Over the last few months, I’ve been indulging a passion by using Amazon’s DVD rental service to see all Akira Kurosawa’s samurai films. Last night it was Yojimbo, with, as usual, Toshiro Mifune in the lead role. His physical sense of presence dominates every scene, as much as Clint Eastwood whose Fistful of Dollars was based on Yojimbo. I love these films – the slow camera work, the costumes, the barking voices. Yojimbo is the nearest I’ve seen in the seriesto a Western. I’ve watched Ran, Kagemusha, Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood – I’ve only a couple more to  look forward to.

Madame was talking to her father, who had just come back from holiday with some other family members, one of whom was being gently criticised for being ‘self-absorbed’.  I get the same criticism, and as this person they are talking about is a painter, I relate it to being an artist – of any kind or level. You live in your imagination so you don’t always appear ‘connected’.  I understand that. Having had two conversations with musicians this week, however, I recognise the almost inevitable corollary – the tendency to dwell in conversation on oneself to the exclusion of all else, including the co-conversationalist – and appreciate how irritating it can be. I must finish (I mean start) that book But Enough About You- Conversations With Musicians.