A portrait of Burning Bush


On returning from our Yokohama mid week birthday sojourn on Thursday evening there was a brown paper package. Left on the doorstep – unusual for the Japanese postal service. Scented with Apres L’Ondee, on opening it ( Helen’s signature ) there was a book – and a painted portrait of Burning Bush.

I gasped when I saw it. I know that Helen’s partner Steve is an exceptional portrait painter – frequently featuring in the National Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London – but this is unnervingly on point. It IS Burning Bush ( theoretically also me ). A palpable malevolence. An Edvard Munch vampire. An exceptional birthday present.

D had been colluding with them behind the scenes. Apparently the original plan had been a picture of us both together, but D had demurred and gone for BB ( I can imagine both sets of parents tutting disapprovingly reading this ). But Burning Bush – who when encountered by most people is often described as being a spirit animal; an ungendered feral creature and my performing alter ego who has more power in the flesh than I do – is clearly more visually striking.

It was also D who insisted I try the stage ( as he knows me better than anybody, along with Helen and my mother ). He must have sensed that I needed the release. And I did : although I might be embarking on disturbing psychological revelations here, prior to the existence of Burning Bush I would sometimes feel trapped in my own skin, as though demons were pushing their way out of my skin. Like something had to get out. Some blood letting.

15 Comments

Filed under Flowers

15 responses to “A portrait of Burning Bush

  1. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Excellent idea and execution. You to a T as I imagine you on the prowl
    Louis Quatorze gone Metal
    Thanks for sharing

    • Yes !!!!

      I love that description.

      Incidentally Tara C your comment has just been disappeared for some reason – my reply to it as well.

      I am interested in what all of this means – the ‘creature within’ etc : all I know is that I can’t just be a Man In A Sui

    • I mean I know I can be tediously knee jerk contrarian in many ways and always have been ( probably from the rage at society at being told who I am ‘allowed’ to sleep or fall in love with, which convulsed my spirit deeply ), but also for example Halloween, which I have never been interested in personally. People get so excited about being given the license to dress up on just one day of the year free of censure, but come the 1st of November they put their costume away and start dreaming of next year’s. I was actually never into dressing up and am not a clothes person -for me it is more fun being art directed by D once in a while as it is amazingly liberating just slipping out of your skin for a second.

      And GREAT die performance : a very good friend of mine, Julianne, is about to be launched on the pop scene by Universal Music, and she did a research paper for her songwriting degree on the effect of visuals and alter egos. Lady Gaga; Elton John… are they hiding behind the stage persona or is it an integral part of it?

  2. What a great gift, and a beautiful portrait

  3. Amazing! The eye looking right at the viewer, despite the abstraction. What a wonderful present.

  4. Robin

    I’ve been looking for one in all the wrong places. Now I’ve found it.

    BB is my spirit animal.

  5. WOW, what a fantastic portrait and wonderful gift!

  6. A belated happy birthday, dear Neil. Hope you had a wonderful day. What a wonderful pressie.

  7. Such an amazing gift!! It truly captures the essence of you as Burning Bush, and the intent gaze is wonderful.

  8. Jools

    A stunning portrait that represents your freedom, created by an exceptionally talented artist as a gift of love from your gorgeously perfumed best friend. Everything about this is perfect. X

    • XX

      How splendiferously put.

      I must admit, back at work on Tuesday, newly aware of my mortality now the celebrations are over, I feel like a fat old meaningless schlepp, but the picture does definitely capture a moment in time, as did my book. In the future it will probably all seem inconceivable to me.

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