Monday, April 23, 2007

London radio programme

I have been invited to come up with a selection of my favourite music for a London radio show. A sort of alternative Desert Island Discs, the programme will be broadcast within the next week or so and will be available to listen to as a podcast via The Hub.

At the time of my birth, Beethoven's 5th symphony was playing on the radio as my father awaited news of my arrival. This monumental piece of music was to remain a favourite of his, as well as several of the classic English hymns which the Peake family would sing en famille on Sundays.

My choice is:

1. Bill Evans playing Tenderly

Ella and Louis Under a Blanket of Blue with Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich and Ray Brown.

3. After You've Gone played by Bireli Lagrene the French gypsy guitarist

4. Miles Davis playing Straight no Chaser from his famous Milestones recording

5.Traumgekront one of Alban Berg's fruehe Lieder with Anne Sofie von Otter and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

6. Prelude in E Minor Opus 28 by Frederic Chopin played by Martha Argerich

7. Opus 31 in A flat from Beethoven's late piano sonatas played by Alfred Brendel

8. The fourth movement of Mahler's 9th Symphony with Sir John Barbirolli conducting the Berlin Philharmonic

If you would like to hear the music and the interview please click the link.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An article in Illustration Magazine

When the editor of the influential Illustration Magazine asked me to write an article for their latest issue recently I was particularly interested as this would give me the opportunity of outlining aspects of my father's working methods as well as my own life living within his artistic orbit.

The article is liberally illustrated with a range of my father's drawings. It describes his interpretative skills while at the same time attempts to evoke the atmophere and milieu in which his craft was brought to life.

The welcome approach I received from the magazine was as a result of their receiving a copy of Mervyn Peake: The Man & His Art from the publishers, Peter Owen. The staff of the magazine are so enthusiastic about the book that they have decided to make a special offer for their readers. It covers the subject's life and all its highly colourful aspects while displaying for the reader the sheer breadth of vision with the aid of numerous examples of his work.

For a copy of the magazine go to Readers of the magazine can contact the publisher to buy a copy of the book at

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The David Glass production reviewed in The Guardian

Once read, never forgotten, Mervyn Peake's dark trilogy about the downfall of the ancient, inbred house of Gormenghast is one of those adolescent rites-of-passage works. It is impossible not to identify with the young Titus, 77th Earl of Groan and heir to Gormenghast, struggling against the machinations of Steerpike, the put-upon kitchen boy turned valet, whose rise up the greasy pole of power appears unstoppable.

David Glass' production sometimes suffers from as much misplaced ambition as Steerpike himself. But in transposing over 1,000 pages of novel into just over two and a half hours, it recognises that Gormenghast is as much a state a mind as an actual place. The stage is almost bare and, for successive scenes, the endless stone corridors of the castle are ingeniously created by handheld backdrops.
This is a production that captures the flavour of the novels, if not quite their nightmarish essence: Eric MacLennan's monstrous and murderous Swelter, the master cook, is a little too well-behaved to be really gruesome.

It seems the need to tell the story keeps getting in the way of Glass's desire to create startling visual images. When the two come together, it is magnificent: the discovery of the aunts' mummified bodies and the labyrinthine corridors are niftily done.

Until April 15. Box office: 020-7223 2223. Then touring.

Peake at the Peak Festival

I'm very pleased to have been asked by the organisers to speak at the Peak Festival, Country Bookshop in Derbyshire at 12.30pm on Sunday 27th May. My illustrated talk will include photographs, art and illustrations by my father.

Go to the website for more information about the festival.