|Interviewer: Robin Hughes
Recorded: February 15, 1994
This is a transcript of the complete original interview conducted for the Australian Biography project. Each transcript page covers one videotape (approximately 35 minutes). There is also QuickTime video of the full interview available. To play the video, click on the icon in the right hand column. In addition, each question in the transcript is linked to the video. Clicking on a question will play the video from that point. (Help with this feature.) Optionally, you can download the video file for offline viewing (approx. 10MB).
The interview has been left it in its original state so that you can get a sense of how the conversation developed. The repetition of some questions, or a question followed by another question, is often due to the end of a particular tape or some other interruption, and has been indicated at the appropriate place in the text. There has been minimal tidying up of the text so that the flavour of the encounter has been kept.
So how did you get into America with this cheque in your hand?
Yes, now, let's see the point I was at was that I was in the office with the chap ... the ... the bloke at the consulate, asking for permission to get into the States and he ... he then asked me this question: Why did I want to go the States? And as I said, I'd acquired a little bit of cunning at that point about handling these situations but I was able to happily be able to tell the truth. I said, 'Well the point is, that the whole art centre of the world has now moved to Manhattan, very simply', which it had and I said, 'It's displaced Paris and London as an art centre', and I said, 'It's absolutely necessary now for a painter to have a sojourn at least in Manhattan to see what's happening', and he leant back and looked very pleased with that, thought that was an excellent idea and he said, 'Oh yes, I appreciate that very much, but Mr. Tucker, how do you propose to support yourself in this time?' and so on. So then I reached into my pocket, pulled out this telegram and just put it across to him - like that. He looked at it most impressed, 'Oh well congratulations, Mr. Tucker', and he got up and he said, 'Just a moment, I won't be a moment', picked up my passport and went out of the room. He was gone about five minutes or what-have-you and came back and then sat back at the desk there and beamed at me, and said, 'Well, that's all right', and I said, 'Yes, what? What?' I was still waiting for a visa. 'Oh', he said, 'there's your passport'. There was the visa on the table, a huge technicolour visa saying, 'Good for two years'. [Laughs] So I floated out of the ... out of the ... I always have that feeling of floating when I have ... when I really achieve something or escape from something. You feel yourself rise in the air. I'm sure it was an out of the body experience. I'm sure that my inner body there lifts up two or three feet into the air and I just float out and so I've floated back to the YMCA, packed up everything, went down to the station, worked out the train times and hopped on a train and then headed for New York.
Had Mary's action in placing the paintings with a gallery borne any fruit by this time?
It had, it had indeed because the thing I neglected to say, which I should have said before I left -and it was obviously one of the things that got me off my backside and to pack up and scramble money together and take this punt on it - as well as Mary, there was this other factor which she had actually generated herself. She'd left these paintings with the Poindexter Gallery, and apparently ... Alfred Barr, who was then the man who started the whole Museum of Modern Art, and was, you could say, a major lay art figure virtually in the world at that time, was Alfred Barr ... And ... but Barr, there, is a very good man and he's a very humble man too. And he ... His practice was on weekends there to go around various commercial galleries, of which there were many in New York, and get into the stock room and look at their stocks, which of course he had access to everywhere he wanted to, and he happened to go into the Poindexter Gallery and saw these paintings of mine. There was one there that rather intrigued him. One there called Lunar Landscape, which was shown in the ... in the retrospective I had three or four years back. And he said he was interested in that and he asked them to send it up to the Museum, where they could give it further consideration, and so on, as a painting, where this was done. So Mary wrote and told me this and I thought, my God, you know, if I've got Barr's attention to it there, I've just got to put everything I've got into following this through, which I did. So, now let me see ...
Was your ...
I'm just trying to work out the sequence of events here now, because then, that's right, just around about that time, you know, this is where my memory slips - you forget some very important thing. But anyhow, I got confirmation that they had in fact decided to buy the painting ... acquire the painting. But I hadn't got any money at that point. But I was given ... I did get this confirmation that they'd decided to buy it. I forget now whether I was on my or I was already arrived in New York when this happened. But ... no it was before I left, that's right. I got that confirmation before I left. That's right. Mary followed that through. And ...
Could you sum up for us, your period in New York, your period in America, in terms of your development, what did you get out of it?
Yes, oh well then I'll ... if you don't mind I'll follow up a little further thing there that, I followed the thing through with Mary, but she was adamant and so on. She was tied up with some other boyfriend and that was it. So I was very ... given ... given the run. And I wanted to make a reference back, which I was going to make before in this case, where two cases of built up rejection like that under a similar kind of circumstance which didn't do my morale any good as you could gather ...
For our purposes could I ask you a question, and we'll finish off about the relationship and then we'll go back to your development as an artist during this period.
Okay, so we can tie that off. Sorry.
Oh yes, but I do want to make my little final point.
I will, I will.
In the ... In the ...
But can I ask that question so that we can use it?
Righto, righto then. But I'm trying to defend myself against false interpretation.
I do understand that. So let me just ask a question and then you can say what you want. When you got to America, what happened with Mary?
Well the ... I saw her. I had a thing there. I found out what was happening and she was adamant in the stand she'd taken and I couldn't shift her on it and that was that. And so ...
How did you feel? This is the second time ...
I felt terrible.
... in your life.
I felt terrible. I mean the whole thing was reopened. The whole pattern of events was reopened and there it was. But, as I ... as I earlier was about to say there, as always I jump ahead, but that ... after that point, it became quite obvious there, as time went on there, that both Joy and Mary, would have wanted to get back to me because I discovered with Joy that I ... she was trying ... wrote to me in order to keep me, woman like shall I say, as a fall back position if the thing she had didn't work. And so ... because women always work on this security thing about their love relationships. The security becomes a very, very big part into it. And a similar thing happened with Mary later on. Because later on I went ... when I came back here, married, and then went back to the States, with my present wife, Barbara, who I've been with, by the way, I might add there, for, let me see, for just about thirty - almost exactly thirty years we've been married now, and I was with her a couple of years before that, and so there's the 'til death do us part thing still trying to work itself out. And ... [INTERRUPTION]
To simplify the whole thing without going into all the details, that along the lapses of time afterwards there, it became very evident that they would have both given their eye teeth to be back with me. So at least I consoled myself with that kind of pressure, but the new situation, it was all too late, and that was it. Unhappily. It was a very unhappy thing because of Joy. I feel quite a bit of distress about that that ... that one, and also Mary, because Mary later, again a curious synchronicity, developed cancer of the breast and she died in 1975. So, you know, these ... these are all rather tragic sort of little wind ups of these situations.
So what happened then with the rest of your time in America?
Well, as always one fights to retain one's balance. I had this bad situation with Mary going on for a while, and then finally I left and she even came down to see me off I remember. And ... but that was that. But she still remained adamant that she was staying in the States. Part of it, mind you, was reconnecting with the States and rediscovering the States for herself. That was part of the story with her I think because a lot later on - but I won't leap ahead and create trouble as I always tend to do - but I stayed, adapted in the States and one of the ... one of the things that happened was that Nolan was there then. He was on a Harkness Fellowship and he was in the States. And also Roskolenko was there. And also there was a man, Ken Pittendrigh, who I knew earlier, in Melbourne, in the ABC and he was with UNESCO. Then another man, John Drake, who was with UNESCO, with actually the Food and Agriculture Organisation, in ... in New York. So I had these contacts. And the first thing I did - almost the first thing I did - I stayed with John Drake for a ... with him and his wife for a couple of days, and then I met Ken Pittendrigh and he said, 'Oh', and I said I was looking for a place to live, and he said, 'Oh', he said, 'My wife's in Europe. She won't be back for three weeks. Come and stay with me'. He had an apartment down on West ... I think it was West ... now let me see, on, yes, West 13th Street I think, and so I was able to stay with him for that time then. In that time ... as that time drew to a ... drew to an end, then Harry Roskolenko introduced me then to a girl who had an apartment up on 21st Street - what they call a railway apartment. It was just near Gramercy Park and just ... it was close to 3rd Avenue. And Harry said, 'Oh', he said, 'She's ... her father's been ill and she's been talking about going to Phoenix to see her father and look after him for a while, so it may be possible that she would be able to let you her place while she's away'. So I went up there with Harry, met her and - this girl. She was very, very, very pleasant and she said, 'Well I'm glad you came'. Bertie Hallenberg [?] was her name and she said, 'I'm glad you came because I've been procrastinating about my father. He's very ill, and so, okay, you can have the apartment and I'll whiz off to Phoenix and see my father'. So she did that. About two or three ... and I shifted into the apartment. A few weeks later - not terribly long later - she wrote ... wrote me a long letter from Phoenix. Her father had just died, left her a lot of money - a lot of money. She said she wouldn't be coming back to the apartment so I could have it and I could have everything in it. This is the lovely largesse of the American mind, you know, which has been absolutely marvellous. [Laughs] See my luck changed from that telegram on the boat until when I got here. But I'll go back now that I've dealt with the ... the home situation which I'm ... because see, this is a prior thing in my mind, getting your shelter up first. But while I was staying with Pitendry I saw Nolan, of course, and one of the first things I did was to get up to the ... you know I went off in one of my trance things the following morning. And wandered up ... went straight up 5th Avenue, floated up 5th Avenue, all the way from the 13th Street up to 53rd Street, where the Museum of Modern Art was. There's a thing I haven't told you by the way, which was a totally off beat experience, which I'd have to go back again. You see, I have to move backwards and forwards in time to tell a sensible story but I'll leave that one for the moment if you want to hear it. It's an important one, I suppose, and I can include it in this, which I will do in a moment, but I'll get on with the ... with the dull Museum of Modern Art one. I'll again cut the story short. I saw the Museum of Modern Art was delighted. I saw Nolan. We went up one day there to go to the ... go to the Museum and they had a big sign up saying 'New acquisitions of the past year', you see. And Nolan said, 'Well let's go in and go and see what's there', and the first painting I saw went I went through the door, which I already knew I was going to see - and I'll tell you about that later, there - was one half of this painting of mine on the wall. So we went in, looked around, saw this painting of mine, saw one of Nolan's Kelly paintings they had and the little Bracefell one, the convict one that he had in there. We saw that: quite delighted, pleased, looked at the exhibition. 'Let's go up and have a cup of coffee' to their restaurant on the third floor, which we did. So we went around, got into the elevator and just as we were getting into the elevator, another man got in. A tall, rather grey spare man got into the elevator with us and Nolan looked at him and said - we always call him Nolan or Ned ... and Nolan looked at him and said, 'Oh, oh hello Mr. Barr, how are you?" And Mr Barr looks, 'Oh hello, hello Mr. Nolan, how are you?' and so on. And he said, 'Did you see ... did you see, Mr. Nolan, that we have a painting of one of your compatriots just outside on the wall'. So Nolan then ... he just said, 'Oh well, here he is', you see. [Laughs] And there I was. And so Barr was quite delighted. Met him. And this is a beautiful thing about the Americans, you know. You could never do this in England or Europe or here for that matter. You're more likely to do it here than anywhere else. But he came up and he had a cup of coffee with us. We talked for half an hour. There I was, right on the top, on that level, [Laughs] in a flash, you know, perhaps arranged again by this marvellous long finger from upstairs, I don't know, arranging things. Because did he have to get into the elevator at that moment?
So did your time in New York give you a sort of confidence ... [INTERRUPTION]
America was obviously confirming a lot of confidence ... [Tucker: Oh my word] ... a lot of artistic and creative confidence in you. Why did you decide to come back to Australia?
Well my visa ran out. The two year thing. I had to keep renewing ... every six months. And at the end of two years there's a fixed law, you had to leave the country because if you stayed beyond that point there it got them into a hell of a legal problem apparently in getting rid of you. If you wanted to stay on. So they were very, very tough and very no nonsense about that one. And so ...
Did you come home reluctantly then?
Oh, in one sense I did. But also I had been given ... the Museum of Modern Art ... The Reeds had set this up here, and this was supported by a man, a local man, Kurt Geiger, and he set up a Kurt Geiger Scholarship to try and entice talented people overseas back to ... excuse me, back to Australia. And so ... so I was in correspondence with Reed. They gave me the first one, which meant what was again another thousand or so, I forget the amount, it was a thousand or two thousand - I forget if it was pounds or dollars at that time. But anyhow it was a sufficiently substantial sum of money to come back to Australia and hold a cycle of exhibitions around Australia. So I thought: Good I can do that. A few months and this will get rid a lot of my Australian nostalgia and then I'm going to hot foot it back to New York. Straight off. But again, leaping forward, I got on ... immediately made contact here, started making good money here, and I was getting older and I wanted somewhere to live and I bought a block of land out at Hurstbridge and so I ... could have gone to three places then - London, New York, or stayed here. So because things went so well for me, then I stayed here, and so then, of course, everything went cold and I haven't done anything about it ever since. I've more or less run the course, in one sense.
You mean as far as travel's concerned?
Well, in one sense I had, because I'd done a lot of travel the hard way. And you know, all through Europe anyhow and certainly through ... and also in the States. But in Europe the hard way. And you know, in a sense, you ... one had a terrific yearning for a solid piece of ground. I understood Vassilieff then. He came back, he got his land here and he built a fortress on it, which is still there. And I had that feeling. I knew it. You know, you wanted your own bit of land to jump up and down on. See, I was already well into my forties and you ... you know, there are times when you have to make decisions in life. And so, I thought I seemed to have reconnected here and I still had this terrific sentiment with Australia and I was rediscovering the Australian landscape and wildlife, which was a sheer delight, which of course there ... our ... our, how shall I say? ... our highly civilised politicians are destroying there because of economic determinism, which is an absolute disgrace. Which - don't let me get started on that one, or I'll start frothing at the mouth and going berserk.
You also had a son here.
Oh yes. I had Sweeney here. And of course, reconnected with the Reeds. And I was ... while I had initially trouble with Sweeney, who was in his mid difficult adolescent phase, but once he got out of that we got along marvellously well.
Had he stayed with the Reeds that whole time?
Most of it, he had, most of it, yes. He was at one stage getting apartments and staying away and then going back and you know, this in and out sort of thing. And he was married too. Got married again. I forget just when.
As he grew up did he come to see you at all overseas?
Oh overseas? Oh yes. Well again that's another whole episode. The Reeds took him overseas with them in 1949, I think it was, and stayed over for several months, quite a while. And they brought a lot of Nolan's work over with them, and some of mine, which they gave to me, which I was glad to get. And ... but then they set to work to promote Nolan, as well as they could. And so there was a long story there. I assisted them in this, and so on, and he had an exhibition at UNESCO that they put on, that the Reeds put on. John tried to get it on at the Museum of Modern Art and failed. And so you know, things went on. But they had Sweeney with them and they said that they were ... at this point they'd ... Sweeney had been with them longer than with me. See, because once I got there my plan was to come back within the year, but of course I had no fare. I had no way of getting the money. I was broke right through most of that time. So time went on. And finally Sweeney was with them. He'd been with them for about three years and he'd been with me two. And they, more or less, the Reeds - and I think properly, they were quite legitimate in this - he'd been with them so long, and they'd invested so much of their life in him, and okay, they said they wanted to adopt him. And I had ... still had no future in front of me at that point, none at all. I had nothing. This was in the pre-Mary days too, not that Mary would have wanted to take on a child, but it was in the period before the relationship with her. And so there was no way of ... no practical way of handling it, of having a five year old boy. And yet I got along beautifully well with Sweeney then. And I remember I had a ... it'd be too long a story to tell, I suppose, but I developed a beautiful understanding with him there that ... and when we went there I explained everything to him. And oddly enough, in a curiously adult way, he was able to understand what I was telling him because when I said, 'Look Sweeney I want to look after you here, but I haven't got any money'. So he said, childlike, 'Well why don't you do what John and Sunday do, go to the bank and get some?' And I said, 'Well the problem there Sweeney, is that you've got to put the money in to the bank first, before you can take it out'. [laughs] You see, a marvellous little thing. And he nodded his head, 'Oh yeah'. Yes, he understood that. And so I said, 'And also John and Sunday can look after you very well and give you ... you know, give you the right education and a good, secure home, and background and plenty of food, whereas I can't do those things for you now'. And he ... he more or less ... he understood that. This is the extraordinary thing. I said ... so when I took him back up to the Reeds after this long talk there, I remember there, I ... you know when he left there, I was saying to him, 'Remember Sweeney', and I did that to him [WAGS FINGER IN FRONT OF HIS NOSE] and he lifted his hand up like that [WAGS FINGER IN FRONT OF HIS NOSE] and went off quite content. So this was ... this was very, very good.
So you signed the papers for adoption?
Yes later on though, but this is later on when I was in Italy and Florence. It takes a long time to prepare these things and make applications and so on but I'd given my word. He was five years old then, and I knew the die was cast on that one. And ... because after all I added it up, he'd been with the Reeds longer than he had been with me, and they'd been with him in his most, you know ... a lot of his very formative years and [was] part of their life and it would be a damage to the child to totally disrupt all that.
As well as to myself.
So how old was he when he became officially theirs?
Do you know I don't know the exact date. I know he was five when he came to Paris and he ... it must have been at least a year or two, something of that nature. I don't know. It might have been longer. I don't recall.
Did you find it a very difficult decision?
Oh yes. It was one I held off as long as I could. But what had happened is that I'd gone to Italy - that's right - I was trying to work out the time sequence there. I'd been to ... with a art ... There was an art critics' conference there and they were taking them all over the place and I managed to join myself to it. And they were doing all sorts of trips and one of them was to ... was with a friend of mine who worked in UNESCO. I went to Florence and got an apartment there. And I was able to go to Florence and stay there for three months at the Via Seralli [?] near the Pitti Palace. And it was while I was there that ... that the thing with Sweeney came up and I was able to complete it all. And I think that'd be around, somewhere, again I'd have to work back on it. To work out the time sequence would be rather difficult ...
In retrospect ... In retrospect, do you think that was the right thing that you did?
Well I think, given the circumstances, I had no alternative and I think it was the best thing I could do at the time.
So when you saw Sweeney later, when you came back to Australia, did he have any resentment at all for you?
Absolutely none. Absolutely none.
Had he seen much of his mother?
I didn't see Joy at all.
But had Sweeney seen his mother?
Hardly. As far as from what I knew. I little about that. I couldn't give you a firm answer on that, but my impression was that he only would see her intermittently and very occasionally and when she was down from Sydney in hospital he'd never go to see her, and presumably he would have seen her when she came down to Heidelberg, but how often he saw her then I simply don't know.
You're saying he had a very difficult adolescence. Did he show any talent as an artist?
He did actually and he was showing it more strongly when he died, than even earlier. He started ... he did a course in print making and was starting to produce some very interesting prints. You know, a good quality was emerging in them. So it was tragic also in that sense.
How did he earn his living?
How did he what?
How did he earn his living?
He spent a long time ... see there's so much history to tell, to make sense out of. Taking a snippet out of it and putting it forward because you have to know the lead up to it and the context to ... to follow it, because the thing I'd done before I'd left Australia was that I'd talked with his grandmother, and told her that I thought she could leave whatever she had to Sweeney. So I said, 'I know you wouldn't want to leave anything to me. But with Sweeney ...', I said, 'you know what will happen if you leave it to Joy, if you leave your will as it is, that she and her boyfriend will do it all in'. And so the mother there said. 'Good God, you're right', you know. She hadn't thought of that. We often don't think of our own death in this way there and she said ... the next morning she rushed in and changed her will and left most of what she had, and as far as I can gather, pretty well everything, to Sweeney, and part of it to her son. She had a son too. And I don't know whether Joy got anything out of it or not. I'm inclined to doubt she did, or if so, very little.
How did Sweeney die?
Do you know why?
Well, there's a whole story to tell you that. I think that terrible things happen to children when their mothers abandon them when they're young, at their crucial formative period. I think it sets in a ... It sets in a time bomb which goes off in its own good time. And Sweeney's own marriage was falling on the rocks and he was having trouble with that and I think he saw it as a pattern ... and ... that he was committed to, and he couldn't find ... also Sunday had spoiled him rotten in one sense. And this is one of the ... what would have been a terrible weakness for Sweeney to cope with. So he was quite spoiled and expected, you know ... and self indulgent and expected to have everything. And there's no way of sustaining that kind of demand on life. And John, who was very Victorian, just wouldn't do it. He'd give him his bare living and that was it. And I think Sweeney decided that, when his own marriage was breaking up, he decided that that was the trigger, I'd say, and that was it.
Did you see it coming?
Did I ... beg your pardon? [INTERRUPTION]
Did you see it coming, his death?
Oh not the suicide, no. He had made attempts before and I knew [of] an earlier one, when he was in his teens. But I had a long talk with him about that. And all this. He seemed as far as I knew, he'd got over it. But after his death I found that he had made an attempt earlier in the same year, which had failed. And his friends knew all about it, but they didn't tell me. They told me after ... after he had succeeded. And I was furious then with them and everyone for not telling me because I know that if I could have known about that impending possibility, I could have talked ... talked to him about it and quite possibly talked him out of it because I was getting along ... had a marvellous thing with him, with Sweeney then. Because he was acting as a kind of agent for me. He set up the whole sale of the Images of Modern Evil thing for me with the Canberra Gallery, because he got me to prepare a folio of the ... the colour photographs. We both went up to ... went up to Canberra. He knew Mollison much better than I did. I'd only met him very casually. In fact I'd had a row with Mollison the first time I met him, which was rather odd. [Laughs] But Sweeney had got to know him. See he'd got a ... out of the ... what his grandmother left him he started this gallery that was called Strines in Brunswick and he operated that for quite a while. Again, how long I can't recall. But he also acted as a kind of agent and went around and was selling paintings here [and] there on commission ... commission basis with different people in galleries. And he seemed ... he seemed ... as far as I understood, and he only told me part of the story, as I understood it there, he was getting by quite well.
This was yet another loss for you, Albert.
This was yet [coughs] excuse me, this was yet another loss for you.
Oh Lord yes. Oh Lord yes. Very much so because as I said our relationship was very good and we were getting along very well together. And so, it was again, a ... and those police who came up at Hurstbridge there and gave me that bit of news there, I was absolutely shattered. As you can imagine. That was it. But, [laughs] you know, you go through these crises in your life, or these disasters. You either live or die with them and if you live with them you find some kind of a adaptation or reconciliation to them.
Do you think that they affected your work, your art?
Every experience in this life feeds into one's painting. Probably these experiences with these good ladies, and with Sweeney, it would have certainly fed, shall I say, a gritty, tough, pessimistic vein through my work. I don't doubt that. That that would happen. But this doesn't worry me in any philosophic sense because death is as much part of life as being alive. Suffering is as much part of life as ... and torment is part of it, as joy and happiness and fulfilment. And no one escapes it in one form or another. The forms for it are all endless. And so we have to stand off from life as a whole and say, 'This is ... this is how it works and so I accept', and you know, 'I'll do my best with it'. That's all one can do.
And what of Joy? Had she died two years after as the doctor had predicted?
Let's see, beg your pardon?
What had happened to Joy? Had she died within two years, as the doctor had predicted?
Oh no, no. He was way out on that. She took thirteen years. She was getting remission after remission, which is a known ... and it was a known thing then with Hodgkin's Disease, and this is where the doctors ... that conventional doctor then, who told you there that he, you know ... that you're going to die in six months time. I mean, for God's sake, it was ... there couldn't be a more self fulfilling prophecy. I mean it's a good way to kill anyone. This is shooting silver bullets into them. If anyone told me that, and I believed them, I would have it too, I know that. But happily, though I don't believe these ... all our modern science and medical ... I believe it up to a point or certain areas they control and that's it. But beyond that I look after myself. I'm my own master.
She was still alive when you came back to Australia.
Oh yes. Oh yes.
Were you tempted to go to see her?
Well I had the urge and ... but it was too difficult and I knew she was very ill and she'd ... physically she'd deteriorated. Was very thin. And I'd had this experience before that you ladies are very concerned about this appearance thing. Understandably. I'd probably be concerned about it myself. I remember it happened with one of our own painters when he was dying, that he didn't want to see me or anyone else because of the state he was in. And I remember a girl that I'd known. I'd painted her when she was young there, she rang me up and told me she'd been very ill. And ... and ... she'd ... she'd ... she told me this and I said, 'Well, you know, I'd like to see you. Let's have a cup of coffee together'. 'Oh no, no, no. I don't want you to see me as I am now'. She said, 'I don't want that'. And I think there's a lot of this with Joy. While she didn't say so, I don't think she would want to have seen me.
So did you feel at all regretful that you hadn't seen her before she died?
Oh yes. I felt regret afterwards, with always this hindsight. I felt a regret then that I hadn't gone in and tried to have last sort of thing, because I didn't want to put the strain her, you know, but then she was going in and out of hospital so much for chemotherapy and radio kind of treatment that they were giving them at the time, that it was like just another session in hospital. You know, the next thing I heard, she was out and back doing things for a while and then she'd be back in for a while and then she'd be back in again in another couple of months. This ... it was that kind of thing. So her death itself came as quite a shock.
So after these two major bad experiences with your ... after these two experiences of two women that had left you, what made you feel ready to take on another marriage?
Well I think the ... we're two ... male and female, we're two halves endlessly in search of each other, trying to find the right half. And so I was at a stage in life where I just didn't want to live on my own and I got to ... this is when I met Barbara, when I came back. This was the last phase of my life shall I say, or later. I hope not the last. [laughs] But the later phase, shall I say. And so I met her, I figure round 1962 and saw a lot of each other and we married in, I think, it was 1964. So there we are.
And what has that relationship meant to you?
Oh, very important of course. Any male-female relationship is very important. Very important. Because you women have an insidious power to invade the male psyche and take it over and manipulate it in this way and that. So one has to be aware of it. Of course you're well aware of that, but we're not supposed to be. [Laughs]
But presumably, as you've stayed with Barbara for so long, there's been some aspect of the manipulation that you've enjoyed?
Oh of course, of course the male enjoys being manipulated the right way.
And how has she affected you?
Barbara? Well in the way that women affect a male I'd say. It completes the other half, in a way. There's some sort of completion takes place and there's some kind of situation where you're able to continue to face life and make sense out of it.
Do you feel it's affected your work?
These specific things don't do it. This is all osmosis thing, you know, as we ... as we said earlier. But any experience in life feeds ultimately into your work in some form or another. All experiences. And you can't add up the priorities or their ... or their ... their importance or their priorities or any of these things.
But sometimes with hindsight, you can discern affects that you weren't aware of at the time.
You can do that a lot later on. You might pick up a connection which you missed at the time...
[end of tape]