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Sunday, 25 June 2017
Basil Eliades: Renaissance Man
Basil Eliades is certainly a Renaissance Man when it comes to the arts. He's a painter, as well as a poet, performance artist and most recently an author of travel fiction. Speaking inTongues is his most recent IP title. His previous poetry with IP is 3rd i and 50IV.
Assistant Editor Imogen Sloss caught up with him as he was packing his bags for the Venice Biennial.
IS:Basil, how would you best describe the nature of your book?
because of my strange life, I tend not to see what everyone else is seeing. And
I guess I'd prefer not to! Speaking in Tongues is a collection of short stories about the weirder aspects of travel – the kind
of journeys you may read about, possibly dream about, but rarely experience. It
is (hopefully!) intense, funny, sensual, and always offering a kind of
your writing, how do you choose what
should remain factual and what can be fiction? How important is the truth?
that these are all fictional stories grounded in fact, it's pretty easy to
choose what should remain factual – virtually nothing! Fiction allows enormous licence. But I have to say, life offers more bizarre
experiences than I can invent. You can begin a story from any single point you
choose – John Marsden famously gives character-writing lessons beginning with a single button. So on the road any one fact can be the
basis for a whole story, but one relies on the real world to ground the rest of
the story, to keep it located in time and space.
sparked the inception of Speaking
been very blessed with opportunities to travel, and I have always written, and
always written whilst on the road. It was inevitable that the stories would
come together at some stage.
was overall the most interesting place you've visited around the world?
think the interesting bit is inside our heads! Nearly everywhere I go I am
thrilled and mesmerised by newness. I don't know that any one place is intrinsically more interesting than any other. But despite all that... Venice Venice Venice for the light, the feel, the stonework, the water. Paris because it's Paris. Japan because it's amazing, and Jane
shared it with me. For sheer interesting-ness, however – India!
painter and writer, what is the difference in recording your experience in images or text?
allows me more room to play over time, to evolve subtle images through
suggestion and play. Painting for me is more about an internal experience, less about the external world. But the images I draw whilst travelling might feed into a story, and equally they might evolve into a
is your #1 piece of advice for someone who wants to reflect on their travels