Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Country Girl' O'Brien tells of city life in Swinging Sixties

Lynne Kelleher

Irish writer Edna O'Brien (right) has told how she invited controversial artist Francis Bacon to her London home in the Swinging Sixties for Christmas and he brought her a "lady present".

She said: "You might think he might bring me a bottle of brandy but he brought me a rather sedate set of some very exquisite bath water, toilette water and talcum powder. It was more like a lady present."

The 82-year-old doyenne of Irish fiction recalled in a BBC interview how the American singer Richie Havens stood her up during her heady days in London in the 1970s.

She said he took a shine to her and asked him to meet her at his hotel near Hyde Park corner.

"I went to the hotel and the concierge handed me a letter which is engraved in my mind.

"It said 'I cannot be here. I have made two promises both to transpire on the same mountain'."

Ms O'Brien opened up about having an LSD trip as she was nearing her 50th birthday to make her feel more sane.

But she said her most terrifying experience was having a bad trip after taking the hallucinogenic drug with Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing.

"I had been told that it would be good if you began to freak out to hold someone's hand.

"I was about to get the words out to tell him to hold my hand or to save me really when he had metamorphosised into a rat in a suit."

Irish Independent

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