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 | Sherri Wasserman on THE WARRIORS | Jessamyn West on FAREYNIKTE PARTIZANER ORGANIZATSYE | Josh Glenn on DADA | Matthew De Abaitua on THE TIME | Mandy Keifetz on THE FOUNDING FATHERS | William Nericcio on ZOOT SUIT PACHUCOS | Deb Chachra on FIREFLY CREW | Matthew Battles on THE ANIMAL FAMILY | Ingrid Schorr on THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS | Joe Alterio on THE USUAL GANG OF IDIOTS | Dan Reines on THE BREAKFAST CLUB | Rob Walker on LES TROIS INSÉPARABLES | Devin McKinney on 1975 RED SOX | Steph Burt on DAMAGE CONTROL | Elina Shatkin on THE HOLOGRAMS | Chris Spurgeon on THE ALKALI METALS | Carl Wilson on NEW YORK SCHOOL POETS | Barbara Bogaev on THE MOD SQUAD | Franklin Bruno on THE AACM | Judith Zissman on THE FUTURIANS | Mimi Zeiger on ARCHIGRAM | Jacob Mikanowski on THE RATBASTARDS | Lynn Peril on THE DALY SISTERS | Anindita Basu Sempere on MEG MURRY’S FAMILY | Libi Rose on THE ENIAC TEAM | Gary Panter on THE TRIBE OF HIPPIES | Peter Doyle on CORNEL WILDE BOYS | Ken Layne on THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG | Molly Wright Steenson on BAUHAUS | Katie Hennessey on BEAT POETS | Mimi Lipson on THE RUNAWAYS | Jordan Ellenberg on BOURBAKI | Michael Campochiaro on THE SUICIDE SQUAD | Deborah Wassertzug on THE BLOODHOUND GANG | Colin Dickey on ACÉPHALE | Douglas Wolk on SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY | David Smay on THE MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO | Karinne Keithley Syers on BLACKLIPS PERFORMANCE CULT.
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