Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War

Le peintre Rene Magritte (1898-1967) et sa femme Georgette Berger vers 1922
Le peintre Rene Magritte (1898-1967) et sa femme Georgette Berger vers 1922

Today, after a calm time visiting my folks, I spiralled into a sarlacc pit of worrying about money, worrying about work, worrying about my label, worrying that I’m not doing enough, worrying that I’m doing too much, worrying about my weight, worrying about the fasting I’ve been doing, worrying about worrying, worrying that I’m not worrying enough.

It’s the kind of worrying that, if my ex was still here, I know she could take away with one hug and a few words of her calm, Vulcan-like reason. I miss her so terribly at these times, in a very child-like way. I feel like when I was little and I’d lose my Mum in a shop and all I could do was wail and perhaps have a sit down, hoping she’d come to find me. Which my Mum always did, of course.

To be so deeply in love with someone so many years after you last saw their face is raising idiocy to an entirely new artform. The Dadaists, the Surrealists, the Situationists… these people may have laid the foundations but I’m building the ugly, stupid skyscraper. The higher it gets, the more I’m likely to jump.

So, I was crying anyway so I figured, what the fuck, I might as well listen to a song which always makes me cry, Paul Simon’s Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War. 

Here’s the version I first heard, decades ago:

I listen to this song and it reminds me of living Paris in the ‘30s and Norwich in the ‘70s. I remember falling in love with her two times, at least. I get confused, though ~ we didn’t start speaking again till 1940 but I remember it as being 1994. I guess they can be both since science has proved time doesn’t exist. It’s all now, there is no past or future. Remember, if you’re a photon the lifetime of the universe is shorter than the snap of your fingers as you remember what you forgot.


Those early days, burning CDRs of my music and packing the little jiffy bags together, she’d do the artwork because I’m rubbish at that. Well, apart from the Picassos and Braques I faked to make a living, obviously. Hell, art is printing money. Which is also good.

So, we put on the envelopes: ‘Features the international number 1? and, in some bizarre MWI quantum shit way, it did. Just like when I said this isn’t a pipe and she asked if I meant because it’s a painting of a pipe and then that escalated into that whole argument about Panjabi MC. I remember the tears streaming down her face, how unfixable it all was. But we fixed it because we were young then. The cover had a hand with a wedding ring on it. We got married later that year, 1997 or perhaps 1922.

We moved so much when we finally had money, packing all our things in the car and driving like idiots. Anywhere is glamorous when you’re young and in love. Could be Lessines, could be Derby, could be Hellesdon, it doesn’t matter. I can’t paint but I painted all those pictures for her. The bears, the fish, the clouds, the birdcage, the butterflies.


I guess the song reminds me of the bands that inspired me, the deep forbidden music of my youth in 1950s America and 1920s Belgium and 1970s Britain: The Penguins, The Moonglows, Telex, Kraftwerk.

Like I said, I get confused. The war, New York, Pitlochrie, going round her father’s house after he died, so empty of life and love, the place she was born.

So I worked the song out. It was easier using this version:

We never had a dog, though. And the picture that Wolleh took, that was very obviously of us after the war, look how old we are. But we’re together.

I wish we still were. Maybe we should have bought a dog?