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Meeting Salvador Dalí over a slab of offal


Into the unknown: a holiday in Cadaqués
Brian Sewell Writer
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Salvador Dalí. Well, I was a convenient friend for about four years. And we… I and three friends… no, they weren’t really friends, they were three people I didn’t know at all well, but I had gone to have dinner with Joe McCrindle, the American collector, when... one of his long stays in London. And it was well into September. And one of the topics of conversation was holidays, which some of us had not had. And it transpired that there were four of us who had not been away, and somebody I don’t know said, well, why don’t we all go together? Why don’t we…? Let’s do something.

And I said, 'Oh well, quite by chance, there was what sounded a very attractive holiday flat advertised in The Times this morning on the French coast (the unfashionable French coast of the Mediterranean), the bit that winds down towards Spain. Why don’t we take it for a couple of weeks? You know, can we manage it?' And it was agreed that we would all find the next two weeks, as it were. And Joe said we could even take his car, because it would be better than any car any of us possessed, or more reliable.

And so there was a telephone call to make the following morning, and the arrangements were made, and off we went. We none of us knew the others. It was a hell of a risk to take. And we drove like stink right through France and got to the coast on the first night. And we found the flat and it didn’t seem all that agreeable. And when we woke up in the morning and went in search of the sea, we found that it was, in fact, very disagreeable. It was a real slum of a place and the beach was filthy and horrid and so on. And so we were… you know, are we committed? Can we afford to…? Why don’t we take a chance and go on?

So we drove around the corner and over the Spanish border and well, we didn’t really know where we were making for, and suddenly I saw a notice saying Cadaqués. And I… oh, you know, let’s go there. It rang a bell. And so we turned off down the side road and found ourselves in the bay at Cadaqués. Pretty village, lovely bay, very few people about. Heaven. It just, you know… and we found a very cheap place to stay and settled in.

Born in England, Brian Sewell (1931-2015) was considered to be one of Britain’s most prominent and outspoken art critics. He was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art and subsequently became an art critic for the London Evening Standard; he received numerous awards for his work in journalism. Sewell also presented several television documentaries, including an arts travelogue called The Naked Pilgrim in 2003. He talked candidly about the prejudice he endured because of his sexuality.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Cadaqués, The Times, Mediterranean, Salvador Dalí, Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Joseph F McCrindle

Duration: 3 minutes, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2013

Date story went live: 04 July 2013