The blurb entices you in. ‘Dave Haslam portrays the world of drink, sex, music, drugs art, and chaos’. This time, it is not about the 80’s nightlife of Manchester, but the nightlife and world that Picasso found himself thrust amongst back in the 1900’s.
Similarities can and will be drawn to the Hacienda days, and the carnage of ‘Madchester’, but in Haslam’s latest offering ‘Adventure Everywhere – Pablo Picasso’s Paris Nightlife’, we are taken back to simpler times, the streets of Montmartre, the epicentre of creativity, bustling with vibrant descriptions of a place that thrives and comes alive after dark.
The launch night gave us a small insight into the latest book in a series of seven which features notorious characters from the world of art, music and literature including Keith Haring and Sylvia Plath. Fitting it was that the special guests on the evening included poet, Oliver James Lomax, and renowned Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller.
Deller is a conceptual, video and installation artist who won the coveted arts prize back in 2004 with his re-enactment of ‘The Battle of Orgreave’ which depicts the clash between the police and miners strike from 1984.
The evening started with a brief introduction from Haslam, in which he read an extract from the book. I was immediately transported to the Parisian streets of the early 20th century , smutty, smoggy, seedy and incredibly detailed, written with passion by someone who clearly lived and breathed the Boulevard De Clichy, home of the infamous Moulin Rouge, and situated in the heart of Montmartre. Haslam spent time living amongst the same places frequented by Picasso and his contemporaries which has paid off in this collection of encounters from his latest work, eloquently written with passion and humour.
The interview gave the sold-out Whitworth Art Gallery’s grand hall a further insight into the process of writing such material. Haslam was interviewed by Deller, with wisdom and candour. Deller also shared tales of his days in New York, an encounter with Andy Warhol and numerous parties and exhibitions attended back in the 80’s. For a former art student, I felt incredibly lucky to be witnessing two pioneers of the creative industry talk candidly about their experiences, and in such a beautiful setting.
There are links between Manhattan in the 80’s and Manchester’s own nightlife which come across in this volume. It is a must read for anyone with an interest in the arts of any kind, and of course a sure fire winner for anyone who has visited Paris.
Books can be ordered here at Dave Haslam’s official website http://www.davehaslam.com. I for one will be ordering and devouring the entire series!