Francis Bacon In Your Blood: A Memoir

Summary

Michael met Francis Bacon in June 1963 in Soho’s French House to request an interview for a student magazine he was editing. Bacon invited him to lunch, and over oysters and Chablis they began a friendship and a no-holds-barred conversation that would continue until Bacon’s death thirty years later.

Fascinated by the artist’s brilliance and charisma, Michael accompanied him on his nightly round of prodigious drinking from grand hotel to louche club and casino, seeing all aspects of Bacon’s ‘gilded gutter life’ and meeting everybody around him, from Lucian Freud and Sonia Orwell to East End thugs; from predatory homosexuals to Andy Warhol and the Duke of Devonshire. He also frequently discussed painting with Bacon in his studio, where only the artist’s closest friends were ever admitted.

The Soho photographer, John Deakin, who introduced the young student to the famous artist, called Michael ‘Bacon’s Boswell’. Despite the chaos Bacon created around him Michael managed to record scores of their conversations ranging over every aspect of life and art, love and death, the revelatory and hilarious as well as the poignantly tragic. Gradually Bacon became a kind of father figure for Michael, and the two men’s lives grew closely intertwined.

In this intimate and deliberately indiscreet account, Bacon is shown close-up, grand and petty, tender and treacherous by turn, and often quite unlike the myth that has grown up around him. This is a speaking portrait, a living likeness, of the defining artist of our times.

Francis Bacon in Your Blood: A Memoir was chosen Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’ and by The Sunday Times as its Art Book of the Year.

 

Availability

The book is available from Bloomsbury in HardbackPaperback and eBook, through Amazon UK in HardbackPaperback and eBook, and through Amazon US in Hardback and eBook. It has also been released as an audiobook, narrated by Michael himself, available through Audible.

 

Reviews

UK: Art NewspaperCulture WhisperChoice, Daily Mail (HardbackPaperback), Evening Standard (HardbackPaperback), Fun Posts, Guardian (HardbackPaperback), Independent (HardbackPaperback), InStyleLiterary ReviewMail on SundayMature TimesObserver, RA Magazine, SpectatorSunday Times, Telegraph (HardbackPaperback), Times (HardbackPaperback), Times Literary Supplement (HardbackPaperback), The Lady and Vogue.

 

 

 

Adaptations & Extracts

Adaptations were published in The Daily Mail (HERE and HERE), and Michael was interviewed in The Telegraph and the Fundacio Tapies. Additional articles appeared in The GuardianThe Sunday Times and Christie’s Magazine. A series of extracts were broadcast on Radio 4 from 24th to 28th August read by Adrian Scarborough. The Omnibus edition of these readings is available HERE.

 

Talks & Readings

Michael has spoken at various venues including Ilkley, Bath, Dublin and Ely. He also gave a talk at Christie’s New York on 19 January 2016. Michael also read from Francis Bacon In Your Blood on 14 September at 7pm at Westminster School and at the Oxford and Cambridge Club Literary Lunch on 15 September.