W.B.'s Reviews > Francis Bacon: Anatomy Of An Enigma

Francis Bacon by Michael Peppiatt
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's review
Jan 01, 2008

it was amazing

One of my all-time favorite biographies.

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Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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message 1: by Xio (last edited Jan 11, 2008 05:32PM) (new)

Xio I am so agitatedly in synch with this mofo I cannot sit still to contemplate I might get to know him better damn this site~!!!

W.B. you wanna fuck francis bacon?

message 3: by Xio (new)

Xio my blushing is getting common but , gulp, yes. I do.
(kneeling, with bared shoulders)
I am prepared.

W.B. sorry beautiful. i couldn't resist. it was hella evil.

message 5: by Xio (new)

Xio s'cool darling

message 6: by David (new)

David When I was working as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the early 70's I used to see Bacon a lot. Once there was a show of his paintings and he'd come in very early in the morning before the doors were open to the public and stare at his paintings for hours -- as if they were someone else's work. The other guards were terrified of him but I alwys found him quite nice and very polite.

W.B. interesting david. yeah i like the absence of hubris in his assessment of his own works (as well as that of others). he always said---even when approbation for his work was at its highest--that it wouldn't be known for at least fifty years past his death if it was going to be of even lasting MINOR significance. to know more would of course take much longer he knew. he was very much a philosophical skeptic in all things and very much a realist if not a naturalist. i see his influence everywhere but not so much painting as in cinema or anime or graphic novels, etc. people see his "language" and often try it on, quote it. even pop culture stuff like that adaptation of the bret eastone llis novel. when sean opens his mouth and screams in one scene it's a pure bacon quote. people rip him off all the time. i'm sure he'd love it and be amused. he wouldn't judge a thief too harshly as i'm sure you know. he liked survival close to the bone. he related.

message 8: by David (new)

David There's a very good "Southnajk Show" with Bacon that's out on DVD, and John Maybury's Love is the Devil is a superb biopic with Derek Jacobi truly great as Bacon (he even captures the way Bacon would suddenly swerve his body around) and Daniel Craig as Bacon's tragic Kray brothers boytoy George Dyer. Plus a score by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

W.B. Yes, I saw that movie and hated it. Don't bastinado me, please! I reviewed it on my blog, I'm fairly certain. Link in my profile and search if interested. The other projects you mention sound intriguing.

message 10: by W.B. (new) - rated it 5 stars

W.B. I adore Ryuichi. I can often be caught singing "Rose" around the house.

message 11: by Tosh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tosh i find Bacon fascinating. John Deakin took these fantastic images of the Bacon world. Also there are two books just focusing on Bacon's art studio. Now that's what I call a studio!

"Love is the Devil" is not a bad film in my taste, it's interesting that they couldn't use any of his paintings in the film. I am looking forward to reading this biography, and it's been sitting directly across my table for a year now....

message 12: by W.B. (new) - rated it 5 stars

W.B. Tosh, I think you will really enjoy it. The psychological analysis is very trenchant, but generous at the same time, and the author explores the formal development with the astuteness of an art critic. Bacon was "posthumously lucky" to have this be the man to write his bio. But of course there are many more out there lol. Bacon would have fit right in with the ancient Romans (like Petronius), I think. He sooo had that sensibility.

message 13: by David (new)

David The best book is The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon by Daniel Farson (Pantheon, 1993)

message 14: by Tosh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tosh ..."The Gilded Gutter Life..." that is such a great title. There is also a book length interview with Bacon that's really good as well. I think I have it somewhere here in the pile of books.

I am fascinated with Soho London life of the 50s. THere were the Gay clubs of course, as well as gangsters but also the early rock n' roll coffee houses as well. "Expresso Bongo" sort of captures that essence of fifties London life. Also there is an interesting writer by the name of Julian Maclaren-Ross, a true citizen of Soho, London via the 50's.

message 15: by W.B. (new) - rated it 5 stars

W.B. Tosh, did I see you in the English Beat video in the early 80s for "Sooner or Later?" Weren't you the one holding the Juliette Greco record? lol...did you ever see it....you just made me flashback..i'm sure it's in YouTubes' Akashic Records...like everything else...

message 16: by Nathalie (last edited Jan 12, 2008 12:04PM) (new)

Nathalie Tosh: you can dribble over these photos and weep with me that this 1950s cafe was allowed to die: check out the waiters in whites, and the lovely owner was a debonair jazz man, who always wore a cravat.

Gone now, all gone............


message 17: by W.B. (new) - rated it 5 stars

W.B. That's charming. Slumming it is charming. But I have to admit I choked a bit of laughter back when they waxed nostalgiac about "a youthful Cliff Richard going by in a red double decker bus." That bus can keep going. :-0

message 18: by Tosh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tosh What an incredible image of the owner. Ultimate over-cool! Somewhere on my list of books is a book on London Caffs, and it is quite remarkable. I love this stuff. The only thing missing is Morrissey, Michael Caine, and (the ghost of) Dirk Bogarde walking into the cafe. Nathalie have you been there? I am going to London for sure this year - either in May or September (or both). A work related trip for me.

And no, I am not in the video for English Beat. Although I do have a Juliette Gréco fetish thing going. If you guys haven't already, try to check out Boris Vian's "Manual of Saint-Germain des Prés. I co-edited the book for Rizzoli and it has incredible pictures of the social scene in Paris via 1949.

But back to Soho, London - I shutter about the changes there. Let Soho London be Soho London!

message 19: by W.B. (new) - rated it 5 stars

W.B. Editing on Rizzoli, Tosh? I knew you wuz posh, but....niiiiiize. But then you are the Vian doyenne. I put the extra -ne on deliberately lol.

message 20: by Tosh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tosh I am not a huge fan of his music, but Cliff Richard is an interesting figure in British rock n' roll. If you ever have the chance check out the film "Expresso Bongo" with Cliff and a fantastic Lawerence Harvey, playing Cliff's hustler/manager. I agree Cliff is light weight, but I think he tells the story (between the words) of Soho London life. He's very much part of that world.

I actually like the British music of that period -late 50's to very early 60's. It's artless that is full of art. I am particually a huge fan of Billy Fury and the dark intense Vince Taylor. Check them out on YouTube.

TamTam Books (my press) is a very posh organization, but with no money!

message 21: by David (new)

David J'adore Adam Faith -- especially in Edmond T. Greville's sublime Beat Girl.

message 22: by Nathalie (last edited Jan 12, 2008 12:37PM) (new)

Nathalie Have I been to the New Picadilly Cafe? I loved that place more than my own home when I first graced Soho with my edge-creeper presence........

message 23: by Tosh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tosh Nathalie and others, check this book out:


London Caffs. Essential for those following this thread. And yeah "Beat Girl" is great. With a great soundtrack by a very early (James Bond) John Barry. He worked with Faith as an arranger on one of his early albums. Even the names for pop singers are great :

Vince Eager
Billy Fury
Adam Faith

These are names of great poets!

message 24: by W.B. (new) - rated it 5 stars

W.B. Grantsmanship, darlin'! Isn't it sad that such a word has actually come into existence?

message 25: by David (new)

David And he was Jane Birkin's first husband.

Too Cool For School!

message 26: by Nathalie (new)

Nathalie The London Caff book looks good.

Tosh, there's a pop history series called 'Pop Britannia' on BBC4. The first is already online to watch and the rest will follow:


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