February 15, 2017
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars during 2017, on the subject of our favorite squads.
I was 19 when I read Leonard Woolf’s Growing: An Autobiography of the Years 1904–1911, and found a model for my ideal clique in the so-called Bloomsbury Group — pre-war British artists, writers and intellectuals who, as Dorothy Parker once said, “lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles.”
Each of the group’s core members had a personality quirk; one is tempted to describe them as the seven dwarves of fairy tale: There’s Dopey (Clive Bell), Squeaky (Lytton Strachey), Randy (Vanessa Bell), Saintly (Leonard Woolf), Touchy (Virginia Woolf), Moony (Leonora Carrington), and Hunky (Duncan Grant). True, they were elitists who could be snobbish to outsiders, and they were at times insensitive to one another, but unlike other literary cliques — the Algonquin Roundtable, say — the Bloomsberries were willing to sacrifice their reputations and freedom for a higher purpose, particularly pacificism in the face of WWI jingoism.
The Bloomsbury Group’s obsession with food — they loved uncomplicated dishes from the South of France — wasn’t a shallow one. Eating together is a critical aspect of true community. I am constantly searching for my own circle of friends who bring out the best in one another; and each time I move house, I look for a space suited to gatherings of friends and family. My fantasy is based on the Bloomsbury model: having a weekly Sunday lunch attended by kind, creative people who are more interested in discussing ideas than gossip. To paraphrase Virginia Woolf, in the end, it turns out that civilization is a lunch party.
#SQUADGOALS: Annie Nocenti on THE WILD BUNCH | Alice Boone on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS | Gordon Dahlquist on BOWIE’S BAND | Rob Wringham on THE HOME GUARD | Jennifer Krasinski on WATERSHIP DOWN RABBITS | Annalee Newitz on ROBIN HOOD’S MERRY PALS | Adrienne Crew on THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | Mark Kingwell on THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | Adam McGovern on KAMANDI’S FAMILY | John Overholt on THE CLUB | Greg Rowland on THE VULTURE SQUADRON | Sara Ryan on BETSY, TACY & TIB | Chelsey Johnson on VI ÄR BÄST! | Brian Berger on THE JOHN FORD STOCK COMPANY | Jacob Mikanowski on THE RATBASTARDS | Jessamyn West on FAREYNIKTE PARTIZANER ORGANIZATSYE | Josh Glenn on DADA | Matthew De Abaitua on THE TIME | Mimi Lipson on TBD | Franklin Bruno on THE AACM | Deb Chachra on THE SCOOBY GANG | Matthew Battles on THE ANIMAL FAMILY | Anthony Miller on TBD | Joe Alterio on THE USUAL GANG OF IDOTS | Sherri Wasserman on THE WARRIORS | Rob Walker on LES TROIS INSÉPARABLES | Katie Hennessey on BEAT POETS | Molly Sauter on THE MISS PHITS | Ingrid Schorr on THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS | Luc Sante on THE BOUZINGOS | Carl Wilson on NEW YORK SCHOOL POETS | Mandy Keifetz on THE FOUNDING FATHERS | William Nericcio on ZOOT SUIT PACHUCOS | Cintra Wilson on TBD | Karinne Keithley Syers on BLACK LIPS PERFORMANCE CULT | Dan Reines on THE BREAKFAST CLUB | Lynn Peril on THE DALY SISTERS | Devin McKinney on 1975 RED SOX | Steph Burt on DAMAGE CONTROL | Gary Panter on TBD | Barbara Bogaev on THE MOD SQUAD | Chris Spurgeon on THE ALKALI METALS | Molly Wright Steenson on TBD | Elina Shatkin on THE HOLOGRAMS | Anshuman Idamsetty on TBD | Jenny Offill on TBD | Kio Stark on TBD | Douglas Rushkoff on TBD | Colin Dickey on ACÉPHALE | Anindita Basu Sempere on TBD | David Smay on THE MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO | TBD on TBD.
#SQUADGOALS (2017 weekly): THE WILD BUNCH | BOWIE’S BAND | THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | VI ÄR BÄST & dozens of other squads | GROK MY ENTHUSIASM (2016 weekly): THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF LUNCH | WEEKEND | MILLION YEAR PICNIC | LA BARONNE EMILE D’ERLANGER | THE SURVIVAL SAMPLER | & dozens more one-off enthusiasms. QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2016): “Tainted Love” | “Metal” | “Frankie Teardrop” | “Savoir Faire” | “Broken English” | & 20 other new wave songs. CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2015): DARKER THAN YOU THINK | THE SWORD IN THE STONE | OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET | THIEVES’ HOUSE | QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST | & 20 other fantasy novels from 1934–43. KERN YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2014): ALDINE ITALIC | DATA 70 | TORONTO SUBWAY | JOHNSTON’S “HAMLET” | TODD KLONE | & 20 other typefaces. HERC YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2013): “Spoonin’ Rap” | “Rapper’s Delight” | “Rappin’ Blow” | “The Incredible Fulk” | “The Adventures of Super Rhyme” | & 20 other old-school hip-hop songs. KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2012): Justice or vengeance? | Kirk teaches his drill thrall to kiss | “KHAAAAAN!” | “No kill I” | Kirk browbeats NOMAD | & 20 other Captain Kirk scenes. KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2011): THE ETERNALS | BLACK MAGIC | DEMON | OMAC | CAPTAIN AMERICA | & 20 other Jack Kirby panels.