Who's Barry Martin? He's a minor figure in the history of British art over the past half-century but a relatively major figure in the history of Ray Keene's circle of friends and cronies. He also has an interest in chess, and this combination - Ray, art and chess - is nicely illustrated by this book cover from a decade or so back.
Apparently Barry writes a chess column in his local paper. I say "apparently" not because I doubt its existence, but because I doubt its relevance, given that the only person I have ever seen refer to this column is Ray himself. Fitting, then, that Ray and Barry should continue their collaboration with a book compiled from Barry's columns, of which Ray himself is the only known reader. It is available in all good bookshops, says the ad. I think I need to say "apparently" again.
There's an introduction by your friend and mine, promising that
On the back cover, we see Barry in play against a vital link to the chess art traditions of the past, his opponent being Marcel Duchamp’s widow, Mme Teeny Duchamp herselfwhich judging by what I can see on Amazon, may not be a promise fulfilled.
Among the other tendentious claims made by our normally reliable guide is that Barry
has also gained a world chess ranking. In Duchamp's time, such ratings had not been invented, so Barry is the only artist on the planet who has achieved this accolade.Your suggestions are invited for candidates who would disprove this assertion. So, indeed is your assistance in demonstrating that Barry possesses such a thing, since I can't locate one. (Maybe he had one in the past. No doubt he did, for if this is not about living in the past, what is?)
Ray also tells us:
the theme of chess, of course, is a prominent thread throughout his oeuvre, ranging from the biodegradable potato chess setI would genuinely like to know more about this set - I've come across it mentioned before, and wanted to write about it
through portraits distributed by The Times of Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short.Well well, it's Nigel again. That's right about the portrait, mind, and Nigel crops up at the artist's launch - Chess stars flock to Barry Martin's book launch, it says here.
Nigel in company
Funny, it seems these days that every time you come across one of Nigel or Ray, you come across the other too.
Just for the record I came across this stuff earlier this week after remembering, for some reason, Paul's tweet from November, which drew our attention to this no doubt important event.
Obviously I recognised the chap in the main photo, but I also recognised the chap in the top photo
Not least because in this photo
he was being portrayed as the chap in the main photo.
Confused? You will be, especially if you try to map the links between Tony Buzan, Ray Keene and all their many and various cronies, of whom Nigel is one.
The chap in the photo is another - he's Chris Day, who runs Filament Publishing, publisher of Ray's book on Tony, Barry's book with Ray's introduction, and, coming shortly, another book by Tony,
which is recommended to us by a Professor Geoffrey Clarke of the University of Hull.
Which is odd, because I can't locate a Professor Geoffrey Clarke at the University of Hull. But I guess he must be there somewhere. Apparently.