Archive for Billy Childish

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

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Dear Reader – I read them

Posted in Dear Reader I read it! Book reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 23, 2011 by echostains
 
what I’m reading at the moment

I really must catch up with reviews of all the books and films I have seen!  The list is long, and although I do find myself taking notes (on the films) there never seems to be enough time to write it all down.  So, in a nutshell here’s a pile of books which I have read this year alone and which I SHALL review!

The English Ghost by Peter Ackroyd

The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossman

Murderous Manchester by John J Eddieston

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte

The Hireling by L.P. Hartley

Grayson PerryPortrait of the artist as a young girl by Wendy Jones

The Shrouded Wall by Susan Howatch

Lancashire – Where Women die of Love by Charles Nevin

My Fault by Billy Childish (reading at the moment)

Some of these books aren’t finished though and I can’t review them until they are.  Somewhere, I have acquired the habit of starting one book then after a few chapters, acquiring another book which I also start.  Depending on which book is the most interesting – well, that’s the book will get finished at the time. 

 

 When I am in between any new books being bought, then these unfinished books will come out.  The difficulty in the continuation of reading them lies in my memory of what they were about in the first place!  What I mean is that although I can remember what the book is about, to actually get engaged or immersed in the book means retracing my steps and starting yet again, at the beginning!  There are several books this has happened to (Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is one of them)  The list above shows  just a few of the books I have read lately and some of these are re reads.

Images from here and here and here