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300 Words From London: Pensioner Romance in Portobello

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by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2005
When you are confronted by dozens of images of happy couples and doctors and nurses in love ineptly rendered on canvas board I am not so sure
by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2005
When you are confronted by dozens of images of happy couples and doctors and nurses in love ineptly rendered on canvas board I am not so sure

It has been suggested that this column consists of my just typing the first 300 words that come into my head and then stopping. There may be something in that. I have an ever decreasing attention span. I can barely concentrate on one thing long enough to come up with 300 words on it. In fact I can rarely get to the top of the stairs and still remember what I was going up them for. So this column is my version of the OAP with the wordsearch magazine. I am just trying to sharpen up a little. Forgive me if I wander.

 And on the subject of pensioners.Simon Finch Art (www.simonfinchart.com)  on Portobello Road have an exhibition of paintings of original artwork from People's Friend magazine and the covers of Mills and Boon romance novels. Now this kind of kitsch works well when you stumble across it by chance in a car boot sale or junk shop. But when you are confronted by dozens of images of happy couples and doctors and nurses in love ineptly rendered on canvas board I am not so sure.  Without wishing to speak ill of the dead, the late Lawrence Houghton was no great shakes with the brush though his talent was probably evenly matched by the verbal skills of the romance writers whose books his work adorned.

Simon Finch Art is the usually excellent and eclectic gallery offshoot of one of London's main book dealers. A gallery with a few shelves of rare books and first editions.but no Mills and Boon as far as I could see...t seems ironic kitsch doesn't stretch to romantic pulp fiction quite yet. Just to their covers.

A final word to recount an entertaining story a complete stranger told me about the late Arthur Miller. On holiday in Italy and Miller was recognised at my informant's hotel. The next morning she saw him seated alone on a completely deserted veranda and she decided to approach him and ask him to sign her notebook. He gestured around to all the empty tables and chairs and said "I can't sign for you. If I do everybody will want one".now that has become my second favourite Arthur Miller story after the one about my friend taking a copy of Death of A Salesman to a Norman Mailer reading and asking him to sign it.

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Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

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