Time at last to relate the tale of our trip to Cardiff. I hope you like castles of the earth and castles of the air, for there are many of these herein.
I note with bemusement the fact that I seem fatally drawn to individuals who have converted to Roman Catholicism. I wonder why that is? I think it highly unlikely that I shall ever go that way (mainstream religion does not suit my constitution), but anyway - there it is. A Thing about Me.
I mention this only because of the Third Marquess of Bute. He was just such a convert. He impressed me well enough on my first visit to Cardiff, but somehow I appreciated him more fully on this second sojourn. It is always entertaining to poke through the leavings of these characters who have sufficient wealth, influence and imagination to enable fantastic things to be brought about - wondrous castles with preposterously exuberant interiors - but the 3rd M. of B. does seem to have had something more about him than mere whimsy. According to Vicipaedia
, ’The Marquess’s vast range of interests… included religion, medievalism, the occult, architecture, travelling, linguistics, and philanthropy… A prolific writer, bibliophile and traveller, as well as, somewhat reluctantly, a businessman, his energies were on a monumentally Victorian scale.’
I wonder, do such people exist nowadays? What are we (our generation) building? What, moreover, are we imagining? Not A Very Great Deal is the only conclusion I can casually arrive at. We don’t quite know what to do with our rich folks these days (or they don’t quite know what to do with us). Gone are the days of paternalistic patronage, and so much the better, but that just leaves us with the dead weight of such frivolous nonentities as populate the shiny society pages, creatures content to be customers - clients! - rather than patrons, sponsors, mentors. Once upon a time, profound depths of excess were mined for rare and aweful jewels. These days, all we can muster is the occasional flamboyant celebrity, scratching out some further extent of shallows - channels for orts to float sewerwards. Distance long is not the same as distance deep. Doing opulence (decoration) well is, I fear, a lost art: or rather, having been cleansed of anything approaching the merest pose of spiritual intent, it becomes something merely selfish, gaudy and inutile. ‘Good taste’ instructs that the only appropriate expression of a rich man’s fancy is in minimalism. Discreet, faceless, apologetic, antiseptic… I like this not. Minimalism was worthwhile as a species of flamboyance: when orthodoxy takes on tints of the bombastic, rendering the outrageous humdrum, your ideal next move (stylistically speaking) is subtle, subtle, subtle, white, white, white, flat, flat, flat. Do that, cutting across hackneyed-gothic, and you have something. But it’s trite now. It’s beginning to look preposterous. It’s as if nobody has the guts to CHOOSE STUFF any more - to CHOOSE STUFF BECAUSE THEY LIKE IT.
Anyway… all I am saying is, ‘Give Fabudorability A Chance’.
With that in mind, let me take you to a strange kingdom.( A Strange Kingdom )