Zelda fitzgerald

A tragicomic lecture about Gold at Edinburgh Festival

A chilly August in Edinburgh. Colder than it’s been for 20 years and the city looks scruffier than ever. Locked Portakabins squat in elegant stone courtyards. Unused site machinery lies abandoned outside neoclassical museums. Pavements and bridges are scarred by ugly steel roadblocks, and lurid street signs mar the visual harmony of virtually every thoroughfare. The place seems to be governed by a crew of philistine control freaks whose bossy urges affect the festival staff. You can’t move anywhere without a lecture. ‘Go this way, not that way, mind your head, ascend the steps on the left to avoid those coming down on the right, and take off your jacket

The odd couple: John Keats and F. Scott Fitzgerald

On a shard of paper, some time in the bleak mid-1930s, F. Scott Fitzgerald incorporated a favourite line from one of his favourite poets, John Keats, in a short verse of his own: Don’t you worry I surrenderDays are long and life’s a benderStill I know thatTender is the Night Keats was a Romantic, perhaps the Romantic, with his lyric gift and tragically brief life. Fitzgerald loved the Romantic poets, and romance in the lower case, but was at the heart’s core a modernist, far more egoist than romantic, and quite hard-boiled. The little quatrain above is rather like T.S. Eliot’s ‘jug jug’ in The Waste Land — homage of