A bittersweet memoir by Peter McGough of his life with artist David McDermott. Set in New York’s Lower East Side of the 1980s and mid-1990s, it is also a devastatingly candid look at the extreme naiveté and dysfunction that would destroy both their lives.
In his new memoir...McGough provides a warm and witty account of his exploits with McDermott, recalling a conspiratorial atmosphere of profligate recklessness ... McGough reminds us that friendship, frivolity, and romance are magical, transporting, and lifesaving endeavors—even if, at the same time, they can drive you crazy or make you go broke. Meeting anyone at all is miraculous, but what I still have trouble believing, even though I’ve just read all about how it happened, is that these two visionaries met in a theater and decided to devote the long haul of their lives to a wildly unique and total experience of difficult art, even as they and their friends lay dying in sickbeds ... AIDS is the only truly evil villain in the book, making the rest of the cast of shallows appear only disappointing or confused in comparison, mere inconveniences in an otherwise beautifully complex life story.
McGough’s memoir is frustrating in some ways, leaving a lot said between the lines in his memoir, especially the disastrous relationship with Bastian. Meanwhile, he writes a clear-eyed portrait of the realities of the arts scene of the era. And McGough’s candid account of trying to survive AIDS, poverty, and lost love and still create art despite all odds is a moving self-portrait.
In his candid debut memoir, the author vividly conveys the turbulence and seediness of the 'dirty and dangerous' West Village and of Times Square ... Bitterness and anger sometimes surface as the author recounts betrayal, severe financial hardship brought about by McDermott’s wanton spending, and years of suffering from AIDS. An intimate portrait of personal struggles and artistic triumphs.