- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Personal Delivery (Paperback) Paperback – 1 Jun 1998
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Coming across the book again the other day I read it from cover to cover and it was a different experience altogether. The reader is given a very important piece of information right at the start: McLaren used to work in an accountancy firm. The whole book then becomes a celebration of him having got out of that dull place. It explains why he engages with all the artists' work in such a full-blooded way (he'd much rather be in an art gallery than sitting in an office doing his sums). It also explains why so much of the work he chooses to engage with has a grey or a melancholic side to it (you can take the author out of the accountancy firm but you can't take the accountancy firm out of the author). Indeed the main aspect of McLaren's take on the art he writes about is a well-developed sense of absurdity, a quality that some of the artists' seem to share (but by no means all).
The chapters are all over the place. There is a thread involving the author's partner Joanna, who is studying for an M.A. at Chelsea Art School. There is a thread where he comes pretty close to stalking Bob Smith (luckily that is one artist who does have a sense of irony). And there is a thread following McLaren's progress (or lack of it) in getting the little pieces he is writing published. Half-way through the book, McLaren distributes a questionnaire (to artists) asking for advice as to how he should finish his book. Does he take the advice he's given, or does he finish the book in his own way? Both, I think. Joanna, who, it turns out, used to work in the same accountancy firm as the author, puts on an exhibition that consists entirely of polycarbonate cubicles in a basement. A couple of their ex-colleagues from the City are invited along and encouraged to engage with the multi-layered environment. The result is pretty life-affirming, I have to say. I mean it's very funny.
D McL points out that the piece is perfect, the reflection running from wall to wall. And adds in the observation that you couldn't achieve this with a mirror, since there would have to be joins. Except that observation doesn't come from him but from his girlfriend Joanna. So we are being pulled into a world which is his world, but also our world, and where insights come from his careful interaction with that world - the world of art objects and of writing about art objects - but the world does have its own ideas and interacts with him in all sorts of ways.
It's fun. It's a lot more than D McL visits art galleries so you don't have to.
R says it's like being out on an afternoon walk. It's cerebral and outrageous. It's a personal engagement with the author. "I don't quite understand the satisfaction it gives me. It stays in my head like a shared experience - it's online in my head."
We got our copy of the book direct from D McL - it's signed, too - so it actually was Personal Delivery.
H & R