the column of lasting insignificance: Jan. 21, 2012
by John Wilcock
ART IN AMERICA reported that the Andy Warhol Foundation will soon dissolve its Art Authentication Board which its president Joel Wachs said was costing up to half a million dollars a year to operate in addition to the millions of dollars in legal fees defending its decisions. One fifth of the works passing through the process so far have been deemed fakes. “Work by Warhol is notoriously difficult to authenticate” says the magazine, “given his many collaborations and open-ended definition of ‘art’”. The so-called Red Self-Portrait seen here has twice been rejected by the Warhol Authentication Board , and is the center of a lawsuit brought by its owner, Joe Simon-Whelan.
CURRENT EATING FADS seems determined to elevate the role of what was formerly comfort food into gourmet fare. Jonathan Kaplan’s forthcoming chain of melted cheese restaurants are just the proletarian underpinning for New York’s latest adoption of grilled cheese (with mushrooms and black truffles) sandwiches offered by the Park Avenue bistro Artisanal (a mere $19.50) or the $16 version at the Greenwich Village corner bistro Lyon. “It takes a cook to make one” declares owner Francois Latapie who tosses in ham and béchamel sauce. Then there’s the no-longer humble meatball which, according to Wallpaper, has begotten a Meatball Shop in Manhattan and a global trend which includes Afghanistan (minced lamb with spices), China (fatty pork with leafy vegetables), and Japan (minced chicken meat). “Ikea” says the mag, “is facing some serious competition”.
BBC HISTORY, a London-based magazine, replying to a reader’s frustration about the way the Tudors (1485-1603) “get more than their share of attention” replied that cover stories about “that particular bunch” always sold the most copies. Of course, any era that includes Henry VIII (1509-47) is likely to maintain interest, and what followed the muchly-married (six wives) king, was Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. Speaking of which, BBC History (a mag undeservedly little known this side of the water) includes another letter from a reader who points out how smart Elizabeth was to stay unmarried, considering that not only was birth a risky event for “even the most privileged”, but that spawning an heir to survive “at the mercy of factional interests” was an unacceptable risk in those uncertain times.
HISTORIANS TEND TO rave over some tiny things and in this case it’s some flecks of the original white paint in a cranny of the White Tower, which got its name from the whitewash applied to it in the time of Henry III (1216-72). Part of the monumental Tower of London, the building has seen thousands of gallons of paint lavished on it in the eight centuries since, but tiny fragments of the original paint job have survived, been analyzed and found to be genuine.
THE WILCOCK WEB: Now it seems that we’re trying not to offend Pakistan for fear it decides not to continue accepting our $$billions…. Hillary Clinton for vp ….In his new book, Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America, Daniel J. Flynn contends that popular culture has separated itself from the life of the mind. “Stupid is the new smart”, he avers….”Polls show that Americans feel more comfortable about a black person leading the country than about one marrying a white person” writes Gary Younge in the Nation …. By the time Mitt becomes the GOP nominee, there’ll be no shortage of testimonials from his rivals about what a lousy president he’d be…. The U.S. should just get out of the way and let those mutual enemies Saudi Arabia and Iran knock each other out…. Columnist Monte Lazarus in Florida’s Coastal Breeze offers a welcomingly negative appraisal of the way that Guy Ritchie has turned loveable old Sherlock Holmes into “a macho gunslinger. He’s now more of a comic book version with massive explosions”……. Brooklyn has become “a cult entity” claims the New York Post. In a sort of reverse snobbery, “it is the antithesis of Manhattan’s glittering skyline”….The number of people who “forget” they have a loaded gun in their briefcase as they try to board a plane, would be greatly reduced if violators were banned from the flight and fined on the spot…..Walmart took its first shot at New York City with a new store in the Garment District but didn’t like the results and is moving out next month….. Two hats were hanging on a rack in the hallway. One said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a-head…..'Euro-wear, a Japanese company (natch), is selling a cat-eared headband that’s powered by brain waves, the ears rising when you’re excited or concentrating…. Peering through the folds in their niqabs, Muslim teenagers in Egypt have been joyfully screaming for Moez Masoud, a charismatic, young televangelist who attracts Beatles-like hysteria…. “An intellectual”, Aldous Huxley insisted, “is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex”…..Calling it “a rebirth, of sorts” for the obsolete blimp, Fast Company reports that military contractor Northrop Grumman has sold (for $3.3bn) 45 of its- new Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV’s) to Canada’s Discovery Air for oil and mining transport…...Avoid dangerous cults; practice safe sects…. “I thought I was a good tipper” muses Allison Janney, “until I heard that George Clooney tips twice the bill”…. …Pissing on a jellyfish sting to alleviate the pain is “an old wives tale that does not appear to bear any merit” explains the Naples Daily News… …. Profiting from the country’s spreading wealth, the world’s biggest jeweler, China’s Chow Tai Fook (1,500 stores, $4.5bn annual profits) is about to float $4bn-worth of shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange …. …. Religions (but not their worshippers) have millions, and should be taxed writes Rellis Smith in the VCReporter, and their tax-exemptions should be removed when they dabble in politics by spending huge amounts to influence the legislature…. “It is one of the tragedies of our age that so few people dare to be eccentric—John Stuart Mill (1806-73)
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- Complete column archives: 2006 - present
— Dear Readers...
— John Wilcock ... Marijuana, the symbolic center of the underground society
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: Cuba Diary—Havana, April 2011
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Nineteen (continued)--Travels
— John Wilcock ... From the Archives: When you vote, donâ€™t forget the Republican Paradox
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen--The Quest for Magic: Around Europe by VW bus;
Regarding armchair travelers;
Pisa's Leaning Tower;
The magical Alhambra
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen (continued)--London's Magical library;
In the Cannes
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seventeen--The Sorcerer's Apprentice
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary (continued)
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen (Part Two--Manhattan phone book, JW'S Secret Diary
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourteen--Party Circuit
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part two, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part one, Soho Saturday
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine (continued)--Rip Torn on stardom… Robert Mitchum's gift; London: Julian Beck’s critique; Emmett Grogan and the Diggers; Greece: The Junta, Charlotte Rampling, and art hero Daniel Spoerri
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine--Bob Dylan in the Village, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Richard Neville and OZ, What Does London Need Most?, The International Times
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon;
The Shinjuku Sutra
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight--Art Kunkin's LA Free Press; In LA with Hunter Thompson, Lenny Bruce; Visit by Warhol; Hakim Jamal plays god; The San Francisco 'Be-In'; Underground papers meet
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixâ€”The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”Into the '60s--London's underground press; Jean-Jacques Lebel burns US flag; Everybody's friend: Jim Haynes; Lenny Bruce and the kitchen tapes
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--The Village Voice (continued) --Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column, ECHOÂ and Larry Adler, Woody Allen plays classic nerd, A sample Village Square column
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
— Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
- column archives: 2006 - present
It was the first handwritten letter I’d received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I’d never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.
By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.
by John Wilcock
"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."
-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner
The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol