No getting around it; I’m a lowbrow girl. I read the New Yorker, but only the Humour section (and I rarely get the cartoons). I eat charcuterie, but only for the bacon-y flavour and those baby pickles (mm, tangy!). When someone mentions Raphael, Michelangelo or Leonardo, I’m more inclined to think teenage mutant ninja turtle than Renaissance artist. And my favourite Sydney bookstore is Kinokuniya…because they put all fiction in the ‘Literature’ section. This is intellectual vanity sizing at its best; I can troll for books about vapid college students working as au pairs in Paris or Manolo-ed divorcees having torrid gin-fuelled affairs alongside the Murakami and García Márquez.
The best (back-handed) compliment I’ve ever heard is, ‘Your V8 engine of a mind runs on very low grade fuel’.
Oxford is the perfect setting to try to raise my brow. It’s a place where everyone has The Little Prince (sorry, their Saint-Exupéry) in the original French; where University Challenge participants are fetishised more than footballers; and where fine art exhibitions abound. I felt particularly cultured yesterday. I went along to a book-binding exhibition at the Magdalen Old Library (which, fun fact, also boasts the oldest botanical drawing of a potato in Europe) and then to a Oxford University Orchestra performance of Ravel, Rachmaninoff & Revueltas which was incredible.
True to form though, my night ended at a college bop, drinking something called ‘The Sting’ and dancing with people in papier-mâché unicorn costumes.