Emile Zola (1840-1902)
Zola had a deep impact on my mental state as I was progressing through the classics in my late twenties. His naturalism and social history acumen kept me spell bound throughout fourteen novels (there’s twenty I believe) focusing on the trials and tribulations of the Rougon and Macquart families. These novels are set in circa 1850-1870’s France, and cover suffering and triumph from lower class life to the privileged and articulate. Zola’s own life is worth studying, a rich story indeed.
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
Thomas, a Welsh poet and short story author made a permanent home in my mind primarily because of his so called drinking and womanising reputation. I was in my naïve teenage years when I discovered this writer. I was seeking a role model, Jimi Hendrix fit the bill for music, but Thomas was for me a master of words…most of his poems I don’t understand, but very much like the sound of. He also died young as most of my hero’s do.
Byron, Lord George Gordon (1788-1824)
Byron came to me in my mid-forties. I felt utterly lost and depressed while out driving on a survey. I turned into Newstead Abbey, Hucknall UK. I paid the fee to enter the estate. I sat in the Abbey restaurant and was befriended by two Byron academics. I find Byron’s work the most influential due to its political and romantic content. He was a man, a visionary, a lover, a revolutionary. As with my other two influences, his works and life are legendary and should be seriously looked at.
The musicians I mention below have carved out their signatures on my soul. Sadness, disappointment, anxiety, and howling at moons seeking an answer to the unanswerable…”why are we here?” are always accompanied by the inescapable sounds of these talented artists to name but a few.
Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Janice Joplin, Mahler, Faure, Henryk Gorecki, Curved Air, Free, and Portishead. Recent (new on my scene of musicians) are Henrik Freischlader, Joe Bonamassa , Mostly Autumn and Layla Zoe.
Artist’s film and canvass
I like stories, films and pictures which follow me out of a room…these gifted people do this for me:
David Lynch, Balthus, Rego, Bacon, Goya, Caravaggio, Cellini, and last but not least William Blake.