Cultural Life: Billy Childish, artist

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I've just finished reading 'The Assistant' by Robert Walser. He is one of my favourite authors: poetic, understated and playfully sarcastic. When committed to an insane asylum in the 1930s, he was asked if he was going to carry on writing. "No," replied Walser, "I came here to be mad, not to write."


I've not been an admirer of contemporary music since punk rock went off the boil in 1977, but once a year I'll listen to 'Spiral Scratch' by the Buzzcocks, or 'Hippy Hippy Shake' by the Swinging Blue Jeans. Otherwise, I can put up with Chopin or shakuhachi flute in the background.

Visual arts

Being a fan of authentic Dada, I find today's art – what I call 'Bankers' Dada' – mind-numbingly dull. The most challenging work I've seen of late is by The British Art Resistance. Their document, 'A Call for Heroes in an Age of Cowards', is apt in these days of witless chancers.


I don't own a TV but I do watch DVDs on the computer. At the moment I'm enjoying 'The Great War', a series made by the BBC in the early 1960s. It has become a template for how TV documentaries should be made. Idiot TV producers, take note!

'Billy Childish: a Short Study', by Neal Brown, has just been published by The Aquarium (£9.99)