June 2005


Animals have always had an arty place in the world from ancient rock paintings to the works of George /Stubbs. And many 20th century artists loved their pets and painted them in portraits, including Britain's great living treasure, the 83-year-old Lucian Freud (yes he of the "The painter surprised by a Naked Admirer. The latest work" unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery last month).

One such Freud work is in the Art Institute of Chicago, "Sunny Morning-Eight Legs" 1997, featuring a naked man lying on his bed with only his dog for company.

Also the high profile Bradford-born but loves and lives the Los Angeles lifestyle, David Hockney. One of Hockney's favourite portrait subjects is his beloved Dachshunds, which he did say "were not good models" but were the creative inspiration for his drawings and paintings in his 1995 book, Dog Days.

With arty thoughts in mind, and an offer to meet up with author Susie Green, animal aficionado and Dr Dolittle of the pet world, who had spent two months studying a pack of feral dogs in India, in the Magadala Public House North London.

As the venue of our meeting is notorious for being the place where Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, shot her lover David Blackely 50 years ago this July, I could not refuse.

Susie arrived with her amazing white Arctic canine companion. The dog seemed to stop everything in their tracks, drinking ceased immediately everybody was invisibly drawn to pat, offer crisp, chat away to a new effervescent and fascinating new friend, Poppy, who obviously was going to be the star of the bar that evening.

We began by discussing the different relationship between having a dog who is dependant on its owner, and having a cat which is independent. Susie explained that people think they can or can't teach their pets to do things, and should look at animal life from the pet's point of view. Susie told me with passion and warmth for her subject, that with her books the reader will be able to ascertain what the dog or cat is actually saying through body language, facial expressions and feelings.

For dogs, her book reveals the secrets of how your dog communicates with you and shows you how to talk back. For cats, again the book deals with communication, the meaning of meows, cat lore and wisdom.

Other mesmerizing chapters include, pet psychology, psychic pet, evolution of the pet, troubleshooting, an informative glossary and bibliographical reference. There are 1950s influenced artwork by Trinia Dalziel and Philip Hood and also wonderful quotes peppered throughout the pages.

So what's in the pipeline for Susie Green in 2005? There's a book on animal wisdom and how they help solve problems in our lives, with 52 different cards illustrated by Csaba Pasztor. And a book which taps into ancient shamanistic societies, that believe that every living thing from a tiger to the wind possess a spirit, and how to gain wisdom from these spirits.

Green feels immense affection and compassion for all animals and that our pets are "nature's ambassadors". She has intrinsic awareness of how animals should be treated in urban society and why humans need pets in their busy lives.

Susie being a generous soul, is offering Hot Gossip UK readers a chance to win a signed copy of one of her books. Therefore we have a competition (see below).

Question, who said these words of animal wisdom?

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"

A.John Steinbeck

B.Mahatma Gandhi

C.Garrison Keillor

Answers please by June 21, 05, email [email protected].

One lucky reader with the right answer and will be chosen at random, answer and winner in next months column.

And please indicate if you would like the Talk To Your Cat or Dog book. Good luck!

And with the last glass of a silky smooth Rioja finished off, Poppy and Susie vanished for a walk on Hampstead heath!

Talk to Your Cat and Talk to Your Dog, by Susie Green, £9.99, published by CICO BOOKS, can be purchased on the internet from www.amazon.co.uk


This year marks the 12th Anniversary of an extremely impressive and popular annual musical event, simply called, Proms at St Jude's.

The week of concerts takes place, in a Grade I listed church built to the designs of Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), the much admired English architect, a creative force behind the founding of the model community of Hampstead Garden Suburb in 1907. St Jude's has one of the best church exteriors in England, which can be admired anytime. But go down there between June 11 and 19 and you can hear great music in its impressive interior too.

Great acts from all over the world are due to perform, including one of the most talked about gifted young British jazz vocalists, Gwyneth Herbert and her band; world renowned and celebrated Russian pianist Nikolan Demidenko; and the UK premier performance of the exhilarating Trumpets from Vienna who will play classical and film music; the wacky and superb revival of Flanders and Swann musical hall songs "Drop Another Hat" by Michael Bernstein & Colin Stevens. And there' are the Gala opening night, free lunch time and family concerts, popular Proms promenades, walks for active culture vultures, and much more over Proms week.

On, June 17th Henrietta Barnett Day (no relation to your arty writer) and National Hospice Day there will be a strawberry cream tea at 3pm with musical entertainment with all proceeds going to the North London Hospice. As one of the very noble aims of the Proms is to raise money for good causes, last year the event distributed £38,000 to charitable organizations.

This musical extravaganza with its exceptionally high quality performances, can guarantee there will be definitely be something harmonious for everybody. This is one proms season that has got deep soul roots and a spirit in the sky!

Proms at St Jude's June 11th-19th 2005

To book tickets please call the box office: 020 8933 5365.

Website: www.stjudes.org.uk

St Judes, Central Square London NW11

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