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Old 08-28-2007, 08:32 AM   #2
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I tend to take a “less is more” approach to many things, but am not sure I can agree that that everything is growing more complex. “Marriage of Figaro” predates The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by a few centuries, but “Marriage” has, arguably, as complex a plot. When it comes to Le Carre, the complexity was part of the package. I would have been disappointed if I understood what was going on only halfway through the book, but was usually satisfied at the end.

Music has its trends, popular music especially. Beethoven’s late quartets are pretty complicated, if you ask me. “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was tricky, no doubt — but that was experimental. I did not notice many imitators of that particular pattern.

And fashion is definitely cyclical. I had a dress I loved in 1968. The fabric had chartreuse and purple arranged in a sort of Japanese pattern meant to look like waves. It was gaudy, and had a tricky shape, and boy, did I love it. My wardrobe since then has gone through many changes, most of them toward simplicity.

But in a recent fashion magazine I saw some young designers’ ’60s looks and they were complicated. But next year we may be told that grey is the new black and everything will be funereally plain. That is just fashion.

For complexity, look at some Renaissance metalwork or old engravings.

It will be all right, George.

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