Posts Tagged ‘BS Johnson’

Blackpaint 529 – Dick, Ted, BS and the Angel

January 23, 2016

I’ve broken my laptop in fit of righteous anger – Outlook was acting up.  Writing this on a Kindle Fire and I don’t know how to upload pics from emails.  Normal blogging may resume on Tuesday when I get the laptop back I hope…


Philip K Dick, BS Johnson, Ted Hughes

What do these three have in common?  Answer: they all had visions (in Dick’s case, multiple ones).  PKD saw the sky open up and an “evil deity” like a machine with slotted eyes scan the earth, and Dick, below.

Johnson visited Kilpeck church in Herefordshire and saw the Sheela-Na-Gig,a female gargoyle which sits on the coping pulling open her vulva with both hands.  Driving back to Wales, he picked up a girl hitchhiker.  When he dropped her, she sat in the road and turned into the Sheela (don’t know about the vulva bit-Jonathan Coe doesn’t elaborate in his Johnson bio “Like a Fiery Elephant”).

Hughes. in the poem “Meeting”, describes how he saw a goat on a mountain ledge, and looking into the animal’s eyes, had a vision of a giant hand descending from the heavens, scooping him up to a giant eye and examining him.  Maybe he was being metaphorical; he was a dabbler in occult things, however, ouija boards and the like. ..

So what?  you might say – and you’d be right.  Interesting though..





Exterminating Angel





Blackpaint 438 – Hop Picking in Orwell, Sudden Death in Woolf, Lurking in Sprout

March 14, 2014

Orwell – A Clergyman’s Daughter

Re-read Burmese Days and of course, was immediately hooked again by Britain’s most readable author, journalist and writer in general; so now I’m on Clergyman’s Daughter, racing through.  Some terrible stereotypes and dodgy dialogue, it’s true; but the scenes in the hop-picking areas of Kent are memorable and visual and strike one as accurate.  The section in Trafalgar Square and the cafe in Charing Cross Road, which Orwell has done as a play is clearly inspired by the Night Town sequence in Ulysses; the character of Mr. Tallboys, the unfrocked parson, continually reciting and distorting biblical passages and prayers, for example, is very reminiscent of Joyce.  At one point, Orwell seems about to tip over into surreal fantasy like Night Town –  but draws back at the last moment, and turns it into a dream.

To the Lighthouse

Suddenly, after a hundred pages or so (maybe – I’m reading it on a Kindle, so can’t tell exactly), Woolf starts killing off the characters in a line or so each, as if bored with them; first, Mrs Ramsay, then Andrew (blown up by a shell on the Western Front), then Prue  (in childbirth)… all three within a few pages.  Reminded me oddly of BS Johnson’s Christy Malry – Johnson gives him cancer and kills him quite suddenly, ending the book in what feels like midstream.  Like real life, I suppose, which was Johnson’s point.  Now I think, sudden death has happened in all the Woolf books I’ve read so far – The Voyage Out, Jacob’s Room, Mrs Dalloway, Lighthouse – the only exception is Night and Day.

Bay Area Painters

I know I’ve written about them before, but must mention Frank Lobdell, Nathan Oliveira and Joan Brown, who took part in life drawing sessions with Diebenkorn in his figurative period.







Sprout Exhibition  

Haven’t been to any exhibitions for the last two weeks, having been stuck in the Sprout Gallery, trying to lure rare passers-by in to sell them paintings.  Sold three; here are two – can’t find photo of the other.

the young horseman

The Young Horseman



Oxlade Nude

The Family Friend, Sorrentino

This film contains the most disgusting anti-hero in cinema – he’s an old gangster, money lender, hypochondriac, wears an anti-migraine bandage on his head, a dirty old plaster cast on one arm, gobbles chocolates greedily, lives in a dark, stinking flat with his incontinent, invalid mother; he forces himself on a beautiful young bride on her wedding day…. and she (apparently) becomes fixated on him and comes back asking for more…  Like all Sorrentino films, it features old men dancing; this time, country and western dancing, with big stetsons and fringed jackets.  All it lacks is Tony Servillo.


And here’s the latest painting – Blackfriars to Nine Elms