Some memories of Old Charlton Road
UPDATE: Rick McGrath writes in to highlight his pilgrimage to the house.
He and Litt also traded poems on their visits.
There once was a chap called McGrath
who camped out right by JGB’s door
when old Jim poked his head out
his Shepperton redoubt
McGrath said, “Go back in, and write more’.
Tis true, I doorstopped JG
His highness I just had to see
But I never got in
for a scotch or a gin
Or a talk of psychopathy
The story on the sale of Ballard’s house this morning generating some interest. Fingers crossed the campaign to buy it gathers pace — the best option so far has been suggested by the Ballardian, in which fans each contribute £1,000. Is this not too expensive though? What about a micro-payment website in which everyone pays £1 for a slice of the property?
Some memories from Toby Litt:
“I only visited JG Ballard’s house once, to do a magazine interview. I came away thinking that it’s all very well saying you’re against consumerism, but unless you live in a place where nothing has changed for decades, you’re fibbing. It was like some kind of game with objects – “I will not replace you; if I do, I will do it with something that seems likely to outlast me.”
The upstairs toilet was painted in the kind of thick blue gloss paint that you might expect to find on a ship’s funnel. The stair carpet, barely tacked down, was a quietly domestic form of Russian roulette. In the hall was a unicycle which had stood in the same spot for at least fifteen years.
The whole place was a series of exquisite sight gags. And I haven’t even mentioned the vast pot plant that dominated the table behind the net curtains in the front room. The only rivals to this I’ve ever seen, for dusty gigantism, were in public buildings in Czechoslovakia three months after Communism ended.
It was the environment of someone who genuinely didn’t give a fuck about how interiors of respectable houses are meant to look. As such, it was amazing. And shaming. And endearing.”
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