study of Medusa’s slaying, the swirl of darkness representing Perseus’ invisibility and the look of dismay and surprise on the face of one of the surviving Gorgons. (Stheno? Euryale? Discuss!) No one ever thinks how these things affect the henchman’s family and friends, as Austin Powers and the Venture Bothers remind us, but before them there was Burne-Jones. Here’s a tiny and inadequate version I found online:

The one Burne-Jones image I grabbed yesterday that halfway came out was his “Heart of the Rose”:

There was also a lot of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as you might expect. I was struck again, and more forcefully than ever, by how obsessed he became with Jane Morris. I’ve always wondered how her husband, William Morris, felt about that. Anyway, here’s a crummy snap I took of what may be my favorite of Rossetti’s paintings: Persephone (starring the ever-present Jane Morris as the goddess… I guess that makes William Morris into Hades).

I have not yet met Archie Goodwin or Nero Wolfe running around Rome. But I could have: someone is apparently making an Italian version of the Nero Wolfe stories and they were filming along the Tiber last week. I got this exciting shot of one of the production trailers.

The idea of Nero Wolfe in a Roman taxi will be especially amusing to those acquainted with both dangerous mythological beasts. I wish Rex Stout had thought to write that one up.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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