Today The Idle Woman is six years old! I was shocked this morning to realise that another year has whizzed by, but 2016 and 2017 have been so full of incident that it’s really no wonder. I’ve made a real effort to get books back to the top of the blog’s agenda and along the way I’ve read some fabulous things. Three examples which immediately come to mind are Hanya Yanahigara’s gut-wrenching eloquence in A Little Life; K.J. Parker’s Machiavellian fantasy in Devices and Desires; and Amor Towles’s refined, lovable Gentleman in Moscow, which is the most delightful book I’ve read all year.
Yet opera and theatre still hold a firm place in my heart: 2017 has been the year of Hipermestra, while 2016 saw my first visit to the Paris Opera for Eliogabalo, and the unlikely sight of Xerxes singing Ombra mai fu to a Spitfire. More than ever, there’s been a lot of travel to write about, as work has sent me off around the world from Los Angeles to China, not to mention the usual Italian suspects. At every stop, I’ve tried to see as many museums as possible and to share some of my experiences here; but even when that’s not possible, the photographs go up on my (very) active Instagram account. It’s been dizzying, mad, overwhelming on occasion, but always a great deal of fun.
But writing about these things isn’t what keeps The Idle Woman going. It’s hearing back from all of you, whether you’re sharing your own thoughts on something I’ve discussed, recommending something new, or just saying hi. Thank you all so much. Remember that I’m not some faceless creature of the internet. Every time you comment, my phone makes a little ping noise and you make an excitable person very happy. Special thanks to Heloise, with whom I hope to embark on a Tale of Genji reading very soon, and who has always been such a stalwart supporter, despite my recent uselessness as a correspondent. Thanks too to Dehggial for her company at many of London’s Baroque events and for always being so ready to jump into the comments. A wave to Arwen1968 of Waterblogged, whose lovely photos brighten up many a day, and whom I had the pleasure of meeting over a glass of wine. Following her posts on Herodotus, I gamely tried to convert her to the Persian rather than the Greek cause (without success, I fear). And to Kerstin, Isi, RT, Helen and everyone else who’s got involved in discussions this last year, I raise a glass.
Goodness knows what the next year will bring, but I already have a pile of really exciting books lined up; I have several operas and concerts booked in; and I’m already itching to see the forthcoming Scythians show at the British Museum (cavalry charges, horseback archery and golden treasure never fails to fill me with glee). It’s going to be another good year. I can feel it in my bones.
Hugs to all of you for making the blog a success. And thank you.