‘Famous lor Fifteen Minutes’ Ultra Violet (Methuen, £12.99).

Despite the flurry oi Andy Warhol books clogging up the shelves at the moment, there's no point in accusing anyone oi cashing in. Alter all, the artist screenprinted his hugely iamous Marilyn Monroe portrait the day alter herdeath. ‘Timing is all,’ he said, a quote that appears in Ultra Violet's autobiography and could be used to iustlly its prompt appearance.

It's the sort oi book that makes me want to tell her, ‘I got one at the kids in the oiilce to read it ior me’, to maintain that true artistic detachment. Instead, I am lorced to admit I hadn’t been able to put it down. Even in the world oi an incurable socialite like Warhol, the cast ol characters in Ultra Violet’s tile is stellar.

Expelled lrom her convent school in Grenoble, Isabelle Dulresne's passion lor celebrity led her across the sea to cross paths with Howard Hughes, Nixon, Nureyev (he ‘lucks like a beast’), Duchamp, Mailer, and most signiiicanily Andy Warhol himselt, in whose underground movies she adopted her colourlul soubriquet and made her bid lor lame.

The story ol Warhol’s Factory, through Ultra Violet’s eyes, is a sinister


The Women's House Joan Lingard (Hamish Hamilton £1 1.95) An old woman dies and suddenly the all female household olShangri-la is thrown into confusion. The 'l‘onelli’s Italians. numerous and dubious— buy the large. ramshackle demesne with plans to turn it into a casino.

and depressing one. His ‘superstars' tended to be mislits ior whom lame was another drug (Isabelle was clean in that sense lame was her only drug), and whose mental and physical deterioration became the artist’s raw material. The question ol whether art is really worth the pain and the litter oi dead bodies is never resolved, though it’s always there.

The death oi the young and beautltul Edie Sedgwick- ‘ll she ODs we must get it on tllm,’ Warhol is reported as saying - seems to have been the . turning point. Ultra sutiered a physical and mental breakdown, and became Born Again.

‘The book at times was very painlul to put together,’ she says now, ‘but in a way it was a blessing. It’s very healing.’ Though she still considers Warhol ‘an artist on the level oi Picasso’ it’s hard tor her to reconcile that with a body count that may make those who blindly romanticlse the man in the silver wig think again.

‘I think that maybe a lot oi artists get away with murder in that-l give you a politician, and your ticket must be very clear: What are you ior, what are you against. An artist, you don’t ask that oi him. But I think the time has come, and this planet is too small, and there are too many world problems and local problems, and it seems to me nowadays that the politician, the scientist, the artist must unite, and they must have a purpose, or meaning. I think they all assume a tremendous responsibility, because people not only worship art, but they worship the people that make lt.’

ll Warhol was really as manipulative and uncaring as Ultra paints him, one can only conclude that they deserved each other, even by her own account oi her actions. Throughout her years with the Factory she watches as the needles plunge into collapsing veins and stands by as it happens. Even to Edie. She at least stops short ol heaping all the blame on Warhol, or complaining that she’d ielt used.

‘tlot so much at the time, otherwise I would have tell. I think it was a two way street, because he delivered iun and lame. Without him I don't know what I would have done. So we were there willingly, let’s lace it.’

Even now Ultra can’t shake him oil. She takes a day each week, she tells me, to teed some homeless in New York, as he used to, and makes her bid ior immortality with a snappy, slightly tamiliar aphorlsm: ‘I’m a stariorliiteen minutes, and Warhol is a star tor twice tilteen minutes.’ (Alastair Mabbott)

The three occupants. an elderly writer recently republished by Virago. a middle-aged mime artist and divorcee. and a teenage runaway and pizza waitress. are bitterly opposed to the takeover bid. The women stand their ground but the Tonelli's are neither as ruthless nor as straightforward as they first appear. With the forging of new.


who will be signing copies of his bestselling novel:


on Wednesday 12th July 1989 1.00 - 2.00pm.

at VOLUMES BOOKSTORE 63 Queen Street, Glasgow Telephone: 041 226 5762

63-65 Queen Street, Glasgow tel: 041-226-5762

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The List 30June— I3July 1989 61