Has anybody here seen my old friend Chatwin?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
When he sprang from the eyes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Indiana Jones was an art and antiquities expert, remember?
Similarly, the J. Peterman catalog chronicles the adventures of another art expert in far-flung outposts of the world.
Lucas and Spielberg and Peterman may never have heard of Bruce Chatwin, but this seems unlikely to me. Chatwin was a real-life Indiana Jones as well as the definitive Peterman prototype.
In 1958, Bruce Chatwin took a job as a porter at Sotheby's.
His job was merely to carry paintings from place to place, but Chatwin rose to became Sotheby's highest expert on Impressionist art, as well as an auctioneer and a director for the company. All within 6 years.
In 1972, Chatwin interviewed Eileen Gray in her Paris salon where the 93-year-old Irish designer showed him a map of Patagonia she’d painted.
“I've always wanted to go there,” Bruce told her. “So have I,” she replied, “go there for me.”
When Bruce Chatwin arrived at the southernmost tip of the South American continent, his first act was to quit his job by sending a telegram of just 4 words, “Have gone to Patagonia.”
His six-months there resulted in a book, In Patagonia (1977), which established his reputation as a travel writer.
In future years, residents of Patagonia would come forward to contradict the events described in Chatwin's book. Indeed, many of the conversations and characters in each of his books would later be alleged to be fiction. – (wikipedia)
But Bruce Chatwin was not a liar. If these people had read more closely, they’d have found the following passage:
“The fragments, stories, profiles, and travelogues in this book have – with one exception – that of Mrs. Gandhi – been ‘my ideas’… The word 'story' is intended to alert the reader to the fact that, however closely the narrative may fit the facts, the fictional process has been at work.” – Bruce Chatwin
Bruce Chatwin died at 48, one of the early victims of AIDS.
Throughout his decline, Chatwin claimed his symptoms were the result of a rare fungus he’d encountered while exploring the Chinese wilderness. Sometimes he claimed they were due to the bite of a Chinese bat.
I have no idea why I’m telling you all this, other than the fact that I thought it was interesting.
I make no apologies and offer no explanations for what the beagle finds in the rabbit hole.
Roy H. Williams
Abraham, Martin and John was written by Dick Holler in 1968 and sung by Dion.