Saturday, 10 May 2014

A public airing at last

In the chaotic and TV-less ménage which I shared in Brockley Rise in the 1960s a regular date was with "The Public Ear" on BBC radio on Sundays. Fresh, provocative, it was hosted by Pauline Boty and a young bloke whose name I forget. Only later did I discover that Boty was foremost a pop artist and by that time she had already died of cancer. Her name vanished from the media, surfacing occasionally in a colour supplement as a fan tried to interest the establishment in her work, which all this time had been stored by her brother on his farm.

Now it seems, from Alastair Sooke's Culture Show essay (Pop Goes the Women) that the paintings have finally been rescued and conserved. I believe that if she had lived, her reputation as a painter would have thrust aside by the men who followed, just like the other women featured in the BBC-2 documentary. However, she had so many talents that I am also sure that she would not have remained out of the media floodlight - actress, performance artist, BBC presenter, perhaps a politician - who knows? At least we have something tangible to remember her by.

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