Champagne for John Tavener
That is John Tavener in the centre of a magazine cover from the 1960s . Towering over him* is Arianna Stassinopoulos, who around that time was an item with Bernard Levin. Later she was married to Michael Huffington and went on to found the Huffington Post; after which, happily, there is life. John Tavener left us for the Eastern Orthodox heaven on 12th November, 2013. I had been celebrating our daughter's birthday that evening by imbibing rather too much good champagne, and only learnt of the composer's death after the party. I have no pretension to being a music journalist, and therefore do not feel obliged to write obituaries for every musician that passes on. But I do write tributes to those enlightened souls who have made my life a little brighter, and John Tavener certainly falls into that category. So, fuelled by Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Yellow Label, I dashed off the personal tribute to him that was singled out for a special mention by Alex Ross and others. If there is any moral in this little story, it is that the dire condition of current music journalism could be improved, perhaps, by the liberal application of decent champagne.
* The party people in the photo are from left to right; playwright Michael Hastings, author Angela Huth, food writer Josceline Dimbleby, JT, AS,and writer Gaia Servadio. My thanks go to reader Jon Silpayamanant for pointing out how to reference link-whoring sites without improving their search engine rating. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.