I saw Billy Childish perform a few weeks ago and the show, the paintings and his performance won't leave me. Now granted I've been a fan for some time and if you don't know who one Billy Childish is, well, let me just expand your window a little. Billy Childish is quite the prolific painter, poet, and song-writer of our times. In a twenty year period he has published 30 collections of his poetry, recorded over 70 full-length independent LP’s and produced over 1000 paintings.
Born in 1959 in Chatham, Kent, in England. Billy Childish left Secondary education at 16 an undiagnosed dyslexic. Refused an interview at the local art school he entered the Naval Dockyard at Chatham as an apprentice stonemason. During the following six months (the artist’s only prolonged period of employment), he produced some six hundred drawings in ‘the tea huts of hell. On the basis of this work he was accepted into St Martin’s School of Art to study painting. However, his acceptance was short-lived and before completing the course he was expelled for his outspokenness and unorthodox working methods. With no qualifications and no job prospects Childish then spent some 12 years ‘painting on the dole’, developing his own highly personal writing style and producing his art independently. He has performed with the Milkshakes, thee Mighty Ceasers, The Pop Rivets, the Headcoats, the Headcoat Sect, and now The Buff Medways. His impact on my world has been in full effect since I was in college in the mid-80's, when a friend, dropped a Milkshakes record on the turntable, and I thought it some undiscovered Beatles record! had me ever since.
The night he performed at the Sunset tavern in good ole' Ballard was fantastic; read poetry, performed song songs, and showed some paintings. He lives in our time period but seems to have been shot from the past, paints like a Expressionist who ran into Van Gogh, and paints as good as anyone from that time period. Writes music that rivals the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, the Small Faces and on and on. Try one of his readings on for size...The Noble Beast