Monday, September 15, 2014



The blue sea
lies at white cliffs and a brown
skinned child dressed in virgin white
sung songs there, bringing tears
to sad sweet hearts.

All the songs were called I bow the dawn.

Note Amid all the weekend's headaches, I was fascinated to learn that Herne Bay, Kent native Kevin Ayers had published a small book of poetry, Leo The Lilo, with collaborator David Gray in 1965, and grateful that I was able to read it online.  Kevin's song lyrics are far better realized than the poems, but it is always good to gain another view into the mind and work of a developing great artist.  

Kevin always ran down Herne Bay when he spoke about it, but I know he returned there regularly throughout his life.  One thing he never mentioned (because I'm sure he wasn't aware of it) was the fact that Marcel Duchamp visited Herne Bay in 1913, chaperoning his niece Yvonne during her summer holiday.

1913 was the Nude Descending A Staircase/Armory Show year, two years ahead the artist's semi-permanent departure to Manhattan where he created The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (1915-23), also known as The Large Glass, and one year prior to the beginning of World War I.  

This 2013 Telegraph (UK) article (Link) describes Duchamp's surprising and pleasant Kent sojourn (anyone for tennis?) and the possible visual influence of the seaside resort on the artist's eternally enigmatic masterpiece. 

In first position above is a postcard Duchamp sent to a friend from Herne Bay recording pertinent details of the trip. The other images are tantalizing fragments from The Green Box, Duchamp's poetic-hermetic notes informing, undergirding and supplementing The Large Glass. 
Adding to the word/picture assemblage is Kevin's chanson Puis-Je? (Link).

Well, May I?

Cream: Anyone For Tennis (Link)


  1. Wonderful! Herne the Hunter came from Berkshire not Kent. Wonder how the town got its name.

    1. I don't know, but a web entry I just read says that Herne insinuated himself in various parts of the country (forests, bays, etc.)