Philip Booth

Philip Booth is a pianist and composer, and music critic for the Hereford Times.


Philip Booth, 20 July 1995

Nowadays it’s possible to make a career exclusively within gay journalism. Roger Baker, however, was a journalist of wide-ranging interests whose careful think-pieces were a strong feature of Gay News in the mid-Seventies, but who was just as comfortable writing for the Times. His books include studies of those gay icons Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe, but he also published works on exorcism and Israel. Sometimes his work wore trousers, sometimes a frock.


Philip Booth, 30 December 1982

The husband-and-wife team of Hans Keller and Milein Cosman looks at Stravinsky in his later years from two very different points of view: on the one hand, that of the rational music critic and analyst; on the other, that of the subjective visual artist. Milein Cosman’s vigorous sketches, made during the composer’s visits to London between 1958 and 1965, occupy over half the book. Although there are more sketches than seems necessary, they capture marvellously the hunched, almost repressed posture characteristic of the composer (even as a younger man), and thus lend support to some of Keller’s psychological hypotheses. This physical attitude is all the more noticeable for its juxtaposition here with the crisp, refined figure of Jean Cocteau, a contrast which justifies Cocteau’s inclusion amongst the sketches far more compellingly than Cosman’s practical explanation that he was involved in a performance of Oedipus Rex. There is one eloquent and highly economical sketch in which Cocteau’s disdain for the chair on which he is sitting seems to reach beyond the physically possible. Alas, there is nothing quite so telling among the sketches of Stravinsky himself.



30 December 1982

Philip Booth writes: I must apologise to Hans Keller for taking the name of functional analysis in vain. Perhaps he would care to point out further examples of the misinformation which he claims I have dispensed throughout my review. At the same time he could clarify for us exactly what Stravinsky believed him to be ‘absolutely right’ about; or was the composer merely indulging in a further display...

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