Sunday, 22 January 2012


Hockney and painting
British painter David Hockney has been getting big licks this week following the opening of an exhibition of new paintings at the Royal Academy in London. Quite right - he is a fine artist, even though he has not painted a single picture remotely concerned with cricket. A sad reflection on modern Yorkshire, where he was born and bred. What would F S Trueman say?

Fantasy Bob admires Hockney as a painter.  He also applauds him for his outspoken rubbishing of the frauds of Brit Art and the conceptual movement.   Unlike Hockey, their failure to address cricket in their work has no redeeming features.

One of the points of interest about Hockney is that he is synesthetic. That is in response to musical tones, he involuntarily sees colours. This is one form of the condition where stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic involuntary experiences in a second pathway. Apparently there are 60 such types of this condition which have been reported, but the form enjoyed - or suffered - by Hockney is perhaps the most commonly known. A number of other creative artists are reported to have had a similar condition - among them Liszt, Scriabin, Kandinsky and Duke Ellington. How this has affected their creative lives is not wholly clear, although Scriabin was explicit in trying to link his works to colour and one of Ellington's greatest tunes was Mood Indigo. Hockney makes little use of it, although his set designs for opera and ballet are said to have been stimulated by his direct visual response to the relevant music.

Other forms of synesthesia are more exotic for example, letters or numbers can be seen as inherently coloured, or days of the week can evoke personalities or precise locations in space. Another recently discovered type means that visual motion is accompanied by sounds.

Fantasy Bob can find no reference to sportspersons, or cricketers, in particular having this condition. Is that surprising?   Perhaps not although some sportspersons are said to have heightened perception eg Viv Richards' eyesight was reported to be so acute that he could pick out faces in the crowd many metres away. He also picked out the cricket ball pretty effectively. Would he have been more effective had he heard it coming as well? How would it be if a ball spinning in different directions induced a different tone in the batsman's ear?  This could be highly useful particularly to English batsmen right at the moment. Off break - middle C, Leg break Eflat. Doosra F-sharp. Of course we would probably then find that they were all tone deaf..........and so would be no further forward.

Perhaps Hockney was right after all not to think about cricket painting.

A new Hockney non cricket painting

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