The moon puts on an elegant show, different every time in shape, colour and nuance.
Sky and clouds and trees and little figures relaxing in the perfect rural rhythm of their surroundings: these are the staples of a Gainsborough landscape.
The pun exists in a social and political void, caring nothing for the issues of its day, content merely to display itself in its small cleverness.
I've been trekking the hills and lanes of the British countryside for nearly four decades now and I've come to associate my passion with overexcited poets rather than pampered painters.
It's the time of year when the literati give advice on what we should be reading on our summer holidays. These terrifying lists often leave me appalled at my own ignorance, but also suspicious about the pretension of their advocates.
An uninspiring canvas becomes a glamorous masterpiece when it is reattributed to a better-known artist.
Comedy ages quicker than tragedy, to the extent that we can't know if the 10 commandments may originally have been 10 hilarious one-liners.
I'm an armchair kind of guy, especially when it's raining, which it always is and always will be.
Travel books are, by and large, boring. They lodge uncomfortably between fact, fiction and autobiography.
I've noticed that my resolutions involve me not doing stuff that I wasn't going to do anyway so here's something more positive. I'm going to retrain as a Latin teacher in a provincial public school.
Only the pun remains. The pun, beloved of Shakespeare, children and tabloid headline-writers, is normally eschewed in the modern, sophisticated circles in which I move.
It's worth turning up to an awards gig if you know you've won one but, since you never do know, it's not worth it.
Ninety-eight per cent of laughter is nothing to do with jokes, which do not deserve to bear the weight of all the funny stuff in the world.
Reading the play at home, however fulfilling, can never be the vivacious experience that Shakespeare intended.
A female friend who caught me watching Fashion TV reckons its audience is largely made up of slobbering men who are just taking a break from the appalling Men & Motors channel. I don't agree.
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