The novelist Will Self once declared that “[t]he colon is an umlaut waiting to jump”, and in the most tenuous of links, I’ve decided to use this as an excuse to feature a recent New Yorker blog article on the ‘diaeresis’, the umlaut-like pair of dots used to separate a double vowel into two syllables. The typical word processor will insert a diaeresis into “naïve” but leave “coördinate” sadly bereft, and the average English language computer keyboard is not over-stuffed with keys to reinstate it. The New Yorker, though, is rightly famed for its use of this mark where most other publications (and dictionaries) have long since abandoned it, and I for one hope that one day it can regain its preëminence.
Hockney, who at 74 is creating enormous landscape paintings based on the fields and woods of his native Yorkshire, agreed that he had Hirst in his sights, adding a criticism of art schools.
"It’s a little insulting to craftsmen," he said. "I used to point out, at art school you can teach the craft; it’s the poetry you can’t teach. But now they try to teach the poetry and not the craft." He quoted a Chinese proverb that to be a painter "you need the eye, the hand and the heart. Two won’t do."