Archive for nina hamnett

Kubla Khan Killer Cocktail: Don’t try this at home

Posted in ART with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2008 by echostains
Nina Hamnett

Nina Hamnett

Today I came across a book I hadn’t seen in a while.  Funnily enough I was writing about the author in my post ‘Bohemians at heart? or an Ass in Bohemia?’  The author is Nina Hamnett, Queen of Bohemia: the title is ‘Laughing Torso’.  The book is a first edition 1932 and contains reminiscences of Hamnett’s Bohemian life in Paris and London, where she knew  Amedeo Modigliani, Roger Fry , Augustus John and  Walter Sickert among many others.

the-little-tea-party-sickert 1915 16

the-little-tea-party-sickert 1915 16

  Besides being a good read, it has  an interesting recipe scribbled in pencil in the margin of page  174  It is in the Chapter entitled ‘Back to Paris and celebrities’, where she talks about Magician Aleister Crowley inviting some friends back to his place to try out a new cocktail he has just invented.

 I would absolutely LOVE it if Hamnett had actually scribbled down this cocktail herself in this actual book (dictated by the Great Beast Crowley!)  Alas, there’s no way of knowing who the recipe scribbler is.

The Great Cocktail Shaker

The Great Cocktail Shaker

 By the way, the actual recipe of this cocktail is not listed in the book: this makes the pencil version all the more intriguing.  Incidentally Hamnett and Crowley once involved in a Law suit together  in later years – which Crowley lost.  Artist Hamnett was known for her wild ways and her drinking and was quite a character in Soho.  This woman posed for Henri Gaudier Brzeska and Sickert and the   titleof the her book ‘Laughing Torso’ refers to when she was Brzeska’s model.


 Kubla Khan a drink supposedly invented by Aleicester Crowley

1 part Gin

1 part Cavados

half tsp Creme de Menthe

20 drops laudanum  (a tincture of opium, formerly used as a drug)

Filter through ice

Sit back and er …enjoy!


A Bohemian at heart? or an Ass in Bohemia?

Posted in LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by echostains

French House pub and restaurant

Boho’s that we are (at heart) we were Pottering round Soho and popped into the French Bar, Dean Street. Packed out of course. The smokey atmosphere may be gone, thanks to the ban, but the pub still a kind of ‘aura’ lingering over it. This bar has a great history and some very interesting photo’s and art on the wall of bygone customers: all characters, nearly all dead.

The pub itself is lively enough though, full of all different ‘types’. Lol! Wonder what ‘type’ people would call us? (hence the title). Not keen on stereotyping myself: do not wish to join. However, one of the barmen was NOT very pleased about us taking pictures at all, he told us so in no uncertain terms-

‘Do you know, there are actors in here who don’t want to be recognised or photographed’ he said (in a very loud stage whisper lol!)

Actors who don’t want to be photographed or recognised! A novel concept eh …… The beggers should take their chances the same as everyone else! After all it’s a pub, not an exclusive club (like the Colony Rooms, which we tried to gatecrash once… and failed). You’d have to be EXTREMELY ‘recognised’ by the owner to get in there: disguises must NOT be worn



The offended man himself was sporting a large handle bar ginger moustache, glasses and curly hair: a cross between Mr Pastry and Billy Childish (and yes, we have got a pic of him, it would be rude of me to put it on this blog though.. … oh OK then, if you insist: it’s not like anyone is going to see it..)


We did ask him if he WAS Billy, he said he wished he was. So did we. We like Billy, both as an artist (Stuckist) and a songwriter. In fact I must write about Childish later. But I digress as usual.



Earlier on we had gone to Fitzrovia. Now we ADORE Fitzrovia! I prefer it to Soho. All the interesting characters that used to hang round there. So many to write about, so many talented and interesting lives. Favorites include Bacon of course (got to write about the exhibition yet), John Deakin, FANTASTIC photographer and a well, not a nice character, but a character. John Minton, tragic artist. Nina Hamnett: artist in her own right and Queen of Bohemia, Jeffrey Bernard, the journalist.


We went in the Wheatchief which was one of Dylan Thomas’s haunts, though you wouldn’t know it as they don’t exactly draw attention to the fact. I’m sure there used to be a plaque or something over the seats called ‘Poets Corner’ , but that’s gone now. Him and Caitlin had many a Ding Dong in this pub. But then they had rows any time, anywhere.

Back at the French House, before we were interupted by the barman, this is what we were trying to taking photos of.

past customers

Amongst all the memorabilia on the walls, I was rather quite taken with these. Now I don’t know if they are actual little watercolour sketches, pen and ink drawings or just pieces of wall paper, but I just LOVE them and had to snap em! I can recognise a few of the artists in the drawings/paintings.  And I am sure that a lot of them would be really pleased to be remembered…….. and recognised.

gone but not forgotten