Dante in a porn shop.

Dante in a porn shop.

I went backpacking at the end of the year before last and am still showered, every day, with memories than run deeper than veins.

One that just shook me, which had not popped up for a long time, was of when I accidentally walked into a porn shop in east London and somehow ended up chatting to the store owner, trying to excuse myself from having a cup of tea with her as politely as possible.

Quickly followed by that was the memory of this painting (William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Dante and Virgil in Hell), which I had never seen until I was standing before it in the Musee D’Orsay. I couldn’t take my eyes from it for what felt like hours.

A porn shop and a painting.

The awkward and the sublime.