Schizosomething is Unwell

“Schizosomething is Unwell” is a play on “Jeffery Bernard is Unwell” the statement which famously appeared when Jeffery Bernard was unable to produce his weekly column for The Spectator Magazine: unwell being a euphemism for worse the wear for drink, or downright drunk.

Bernard was a literary legend of London’s Soho who fraternized with the likes of Dylan Thomas, Nina Hamnett, Francis Bacon and other bohemians but was almost as well known for his feckless, chaotic lifestyle and inability to stay sober.

My lifestyle may be shambolic, but I am, however, sober. Haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since December 2016. I didn’t have a drink problem. I had a fat bastard problem. I needed to lose weight.

If you’re reading this, it means I have been unable to meet the demands of a “punishing” schedule producing 500-750 words a fortnight. I’m unwell with the Schizoaffective-induced lack of motivation I experience or one of the other symptoms that make my life such jolly japes.

There’s no need to send a get well soon email or leave a comment with a similar thought.

What am I doing? Probably lolling about half-heartedly listening to music or trying to read. I might still be up to playing with my accounts on Twitter or Instagram. At the very least I should be able to play with my cat, Schizo. If you’re reading this in Summer, I might be in St James’s Park.

This page will be posted whenever I don’t manage to write something new once a fortnight. Hopefully not very often. It will serve as a reminder for you to look at some previously published content – a shrewd editorial move – and I’m praying I’ll get it together enough to add some links to things elsewhere on the web to keep you entertained in my absence.

Obviously, you’ll wonder how I managed to produce this post. I worked on it for six months and just about had the wherewithal to (re)publish it now.

On Schizosomething:

Creative accounting: Probably the best post on the site. It goes some way to explaining my obsession with those bastards at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A).

Psychotic & proud: If you fancy a longer read, try this page. It includes my symptoms, medication, relationship with The Staff, my brilliant career and adventures in homelessness.

Elsewhere:

Patti Smith: This interview was undertaken by New York Public Library (NYPL) in 2010. She talks about youth, friendships and the artists and authors who inspired her. She sounds like an awestruck teen. She turned 71 in December 2017.

BBC Radio 3: Composer of the Week. Yes, I know this classical music show has been around since the stone age, and the podcast has probably been running since Queen Victoria came to the throne, but what can I say, I’m a late-developer, and I’m only just now getting into podcasts. It started as I can barely bring myself to watch television anymore. How does anyone? There are an impressive array of podcasts on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4. Sadly, some can only be accessed in the UK.

The plan is to listen to Composer of the Week on Friday evening, and if I’m well enough, travel to Kensington Central Library on Saturday and collect some related CDs to listen to throughout the week. Only 40p each for poor old schizos and other disabled.

Madonna: Take a look at her Instagram account. No really. Now she’s not trying to look 25 all the time (she’s 59) her output is getting interesting again.

Alexa Chung: A young lovely I follow on Instagram (she’s 34, that’s not too bad for a 52-year-old to take an interest in and between 2002 and 2006 she lived with the photographer David Titlow who is twenty years her senior). I know there are tons and tons of stuff like this an Instagram, but I thought this was an exceptionally good example of the genre. Turn the volume up loud.

🎟 Sound on. 😎

A post shared by Alexa (@alexachung) on

Should I have the misfortune to republish this post, I’ll do my best to add some fresh links.

Featured image

The Coach & Horses (Established 1847), Greek Street, Soho. Photo taken with my iPhone, April 2006.

It was the famed drinking den of Jeffery Bernard, as well as being the regular hangout of the staff of Private Eye. It is still is a Soho institution.

When I slept on the streets I spent most of my days sitting on the pavement outside it. Some building site workers from Old Compton Street befriended me and used to buy me bacon rolls from a nearby cafe in the mornings and pints of Guinness from the Coach & Horses in the evenings.

For more on Jeffery Bernard see this excellent article in the Soho Journal (I discovered this publication while researching this blog post, it looks like a good read). There’s also the obligatory Wikipedia page on the man.

You can listen to Jeffery’s appearance on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4’s website and read his column in The Spectator from Christmas 1981 which pretty much sums it all up (you can sign-up for free and get access to several articles a week).

There are photographs of Jeffery Bernard on the website of the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), this one with Richard Ingrams, co-founder of Private Eye.

I thought there was a painting of Jeffery on the NPG site, but I can’t find it. However, I think it’s the same painting used on the cover of Just the One: The Wives and Times of Jeffrey Bernard 1932-1997. I’ve read this biography and agree with a reviewer who described it as spiteful. That said, overall it was a good read: you can get it from Amazon (but unfortunately not on Hive).

Finally, the column Jeffery Bernard is Unwell was adapted for the stage by the writer and journalist Kieth Waterhouse. It was originally staged in 1989 starring Peter O’Toole. There’s was a rapturous review in the Evening Standard for the 1999 revival.

If you say so

Seeing people in Tesco the day after Boxing Day they looked more like they had escaped a hostage situation rather than come from a family gathering. I swear, sometimes being unsocial is the best option.

You won’t be surprised to know that I will be spending New Year’s Eve alone with my cat, Schizo.

In the past, I have done the party thing. For years I went to Trafalgar Square. It was tolerable until they banned alcohol, but it still had the air of contrived revelry, strained jollification, and an unrealistic expectation of having a good time. A lot of faces in the crowd looked glum, and it used to confirm my belief that I’m right to want to live my life on the fringe, in the margins and away from the fray.

Don’t get me started on fireworks.

Earlier this evening I saw Hong Kong welcome in the New Year with the wretched things. It will be the same all around the globe. Until I came to my senses, for a number years I went to the Thames to watch the display. Talk about tedious; my main memory is of being desperate for a pee. At least in Trafalgar Square you can have a wee in the fountains. It’s traditional.

So I’m my usual misanthropic, distrustful self. I don’t go out of my way to be like this; it’s my default setting.

Still, Happy New Year. I hope you have a good 2018. But don’t get your hopes up.

The next post will be called Aspirations. It will cover my plans to organise my psychosis, shape-up and get with the programme.

Why not follow me on Twitter to find out when this is published or subscribe to this blog by email (box to the left)?

Featured image: Fortnum & Mason window. There are some behind the scenes photos of the making of their Christmas window display. The photo was taken with my iPhone, December 2017.

More wankery

I just assumed that all gallery websites would allow you to download images and then upload them to a website for non-commercial use. Not so! The National Gallery does. The Van Gogh Museum does. The Tate doesn’t and the National Portrait Gallery doesn’t. Something to do with who owns the rights. I’m sure there’s a very good technical explanation for this, but it seems like more wankery.

Maybe I’ll just go ahead and publish the images anyway and live like an outlaw.

Featured image: The Bedroom, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888 The Van Gogh Museum

(Many images from The Van Gogh Museum can be downloaded for non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media).

A whole new me

The few people who regularly visit this site will see that there’s a whole new look. I’m revamping a charity’s website so I thought I’de give this blog a makeover.

I’m trying to attend gallery exhibitions and following social media arts-related stuff in the evenings. I’m also reading more. Vanity Fair at the moment.

In summary, expect pretentious lowlife wankery.

Featured image: The Toilet of Venus (‘The Rokeby Venus’), Diego Velázquez, 1651, The National Gallery.

(Many images from the National Gallery can be downloaded for non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media).