Remember the song Golden Brown by the Stranglers, “Golden brown, texture like sun” – well I’m reading the dishy lead singer’s first novel , Window on the World.
The story takes place in the London art scene. We’ve got a botanist come writer called James Thornberry, a sexy gorgeous up and coming artist called Katherine Gaunt who Thornberry falls for (for her or her paintings?) and Miles Goodfellow, a London gallery owner who’s Jame’s best friend and who represents Katherine. There’s a recurring reference to the act of defenestration which means to throw somebody or something out a window (or a swift dismissal or expulsion as from a political party or office) but it’s clear Cornwell is only concerned with the first meaning.
Actually I’m surprised I’m reading it at all because I don’t usually read books never mind novels and especially contemporary novels mainly because I’m a slow reader. The last book I read was in 2012 by Matti Friedman called The Aleppo Codex: A true story of obsession, faith, and the pursuit of an ancient bible – an absolutely brilliant read about the theft of a 10th century bible. In fact I’ll reread it when I finish this, probably in early 2015. Right now I’m on chapter 7. It’s an easy read with a dark side and I’m always intrigued to know what happens next. I’ve been reading it in bed and on the tube – something I haven’t done in years – and another joy is that the cover has an inside flap which I use as a book mark so I don’t have to bend over the page corners.
Anyway, that’s what I was reading on the tube yesterday on my way to Waterhouse & Dodd for their private view of works by Alex Rennie and Karen Gunderson. Both have something going on – personally I preferred Rennie’s work – but what struck me the most was a painting in the back of the gallery out of view by Russian artist Marie Vassilieff. Now she’s someone I would have loved to hang out with.
Waterhouse & Dodd has recently moved to Albemarle Street from Cork Street – it’s a great new space. Interestingly, I’ve just read in section 2 of The Art Newspaper that they’ll soon to be joined by the Paris gallery Tornabuoni which will open there in Feb 2015. And seeminly, New York based Dominique Lévy is also looking for a gallery space in Mayfair. Albemarle street always had lots of galleries but it didn’t have the same connotations as Cork Street – maybe it’ll become the new Cork Street – for better or worse – who knows? Anyway, the London art scene is the best in the world whichever way you want to look at it.
I’m off to bed now with Hugh Cornwell – can’t wait. If you fancy a bit of him too you can read the first two chapters of Window on the World here.