claims a character named Jonathan James in a Guardian article given the melodramatically cliched title The Beast Within But I don’t recall the critical reaction ever being “muted.” Michel Leiris was well-nigh delerious in his praise, as John Berger was enraged in his dismissal, going so far as to liken Bacon to Walt Disney. If he cared to read Berger’s words at all (which I very much doubt) Bacon would doubtless been amused, giving forth with that marvelous high-pitched giggle of his — perfectly captured by Derek Jacobi in John Maybury’s marvelous Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, a film clearly of no use to a neo-connie hagiographer like Jones.
Poor baby! Quel cross you’ve had to bear! We all know what a bitch adolescence can be — especially when put at the tender mercies of a “liberal arts education” of the sort Jones has obviously been heir to.
What, no Hitler? Oh, I forget — we’re not allowed to mention Hitler anymore. That would be going too far. Likewise we’re not allowed to mention that Saddam’s regime was established by the Reagan administration and promulgated by Bush I.
Really? Got the figures on that? Or are you just pulling numbers out of your ass? Apparently there was a “Worst Mass Murderer Ever” competition and Hitler lost.
Don’t think you’re talking only about the past in that regard, cupcake.
which is why the weaker parts of it have turned into the right. Clearly Picasso should never have painted “Guernica.” He didn’t have the right, you see.
“Good-for-nothing gambler” is rather mild, dear. He was a manipulative S&M bottom with no real feeling for anyone other than himself. He was, however, unfailingly polite (well-deserved obscenities screamed at Princess Margaret in public to one side) and great fun to be around.
Leads one to wonder what he’d make of the ultra-simian George W. Bush, doesn’t it?
There is little point in speaking of Bacon at all if you don’t recognise him as an bounder, first and last. But ideologues like Jones need Bacon the way less culture-minded neo-connies need South Park. A patina of “hipness” is de rigeur these days.
Because Bacon liked Velasquez and Eisenstein, that’s why. Nothing more.
Nothing but us lumps of meat
And lumps of meat are quite beyond good and evil — though Jones would prefer to imagine otherwise.
Oh not really. He desired people for awhile. Many of these phantom desires found their way into his work — which was a lot more interesting to him than mere sentient existence. In the early 70’s when I was working as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art I used to see him a lot. He’d haunt the galleries to absorb the art, and cruise for the odd trick. When a show of his paintings was mounted he used visit to the gallieres early in the morning, before the public arrived, and commune with his paintings. He’d spend countless hours looking at them — as if they were executed by someone he scarcely knew.
Largely because of the George Dyer studies the other guards were rather frightened of him. But I found him as convivial as The Count of Montebello, though obviously louche as the Count was (and is) not. While his canvasses were filled with horror and despair Bacon conveyed none of that in the flesh, appearing as bright and at ease with himself as he does in the excellent television documentary hosted by Melvyn Bragg. The last time I saw him was in Paris in the late 80s, briskly striding through St. Germaine des Pres, grinning from ear to ear. One wonders whether this signified happiness in its generally accepted sense, or was merely an expression of animal comfort. Or is there a difference? Bacon would likely have found none.
What’s tragic, and not at all comic, is regarding a genuine moral exemplar named Harold Pinter, a man whose piss Christopher Hitchens is unfit to drink (no matter how much he longs to, as a figure as dismissable as Jones himself.
But Pinter needs no defense from the likes of me. For as he’s quite recently indicated —
The big pricks are out.
They’ll fuck everything in sight.
Watch your back.”