THE TRAGIC MYTH OF THE ANGELUS OF MILLET illustrated by Millet's painting.


In his essay The Tragic Myth of The Angelus of Millet, Salvador Dalí interprets Jean-Francois Millet’s 1859 painting of a farmer in the fields with his wife as a depiction of male castration in the shadow of female sexuality and death. Was this Dalí being playful? Surreal? Provocative? Or was there more to Millet’s work than […]

Photo shows DALI AND PICASSO together


In the land of small minds and minor talent, Dalí and Picasso were giants. They were men with visions wider than the horizon and the stamp they left on the 20th century remains indelible. Twenty years older and already the toast of Paris, Picasso one spring morning in 1928 opened the door to his studio in […]

Dali holds Josep Pla illustrating JOSEP PLA WAS MY FIRST SPANISH TEACHER


Josep Pla was my first Spanish teacher. If I drop the odd anachronism into the conversation, don’t blame me, blame the great Catalan writer, journalist, bon vivant and, it has been said, forerunner of magic realism.  It all started after spending Semana Santa climbing the dirt track to Sant Pere de Rodes with my wife […]

Illustration shows CASA ANITA IN CADAQUES


Casa Anita in 1984 was still a well-kept secret, The Ritz for those with a bohemian spirit and a taste for fresh fish that has leapt straight out of the sea and landed on the grill. Named after the effervescent owner, Anita was a beautiful woman with dark lustrous eyes, hair black as coal and […]

Figs are a better aphrodisiac than Spanish Fly

What is Spanish Fly?

They say in Amsterdam you can buy anything – even girls appear semi-clad in shop windows. Smoking cannabis is decriminalised and I was once offered Spanish Fly in a bar in De Wallen by a man wearing an eye patch. ‘It will make your dreams come true,’ he said and winked.  Gabriel García Márquez may have […]

Death and the Maiden - devil creeps into woman's bed

Death and the Maiden

In the story Death and the Maiden, a pretty young woman – innocent, probably a virgin – is seduced by Death, in the shape of a monstrous old man – sometimes with horns, sometimes just a skeleton. The two images capture the yin and yang of all things, all opposites. But, like yin and yang, each […]

Image shows book transforming into a woman with that sense of having arrived

That Sense of Having Arrived

It was a feeling hard to put into words, that sense of having arrived, perhaps. It was like opening a locked box and letting all the dead air out. Or going to bed in one place and waking in another. It was the summer of 1990. Sam Roxburgh and his wife Rosaleen were having one […]

Photograph of Prince Charles reading a book, possibly Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me.

Prince Charles and the Lost Copyright

Has Prince Charles read Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me? Seeing how he was for a brief time the copyright owner, I rather like to think that he has and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I wrote ‘Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me’ long before I became cynical and had the rare pleasure of reading the translated version in Spanish […]

Brigitte Bardot watching Picasso paint.

Brigitte Bardot and the Painting that Never Was

There must be a good reason why neither Salvador Dalí nor Picasso painted Brigitte Bardot. They both had the chance. They both liked beautiful young women – albeit for different reasons: Dalí because he was a slave to beauty, Picasso because he liked sex with young women. Yet, neither put graphite to paper, oil on […]

The Bourgeoisie Stole Dali’s Toilet Seat

Salvador Dalí was a work of art, his own masterpiece. ‘I work seventeen hours a day,’ he cried. ‘The measure of my genius is the size of the hole I perforate in abstract matter.’  He didn’t believe in inspiration. ‘It is the obsession of repetition the Gods take note of.’ Routine was the watchword and he […]