Dalrymple did not enjoy a recent exhibition of the work of 17th-Century painter Jacob Jordaens:
Jordaens is best known for his acres of canvas covered with depictions of unattractive fat flesh and bacchanalian drinking scenes. These usually include someone vomiting quietly in the corner while an obese, grog-blossomed king wassails away in the middle of the picture. Frankly I think they are all in the most appalling taste, badly drawn and vilely over-coloured; but in a way it is reassuring that bad taste is not a phenomenon of our own times alone.
In the event, I preferred the book of comments on the exhibition to the exhibition itself. Such books are always a clear window on the banality of the public mind, or at least the mind of some of the public: to what kind of mind, for example, would it occur to write ‘Howdy Folks’ in such a book of comments? But it did occur to one or both of Stan and Phyllis. Howdy, Stan and Phyllis!