I was expecting Naples to greet me with bright skies and azure waters, but have found in their place only grey clouds, including one, small and immobile, hanging threateningly over Vesuvius. I used my leisure time to go sightseeing, more often than not in Picasso’s company. We were particularly struck by the aquarium, and spent many long hours there.
We made something of a hobby out of collecting Neapolitan watercolours, and during our frequent wanderings around the city made numerous sallies against the city’s flea markets and antique stores.
We have been on a few excursions to Pompeii and Herculaneum. Picasso was very struck by the magnificence of the ruins, and each time we turned around we would find him on the top of some ancient column trying to get the best view of the various fragments of Roman sculpture which attracted his eye. Diaghilev was less excited. It was not the first time he had seen these wonders, and the hot sun exhausted him. See more
Cocteau was delighted with it all. He bought a camera and photographed us, leaning on statues and clambering on marble slabs to get the best angle.
It’s the third day since Nemirovich-Danchenko invited me and Dobuzhinsky to a lunch at DononPopular among Moscow's bohemians restaurant on the Moika Embankment, 24.’s. At this lunch he had been unexpectedly called away, so that Dobuzhinsky and I were left at Donon’s to lunch alone. By a lucky coincidence, Benois and Grabar, who had been nearby at the Winter Palace, came in at just that moment, and we all had a very nice lunch together. See more
Behind us sat the Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich, alone, a spent man who had long dreamed of participating in the revolution and who had been drawn into the conspiracy to murder Rasputin. Everyone I meet and speak with these days seems to be uniquely affected by the events of the last few months; only I, having been temporarily excluded from life by the war, view them dispassionately. Perhaps I haven’t had the time yet to stop and really think them over.... Today is a bright spring day. I have been given a basket of delicate red roses from Lyubov AleksandrovnaLyubov Delmas - favorite opera singer (mezzo-soprano) of Blok., and just now I have been brought an even bigger basket of lilies of the valley, from whom I do not know.
The new danger is that the socialists are agitating for a separate peace. Such a peace would be a disgrace and a betrayal of our allies. Their agitation is demoralizing the soldiers. All discipline has disappeared; the army has irreversibly degenerated into a medieval horde.
Ilich had barely woken when his comrades came to take him to a meeting of the Bolshevik members of the All-Russian Conference of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. The conference was being held in the Tauride Palace, somewhere in the upper floors. Lenin has summarized his views on what needs to be done in ten theses. In these theses he has assessed the current situation and given a clear and precise summary of the aims we should be reaching for and the paths we should take to achieve them. The other party members fell rapidly into confusion. See more
To many it seemed that Ilich’s conclusions were too extreme, and that it was premature to speak of a socialist revolution.
We, the members of the bureau of fractions of the Soviet, left the session with a feeling of moral victory.
I met with the futurist Mayakovsky, who initially gave me a bit of fright with his rude impulsiveness, but who then made a very direct announcement of his intention to come and have a serious chat with me, as I write wonderful music but to terrible texts, of outmoded bourgeois types and e.t.c. He promised to introduce me to “real contemporary poetry”. See more
Warming to his theme, he said that I was the first among contemporary composers, and the only one that mattered, and given that Russian music is leading the world, we should unite, he representing literature, I music and Burlyuk art, and that then “we would conquer the whole world”.
I ride about the country much as usual. No one interferes with me, and though I do not wear a red armlet, I am recognised, I suppose, as an eccentric Englishman, unworried by revolutions.