Monday, May 18, 2009


In the course of my researches into the life of R.S.Smythe the question is often asked, why does an illustrator whose principal interest is art, design. music, song-writing and assorted other objects of interest, come to be occupied with the life a theatrical manager who has been a long time dead and to whom history has not even had the grace to leave even the most faded of clues.

The immediate answer is "Oh, I need something that occupies the non visual part of my brain..." and in the way of what the japanese call aizuchi it seems to work a treat. The actual answer is that R.S.Smythe was me. The other me, the 19th century me, the pre-Allister (my actual name) me. Smythe is my previous incarnation and my full investigation of his life is simply a part of my self education. His life is in no way an attempt to find my past glory days in the microfilms that I have rolled through, nor to function as an engine of vainglory by proxy. My sub-strata IS Smythe (and his/our previous lives) and the distance of an intravital period (between births) and my experiences to this date have made me a different person so that Smythe is my was-ness, but is not my is-ness (Pooh would understand that) although I do have his debts, I should say our debts, as well as rewards. Purists can be comforted though, for my book, when it arrives, shall not be a wispy and gossamer anfract of a 'past-life' tale but a real biography of a man and his time that I will not pollute with 'recollections' unless they can suffer the probity I impose. And Lordy, there will be footnotes, enough for a dinner party but not enough for a country fair I am afraid. Footnotes are like alleyways, a few are sufficient for further exploration and add charm to a street, but too many are instruments of intellectual perdition and lead to muggings of the brain.

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