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An Evening with William Boyd by ‘Nat Tate’

 

If you were in the LitFest audience of the Memorial Hall last year, you may have caught a glimpse of me.  I was hovering in the wings while William Boyd, the great author, told the story of my artistic struggles and tragic demise to a spellbound audience.

 

I get the applause, but why the laughter?  

 

Nevertheless, I was mightily gratified to hear that Nat Tate still dogs his footsteps all these years later.  Well, you can’t beget someone then expect them to lie down and take it when you deny their existence.  Even imagined figments have feelings! I’ve lost more lives than a cat, but I still keep resurfacing.

 

My first reported demise occurred in 1960 when I purportedly jumped off the Staten Island Ferry.  Come on!  If I were going to jump off anything it would have been one of those hundreds of bridges I painted.  Oh dear, more laughs, burning my bridges before committing suicide!  

 

Then, in 1998 David Lister denied my very existence, ”a literary hoax” he called me, cooked up by an unlikely alliance between Boyd and Bowie.  I mean, how believable is that?  Yet I refused to go away.

 

In 2010 I made an appearance in the TV adaptation of Any Human Heart.  In 2011 one of my paintings sold in Sothebys for £7,250.  I’m very proud of that:  thank you, Ant. 

 

Amazingly, there are still some in the art world, who wishing to bathe in reflected glory, claim to have known me personally and Mr Boyd, despite his best efforts, can’t stop talking about me.  Try as he might, I’m still here, part of his life, by popular demand.

 

And your tumultuous applause was testament to the wonderful evening of literary reminiscences we provided.

 

 

Michael Cope

 

 

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