Chris Howe (who commissioned this painting) and I were at school together in 1966, and walking home we’d stare into the window Teague’s, the record shop in Ryde where we lived. One of our favourite LP sleeves was Bert and John, which showed Bert and John Renbourn playing the ancient Chinese game of strategy, Go with tea and Gold Leaf cigarettes on the side. The title comes from the biography of Jansch by Colin Harper, and the picture comes from a photograph sent by Chris which was taken at the time of L.A. Turnaround, an album he recorded in England and in Los Angeles. I put in a few clues for the track titles, adding to the clutter of a comfortable Sussex country house room turned into a studio. Mike Nesmith, the erstwhile Monkee, is at the mixing desk, and it was a lovely record. Listen to Fresh As A Sweet Sunday Morning and gives a taste of a particular perfection. Thanks Chris.
A tribute to my first hero of American art. Larry Rivers used to put type on his pictures in stencil form. They looked like such fun. My text mentions my art teacher in Sandown who kept a pile of Studio magazines where I found so much treasure. What a cool art room that was. Good old Noddy.
A gate in somewhere near La Croix Valmer in Provence.
It was near where we were staying and opened onto a garden which was was a dense mass of palms and shrubs. I’ve made it look a bit more mysterious than it was, but not too much.
A hazy, if somewhat dishonest collection of memories of the overgrown world at Halberry Lane near Newport in the steamy 50s. Nigel and I always liked to catch the goods train from Newport as it crossed the footpath. Just before the tracks you were enveloped in a thick canopy of beech but the pond is a fabrication, but we could float our Tri-ang boats on the Medina; so this is it; steam, smoke and water fixed in the mind as the essential elements of a giddy nostalgia.
I’ve known these lovely people for years, and I’ve worked on and off with Jonathan since we shared an office in Long Acre back in the 80s. I came across the title whilst trawling through a ton of Penguin classics and it went down very well. It does slightly reflect the ‘Is all this really necessary?’ expression on Barbie’s face.
Geoff Appleton played me Skies Of America in 1973.
We’d just left college and he was always ahead of the game musically. It was an afternoon at his and Jeanette’s cottage near Hitchen. We also played Charles Mingus’ Let My People Hear Music and quite possibly Bitches Brew and side one of Escalator Over The Hill. I put Ornette in this little oil from 1990 in front of a Barnett Newman painting called Vir Heroicus Sublimis.