Monday, 26 March 2018

Mistress of None

Hello again and apologies for the brief break in service.  I have been busy at work on my book about Pre-Raphaelite women, due out at in the Autumn (and available for pre-order here (UK) and (USA), but whilst doing research and the suchlike, I started wondering about a word that kept being bandied about.  That word is 'Mistress'...

Fazio's Mistress (1863-73) Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Language has power and it is up to us to see when more is being said than the mere words spoken or written.  This is definitely the case with the word 'Fat' (see this post) and 'Old' (see this post) which carry with them value judgments, but how about the word 'Mistress'?  What do we mean when we call a woman someone's mistress?

Mistress of the Moat (1898) Herbert Alfred Bone
On the one hand, in a very basic way, 'mistress' is just the female version of 'master'.  This posh lady on a horse is married to the man who owns the house, I'm guessing, but just her very regal presence on her equally regal horse makes her the boss of the moat.  Look how the various birds look at her with birdy respect.  She is in charge of everything, well, until her husband gets home.

'O Mistress Mine, Where are you Roaming?'  (1899) Edwin Austin Abbey
Moving on, the word 'mistress' is often said in a possessive sense, as in 'my mistress' (or in the case above 'mistress mine'). It's difficult sometimes to define exactly how this is meant - a servant might refer to his mistress but then it means something different to when a man says it.  When the man in the above painting asks the question 'o mistress mine, where are you roaming?' is he asking as he equal or her inferior?  Is the inference one of respect or possession?  Also, being called a man's mistress is a very loaded term...

Lillie Langtry, mistress
So, I'm writing my mini-biographies of 50 Pre-Raphaelite women and one word that comes up quite a bit is 'mistress'.  For women like Lillie Langtry, it refers to her relationships with married men, although half the time she too is married, so what is the equivalent term for chaps who have affairs with married women?  Also, with women like Lillie, many of the men she was having affairs with weren't married so they definitely count as the male equivalent of 'mistress' - 'masters'?  no, that has the connotation of being the superior partner in a relationship that definitely isn't one of equality.

The Awakening Conscience (1853) William Holman Hunt
This is probably what most people think of when they think of Victorian mistresses.  This young lady is a 'kept woman', in her own luxurious little house in St John's Wood, where her rich gentleman acquaintance can pop in for a tickle on her ivories.  He is married, she is not, least of all to him.  He is wealthy, she is not, and everything she now possesses is courtesy of her chap with the implication that he can remove it as swiftly as he bestowed it. If she is his mistress, he very definitely is her master.

The Reluctant Mistress (no date) Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta
Look at this woman: he's given her a bunch of flowers, what more does she want? There is a definite sense that women, when provided with nice furniture and a very pleasant tea-service should be available for naughtiness.  There is an unspoken (but very loudly hinted at) commercial transaction going on.  She is what we think of as a mistress, a sort of luxury item that rich men have.  Do poor men not have mistresses?  Is that a word that also then has socio-economic implications (get me with the big words)? Therefore, is 'mistress' the sort of word you use for a rich man's poppet, when if she was involved with a poor man, you'd call her a rude name?  A bit like 'mad' and 'eccentric', it's what people say when they'd like to insult you but you're too rich, so they can't.

Portrait of Emma Hill (1852) Ford Madox Brown
The reason I started my meandering through all this was because of Emma Hill.  Reading the many different accounts of her and Ford Madox Brown's relationship, she is repeatedly described as his 'mistress'.  Admittedly, a couple of months ago, I didn't know very much about Emma and Brown so assumed, because of the 'mistress' tag, that Brown was still married when he started shacking up with Emma.  However, he had been widowed and Emma was his model who declared her love for him.  They were both free and single so why is she is his 'mistress'?

Jane Morris, apparently also a mistress
Type in 'mistress' in Bridgeman Art Library and lo and behold you get Jane Morris.  Undoubtedly, she did have an extra-marital affair but the 'marital' was on her side, so why is she 'mistress'?  Such is the link between sex and inspiration in the narrative of Pre-Raphaelite art, that we seem to use the words 'muse' and 'mistress' interchangeably.  The women are seen as the lesser-partners in all this, what they bring to the party is sex and nothing more.  It's not just about being married/unmarried, but also the status of men both in and out of wedlock.  'Mistress', once a term simply denoting the woman in charge of something, has now become irreversibly linked to sex, and not only that but relationships, like that of Emma and Brown, are made implicitly about sex and with the understanding that it isn't a partnership.

And then, the lover sighing like furnace... (1883) Charles Seton
Is it too loaded a word for us to use now?  Leaving aside the rights and wrongs with messing about with married men, what does it say about our use of language that we have changed the meaning of a word to say something derogatory about women?  Even if we seem to be able to apply the term, without prejudice, to a woman in the past, once into the 19th century it becomes synonymous with sexually-available, bought woman, and not the coy-romance of the gentleman in the picture above who is sighing like a furnace 'with a woeful ballad made to his mistress' eyebrow'. In those terms, she is mistress of his heart, and possibly that window seat. It seems we have become quick to downplay not only women's role in relationships but the strength and meaning of those relationships.  It could be argued that there is a moral implication against the man who has a mistress that is not present in, for example, 'boyfriend and girlfriend'. Mind you, once you get past a certain age, it's hard to describe your partner as your 'boyfriend' if he has grey hair.  We need better words.

Now, what is the word for a single man having an affair with a married woman?  Okay, we all need to behave ourselves until we have this sorted out...


Friday, 2 March 2018

Review: Victorian Giants

I love the National Portrait Gallery.  I don't think I have ever been to an exhibition there that I didn't adore or that they didn't do exceptionally well.  I still have really fond memories of the Millais Portraits exhibition they did many years ago.  They also do really good catalogues.  Anyway, enough of this swooning - to business! or rather, here is my review of the Victorian Giants exhibition that opened yesterday and runs until 20th May...


I was lucky enough to be invited to the press review and so spent time on Wednesday up in snowy London seeing how you could bring together the careers of Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Rejlander and Clementina Hawarden, all pioneers in 'art photography' in the middle of the 19th century.  As we have discussed before, I have come across the work of all of them, but only written about Cameron, Carroll and Rejlander.  My knowledge of Hawarden was limited to 'she was a bit posh and did girls in sunlit rooms, like an arty Victorian version of Flowers in the Attic'.  I was delighted to learn more...

Clementina Maude (1862-3) Clementina Hawarden
Short-lived Scottish aristo, Lady Clementina Hawarden didn't (in my mind, anyhow) seem to have a great deal in common with, for example, Lewis Carroll, but the genius of this exhibition is that they  not only show who bought whose photographs, but also put images together so you end up going 'Oh, I see...'

Kate Terry as Andromeda (1865) Lewis Carroll
There are rather a lot of 'oh, I see' moments in the show, not only with what they show, but also if you bring your own knowledge to bear on what you see.  Hawarden's captive girls, caught by privilege and isolated by their gender, are clearly reflected in images of captive princesses, offered up as sacrifice.  

Lord Elcho and Son (1860) Oscar Rejlander

Detail of Tennyson and son, from a photograph of the Marshall Family (1857) Lewis Carroll
The very dignified image of Lord Elcho and his little poppet of a son reminded me of that weird image of Tennyson looking very wary with Hallam on his knee, taken by Lewis Carroll.  They couldn't be more different in tone even though it is essentially the same image.  You begin to learn about the person behind the camera by what they think is okay to show in front of it.  I really think Carroll lacked the ability to distinguish emotional responses in his subjects because there are moments where you wonder why he chose that picture, that expression or response from his subject, but that also is what makes him an interesting chap, if a little controversial.

Alice Liddell (1870) Lewis Carroll
If you were hoping for a discussion about Carroll's motivation in his photography of children, this is not the exhibition for you, but then I'm guessing we're all grown ups and don't need that.  In fact, I found the NPG have done much to reintegrate Carroll's work into the mainstream and when seen in the context of others, he doesn't seem so weird. So when you take this...
The Beggar Maid (1858) Lewis Carroll
in the same breath as this...

Beggar Boy (1862) Oscar Rejlander
It just seems part of the same 'poverty as art' theme, whilst being equal parts conscience-raising and distasteful is not sexual.  Even when Carroll is being a bit 'dodgy', seen within the context of what others were doing, it loses some of its impact, for example...

Xie Kitchin Asleep on a Sofa (1873) Lewis Carroll

Charlotte Norman (1863) Oscar Rejlander
It's all about context and what the others were doing at the same time.  I suppose, if I had a criticism, then Hawarden, with her beautiful girl-butterflies trapped in one room, shows the least range and doesn't participate in the sharing of subjects to the same extent the others do.  It's wonderful to see Lewis Carroll's images of Tennyson beside Rejlander's and Cameron's, not to mention the sharing of John Herschel and Charles Darwin between photographers.  When grouped like that you can enjoy the precision of Carroll, the dream-like qualities of Cameron and Rejlander's depth and wit.  Actually for me, Oscar Rejlander came out of this as a bit of a star.  Carroll lacks humour in his work but Rejlander has it in buckets, often straying into absurdity but always very well done.  He can also match Cameron for sheer beauty which made the part of the gallery with their photographs together an utter delight.

Unidentified Woman (1863-6) Oscar Rejlander
Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty (1866) Julia Margaret Cameron
So in conclusion, this is gorgeous.  The way all four photographers moved in and out of each others lives is fascinating and Oscar Rejlander should be a national Swede-y hero for what he has brought to our photography heritage.  Boobs, for one thing.

Female Draped Artist Study (1857) Oscar Rejlander
Since the NPG acquired the Rejlander album last year, this exhibition has always been on the cards and in a way I wish they had done a one-man show but it is a wonderful blend of the familiar and the obscure, the great and the nude of Victorian society and I can't recommend it enough.  I'll end on my favourite image, which looks like a 1940s movie poster...

John and Minnie Constable, Looking into the Fire, All Hallow's Eve (1860-6)
God bless you, Rejlander, that's delicious.

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography is on until May and further information can be found here.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Never the Bridesmaid

Today marks the death of Fanny Cornforth in 1909 and so I'd thought I'd display my utter Fanny-centricness (completely a word and possibly a euphemism) with yet more of my random ramblings and conspiracy theories.  It all started with this drawing...

Study of a Female Head (1865) Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I had always assumed that this was Fanny Cornforth because, well, it looks exactly like her. Not only that, I always assumed that it was a sketch for this...

The Blue Bower (1865)
It's Fanny giving a bit of side-jaw while cheekily plucking her whatsit.  I really had not given it any thought, but according to the Rossetti Archive (the holy grail of Rossetti research material) the pencil sketch is proposed to be a study for The Bride (or The Beloved)...

The Bride (or The Beloved) (1866)
That noise is me making a unladylike dismissive snort, but, as we have spoken about earlier, 1865 is a bit of a dodgy year for Rossetti.  Lizzie Siddal had died a few years previously and in the void she left, Fanny had wiggled in quite comfortably, thank you very much.  She had taken over patching up Rossetti after his wife's death, a job she would continue to do until his death in 1882.  He in turn had used her in paintings such as Fazio's Mistress to express how beautiful and necessary she was to his vision.  The problem was that he was the only one who felt like that.

Lady Lilith (before)

Lady Lilith (after)
Lady Lilith had been a work in progress ever since Rossetti did Fazio's Mistress.  The vision of a beautiful, powerful woman, dressing her hair in front of a mirror was a lovesong to Fanny and her tresses. Likewise, Lilith is a step removed from romance, but still is a woman and her hair on a pedestal.  Unfortunately for Fanny, Lady Lilith with her face was not selling so Rossetti swiped Alexa Wilding off the street and slapped her face over the top. As I postulated earlier, maybe the same occurred with Monna Vanna also from 1865.  So back to The Bride...

Marie Ford as 'The Bride'
Let's talk a bit about the construction of The Beloved: If Fanny had been intended to go in the picture, she wasn't the only substitution.  A bit like Annie Miller in (or not in) The Awakening Conscience, it is roundly believed that the Bride in the centre of the painting is a professional model called Marie Ford.  The studies of the central figure from around 1863, but the final figure, certainly after the 1872 repaint resembles Alexa Wilding, again.

The Beloved photographed during the 1872 repaint
Look at the shape of the jawline in the photograph and then in the finished oil.  There is definitely something going on there. I call 'Alexa' on that redhead. To the Bride's left is little Ellen Smith, looking all small and cute and brunette.  She is present and correct in both the finished oil and the photograph of work in progress, so we'll give her a pass.

Study for a Bridesmaid
We also have this young lady, who looks suspiciously like Aggie Manetti and may either be a study for Keomi (who we'll get to in a moment) or the back left Bridesmaid who we can't really see. Imagine sitting for Rossetti, possibly having your shoes eaten or wee-ed on by random animals in the house, and no doubt getting a scowling from Fanny, only to find out you are at the back of the wedding photo and Ellen is blocking you.  Rude.  Moving round, next to her is thought to be Fanny Eaton.

Study of a Woman (1860s)
Fanny modelled for various of the Pre-Raphaelites (and others) during the 1860s and some of her many children followed her into modelling.  It is possible that the child at the front was one of Fanny's to start with, as the little boy replaced a girl with a cherubic face and frizzy hair.

Girl with Long Hair for 'The Beloved'

Girl with Short Hair for 'The Beloved'

Boy for 'The Beloved'
As you can see the child servant changed from the little girls to a boy, reportedly called 'Gabriel' who was working as a servant, and spotted by Rossetti at the door of a hotel.  In 1865, Rossetti and Fanny had visited Paris together and it is likely that Rossetti had seen Edouard Manet's Olympia, which is supposed to have influenced him and made him add the black servant figure.  As Rossetti loathed the painters in Paris, I wonder how great an influence they were and it might just have started out as an opportunistic addition, if the child was in attendance with Fanny Eaton when she posed. Either way, Rossetti wasn't above changing his mind about who appeared in the picture.

Keomi Gray study for 'The Beloved'
So finally, over on the right-hand side is Keomi the gypsy, mistress and model of Frederick Sandys and star of such of his paintings as Medea and  Vivien among others.  If you look at the photograph of the repainting, a sizable bit of Keomi is missing, so I wondered if she had been the replacement for Fanny, if Fanny was indeed in there at all, but the drawing that exists of her is from 1865, which says to me that she was always intended for the part and that would tie in with how close Sandys and Rossetti were at that time.  So what about Fanny?

Possible study for 'The Beloved'
While we're on the subject, this sketch is also meant to be from The Beloved.  My God, is everything from The Beloved now? Mind you, there are a lot of women in that painting and apparently a fair few who weren't but might have been meant to be.  So this, I contest, is also probably Fanny and so might be the second image of her that is meant to be in The Beloved.  So what can we hypothesize from all this?

Fanny Cornforth (c.1867)
I wonder if Rossetti made the decision not to include Fanny in his salable works in 1865.  It's always been part of the official story that Rossetti dropped Fanny c.1864-5 when Lady Lilith didn't sell, he discovered Alexa, and he brought Jane Morris back into his life. However we know he produced other pictures of her in the years 1865-9 but they're informal, personal and intimate.  We also know that he made several copies of Lady Lilith but with Fanny instead of Alexa, and again these are smaller, often chalk or watercolour.  Fanny had been his partner in crime for a couple of years which had produced a lot of ideas and art that were to follow, with Fanny at the genesis.  Venus Verticordia started with a sketch of Fanny, Lady Lilith obviously and I wonder if Fanny posed for various of the figures for The Beloved.  The problem was that Fanny became bad luck.  It is undeniable that 1864-7 were rough years in terms with how Rossetti dealt with his guilt, creativity and criticism.  In my humble opinion, and this really is just my opinion, I think Rossetti was appalling at separating his art and his people.  I don't think it was a coincidence that he lusted after models and I think there is a lot of his relationship with the apparently notable exception to this, Alexa Wilding, that needs explaining.  More and more I believe Fanny hung in there with their relationship, beyond reason, and it can only be imagined how hurt she must have been when he cut her out just because other people no longer appreciated her face. 

Apparently, she was okay being Fazio's 'Mistress', but probably best not to include her in any picture with the word 'Bride' in the title or she might start getting ideas...

Friday, 16 February 2018

Support Your Local Girl Gang!

Some of you who are on Facebook will have noticed an announcement yesterday which I am very excited about. I have another book coming out!  Huzzah!

On 13th September, the lovely people at Unicorn Publishing will be flinging my book unto the world.  It is entitled...

Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: The Makers, Shakers and 
Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era

...and here is the story behind it.

Fanny Cornforth
It's no secret that I have always been determined to tell Fanny Cornforth's story in all its glory.  Part of my utter joy in doing this blog is telling you about how she really wasn't the nut-cracking, illiterate, thieving, lying prozzie she was made out to be, how, in fact, her story enriches our understanding of Rossetti and his art.  The beauty of women like Fanny is that they are part and parcel of the Pre-Raphaelite story and by giving them some respect we can all learn something new, something deeper about art.

Maria Zambaco
But Fanny is just the tip of the iceberg as all the women of the Pre-Raphaelite movement have interesting stories to be told.  Whether they are models, artists, sisters, wives, lovers, embroiderers, sculptors, mothers or a combination of roles, the women tell us so much about the time, the movement and the art, yet have not had the coverage and research of the men, especially if they are thought to have had a lesser role.  

Alexa Wilding
Well, you and I know that something needed to be done about that and so in September this year, Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang will set you on the path of discovery for all our wonderful Pre-Raphaelite women.  Each of them has a story to tell, filled with triumph, disaster, survival and creativity.  From the famous to the infamous, lady to laundress, their stories will inspire you.

Marie Spartali
Together with original art from contemporary sources, I have the utter delight and pleasure to be working with Kingsley Nebecki, a frankly awesome chap who is doing portraits of our 50 girls, bringing together so much of the essence and aura of each woman in a single image.  His work is beautiful and I'm very excited to see the results.

Elizabeth Siddal
From well-known women like Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Morris to lesser known figures such as Aglaia Coronio and Hetty Pettigrew, all of them have had an impact on Pre-Raphaelite art.  Brief lives to grandmothers, those who spent their lives in pursuit of art to those who flickered in and out of the movement in a moment, I'll tell you all their stories in my own way.  Get ready for laughs and tears and scandalized gasping as I tell you who ran off with a wife-beater, who was made a widow after only a few weeks and who was the victim of a violent stalker.  Ever fallen in love with entirely the wrong man?  Let me introduce you to Anna Blunden, who was certain Ruskin was the chap for her.  Feel underappreciated at work?  The Pettigrew sisters will tell you how to demand a decent wage and make any boss ashamed of paying you less.  These women should be your girl gang because they have all been there, done that, and you know they'll have your back.

For further information, here is Unicorn Publishing's announcement page and I'll bring you further news closer to release day...

Monday, 12 February 2018

In a Spin

I'm recovering from a weekend of fun at the Weald and Downland Museum in Sussex where I spent two days learning how to spin.  Now, this might not be quite the rock and roll lifestyle you imagined for me (let's be honest, it probably was), but as I am someone who spends a fair amount of time not being able to find exactly the knitting yarn I need, I thought I'd learn how to make it myself.  Unsurprisingly, my thoughts turned to Victorian depictions of spinning...

Still Life Interior with Spinning Wheel (early 20th century) 'Cogswell'
I do love doing things with my hands (no sniggering at the back) and so the idea of learning how to turn sheep into wool (not the whole sheep obviously) just seemed like magic and so booked the course and began to dream of sitting at my wheel singing as I span. Span?  Spun? Spinned? Well, you know what I mean...


Thank you Morris, 'span' it is.  Mind you, his depiction of drop-spindle spinning is a bit vague.  I'm guessing that's what she's doing - I can see the stretch of fleece going from hand to hand as she twists, but I can't really see a spindle.  Mind you Adam seems to be digging with an elongated heart on a stick so who knows what's going on here...

Woman Spinning Margaret Thomas
That's more like it, although she's going some in this picture.  The idea is (for those who don't drop-spindle, or indeed spin) is that the hand nearest the spindle holds the fleece as it twists as the other hand feeds out the fleece to feed the twist.  The hand nearest the spindle then moves up the unspun fleece releasing the twist into it.  You then wind that part onto the spindle and away you go again.  As I have just started, I horribly over-twist but that is normal and to do with not working quick enough and being too cautious.  It also makes your arm ache like a bugger, especially if you try and drop-spindle-spin sitting down. Anyway, enough practice, let's get on with the art...

Sleeping Beauty (1913) Leon Bakst
Let's just get something out of the way - I did not prick my finger and fall asleep for a 100 years.  This would have been damn near impossible anyway as a regular spinning wheel does not have any sharp bits at all.  Apparently 'great wheels', really massive spinning wheels, have a spike, probably used to hold the fibre to be spun (called a distaff) because you are using one hand to turn the wheel while the other feeds in the fibre for spinning, a bit like a sideways drop-spindle.

St Elizabeth of Hungary spinning for the poor Marianne Stokes
Here you can see the distaff holding up the dark fleece while Elizabeth spins and uses the treadle joined to the shaft by her knee.  Although we often think of wheels being a symbol of the industrious poor, living in little cottages and wearing headscarves, having a wheel in your house was fairly rare until Tudor times.  Until then you would drop-spindle (which can be made really easily) and so Elizabeth of Hungary is doing work for the poor with something the poor would not have had access to.

Our Saviour Subject to his Parents at Nazareth (1847) John Rogers Herbert
This therefore is a very miraculous scene, not least because the spinning wheel would not be invented for about another 500 years.  You'll remember from Blogvent that the Virgin Mary was known for her needlecraft, and so I think Herbert was trying to express this.  Actually, apart from the uninvented spinning wheel, it's not a bad effort as if Mary is going to be doing all that embroidery she'll need to get her yarn from somewhere.  It's not like she can pop over to Hobbycraft on the donkey.

The Sleeping Embroiderer Gustave Courbet
What is it with Courbet and sleeping women?  It's a bit creepy and voyeuristic but we'll just think the best that he was making the best if their rest period.  So the lady here is spinning her embroidery yarn but has dozed off with the spike of fleece on her lap.  I love that red ribbon around the silver fleece.

Fair Rosamund John William Waterhouse
It's nice to know that whilst hanging around for her lover and being done in by his jealous wife, Rosamund Clifford wasn't sat around bored.  In the corner of her room is her spinning wheel.  Well, that wool isn't going to spin itself and if you want a thread to lead your erstwhile lover to your hidden lovenest (not a euphemism) then you have to make it yourself.  The illicit-lover-threads you buy in the shops are just not the same quality.

A Romance of Bridport, Dorset (1923) Francis Henry Newberry
Whenever a monarch turns up in your town, you might as well bring out your spinning wheel to impress him.  Henry VIII was well known for his love of a woman with a wheel (according to the song often attributed to him, 'I like big wheels and I cannot lie') and so this lass is wise to turn up with her wheel, which also denotes her unmarried state.  The term 'spinster' referred to the mostly unmarried women who span wool, the idea being you would probably give that occupation up when you were married and popping out babies.

At the Crofter's Wheel (1876) William Henry Midwood
Come on now, it's obviously an open secret that men love a wheel.  Look at the confidence this woman has with hers, as if to say, 'Yes, I spin and you like it, don't you Big Boy?'  If I had only known this as a teenager it would have saved so much heartache.  Men like milkmaids and spinsters, don't try and deny it.  Damn it, I could have had a vastly different school experience...

Thomas Faed at the Easel in his Studio (1853) John Ballantyne
Mind you, I think it's a fair bet that Victorian artists loved a spinning wheel as a prop.  You could use it as short-hand for honest, lady-like labour making dainty loveliness which has a purpose.  From the flax spun for nets and rope in Bridport (hence the spinning wheel) to dainty silk spinning, it has all sorts of useful and beautiful applications in real life.  Stick some apple-cheeked voluptuous woman next to a wheel and we know what it represents.  

Waiting (1885) Clement Rollins Grant
Also, as we have covered, it's rather a neat way of showing that the woman is unmarried.  Grant's girl, above, is literally waiting to be married, but she doesn't look like she needs to spin for anything other than fun.  There does seem to be a point in time when wheels start looking slightly anachronistic and an affectation... 

Summer Morning Interior (1917) Ernest Townsend
This young lady seems to say there might be trouble on the Western Front but I have a load of merino to spin up.  However, might it be that she is unmarried and likely to stay so because all the chaps are now dead in No Man's Land?  Might this be a powerful anti-war painting disguised as something pretty and Vermeer-y?

The Spinning Wheel (1859) John Phillip
So, in conclusion, I have added another skill to my apocalypse cv, joining bee-keeping, bread-making, chicken-hypnotism and cow-milking.  As someone said this weekend, when the lights go out, I'll be ready, which is just the sort of positive thinking we all need.  Anyway, everyone can look forward to some over-twisted wool for Christmas this year...