Archive for May, 2011

Dear Reader I read it ‘My Fault’ by Billy Childish’

Posted in Authors I've read, Dear Reader I read it! Book reviews with tags , , , on May 30, 2011 by echostains

I have recently  finished reading  ‘My Fault’ by artist/poet/writer and musician Billy Childish and I am now  half way through his second book Notebooks of a Naked Youth.   My Fault is about growing up – the hard way.  Childish writes forcibly and sometimes brutally as his alter ego Steven Hamperson.   There is so much honesty and at times bitterness (who can blame him) that I can only marvel at the sheer force of his personality and his survival instinct.  Molested by a family member, misunderstood and constantly put down by his mother, father and brother and prey to local bullies, Childish lives in a world of deprivation (his father drinks all the money) and seems to be  blamed and scapegoated for all that goes wrong in his dysfunctional family.

Theres no escape from the bullies even at school where dyslexic Childish takes many a bashing from the teachers with their lack of understanding and some real low lifes.  At times this is a tough book to read.  It’s tinged with sadness but there are some lighter moments which mostly come from Childish’s observations about the strange people he encounters. 

 Childish is known for his poetry, his minimal involvement with Stuckism, his many bands and his Sunday painting and printmaking.  He is actually famous in a non famous kind of way.  He is a chameleon who cannot be really pinned down.  He is all things to all people – yet remains apart, non conformist and highly individual.  His name was even emblazoned on a tent which disappeared into a puff of smoke (Tracey Emin’s)  Childish is relentless in the non pursuit of non fame.  For example, every time one of his bands becomes a bit too popular he disbands and forms another.

One of the most vibrantly drawn characters in the book is his father, who I imagine as a kind of Pat Mustard  (the wayward milkman in ‘Father Ted) with the  controlling grip of perhaps a Phil Spector/ Don Arden (though he has nothing to do with music). The relationship Childish has with his mother (Juney) is another interesting one as is the unfriendly sibling rivalry with his brother who always knows better , has the appearence of doing  better and never hesitates to tell him so.

All in all a jolly good read.  Not exactly light reading but not too heavy either.  Though I expect the pinch of salt you will need to take with regards to the characters will be either minute  – or non existent.

Book images here and here

Woodcut by Childish and website here

Dear Reader I read it Book Review: Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

Posted in Dear Reader I read it! Book reviews with tags , , , on May 23, 2011 by echostains
Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

It was only the other week that I found a cache of Patrick Hamilton books in Borders book shop.  I had promised myself that I would read the rest of his books, having greatly enjoyed 20,000 Streets under the Sky‘.  I bought ‘Hangover Square’, ‘The Slaves of Solitude and the Gorse Trilogy.  Already I have read ‘Hangover Square’ and ‘The Slaves of Solitude‘!

the author Patrick Hamilton
the author Patrick Hamilton

‘Hangover Square’ has an atmosphere: a kind of ominous ‘abandon all hope all ye who enter here’atmosphere. Set in London in 1939 with war just around the corner, the ‘hero’ (well, kind of victim) George Harvey Bone wanders round the drinking bars of London doing absolutely nothing except drink and prostrate himself at the feet of one of the most cold, selfish madams I have read about for a long time.  The nastier and more manipulative Netta becomes, the more pathetic and dejected Bone becomes, until you feel sorry for him one minute and the next, want to give him a good shaking!

Love is the Devil, a study of  artist Francis Bacon

Love is the Devil, a study of artist Francis Bacon

It’s obvious to the reader exactly what Netta is, but Bone is the last to work her out.  His head is filled with romantic notions of taking her away from everything, marrying her and living happily ever after.  George Harvey Bone, though flawed has a few things going for him, his views of the world are simplistic, and you get the impression that he’s quite a decent sort of person underneath it all.  He’s just caught in a trap really, it’s not his fault, it’s the clicking in his head: he has no choice when this happens – he becomes psychotic…… but if only he could remember what he has to do?

You get glimpses into ‘what he has to do’ (if he could only remember…and he does).  So, as George makes excuses for Netta, the reader makes excuses for George.  I would love to see this made into  movie with modern actors.  I would cast  Daniel Craig as George.  He is a fine actor, and would bring the right amount of pathos to the character.  Forget Bond (this man can play anything) he was fabulous as George Dyer, boyfriend of David Jacobi’s Francis Bacon in ‘Love is the Devil’.  He plays an excellent drunk, has the right build and the right eyes!

Keelly Hawes as Netta perhaps?
Keelly Hawes as Netta perhaps?

I don’t know who could play Netta, who is dark haired, perhaps Keely Hawes with dark hair?  Netta is an extremely attractive, cold dismissive person but can be cringingly charming when she wants something.  In short – a user. She gets her reward, not in heaven but by the ending of the book.  It says a lot for the quality of of the writing, that by the end of this book, my sympathies lie with George, and Netta is dismissed, just as she dismissed George………  Reader Beware!  Hamilton has a way of changing you.

This post was transferred from my Art Blog Echostains

Happy Birthday Edward Lear! Plus Poetry Challenge ‘Stuff and Nonsense’ Limerick

Posted in ALL MY POETRY CHALLENGES, POETS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , on May 12, 2011 by echostains


Today is the birthday of English poet, artist and  illustrator Edward Lear(1812 – 1888).  He is is most famous for his limericks which he made popular and his literary nonsense writing.  Among other poems ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ is probably one of his more famous.  He started his working life as an artist and illustrator and in 1832 even worked for the London Zoological society, providing illustrations of birds .  He drew and painted throughout his career and even wrote travel books as well as publishing poetry.  His poems are irreverent and poke fun at life, people and even himself. 

So, in honour of this poet who provided many with much amusement, the challenge this time is in the form of a short Limerick.  If you don’t know what a Limerick is – here’s some examples by Lear;-

 There was a Young Lady whose chin,
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.

There was an Old Man of Aôsta,
  Who possessed a large Cow, but he lost her;
  But they said, ‘Don’t you see,
  she has rushed up a tree?
  You invidious Old Man of Aôsta!’

There was an Old Lady of Chertsey,
Who made a remarkable curtsey;
She twirled round and round,
Till she sunk underground,
Which distressed all the people of Chertsey.

More about Lear here Lear verses here and also here

The rules are simple;- write a short limerick about anything, the funnier and quirkier and sillier the better (as in the style of the 5 lines Lear limerick). 

Link to this post and challenge by a direct link and mention clearly which blog the challenge is from (Bookstains) and I will put it on the page, tweet it, link to it and give your blog a mention. 

You can use the button if you want  – that’s all there is to it, so don’t forget to link.

 To start off – here’s one I wrote earlier ( I have taken liberties with it 😀  – but alls fair in Limerick land.  If you look at Lear’s examples you will find the last word of the first line are identical to the last word of the Limerick – mine isn’t)

The blog with the strange quirky name

Has great hopes that it shall shoot to fame.

It’s an interesting blog

Which will keep you agog

‘It’s my favorite!’ I hear you proclaim!

©2011 Lynda M Roberts

Well, here’s the first one (two really)  they are  from Jessica from Jessicas Japes who has a most interesting and highly original blog full of very individual poetry and prose – please take a look!

There once was a girl called Jessie,
Who was forever so damn messy,
She dribbled her coffee,
Then snorted a bogey,
And licked up both from her dressy!

© Jessica D’Angelo 2011

(And here’s a more adult one – so click away now if you’d rather not read it!)

There was a girl called Cunny,
In bed she was oh so funny,
She did love to lick,
It gave her a kick,
Ms Lingus was such a hunny!

© Jessica D’Angelo 2011

(Both were inspired by Lynda’s post about Edward Lear over at Bookstains)

The next contribution is from Adam Dustus whose Onestop poetry blog is a must for poets who love poetry and poetry challenges.  To read his other contributions to the Bookstains challenges just click his link to me 🙂

There still lives a girl in Hoboken
Who normally showed no emotion
We both fell in love
Thought it fate from above
She stomped on my heart until broken

©Adam Dustus 2011

Here is a GOTHIC (you have to whisper that word in a Vincent Price voice) from  Wendy Woo who has a beautifully dark and sensuous blog which I’m sure you will LOVE!

Goth limerick

There once was a girl who was goth

At the mouth she began to froth

She suddenly wheezed

Then she quickly sneezed

And coughed up a  little moth!

©Wendy Woo 2011

Poem ‘Sense Sojourn’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 8, 2011 by echostains

I wrote this poem as an experiment some time last year.  I thought it would be a challenge to put it into video format (and it was).  The programme I used had sound clips which I have used.  Each of the observation of these senses relate to trivial and not so trivial experiences that pertain to myself.

Images from here, here,  here and also from here, here and here