From the Daily Telegraph's "Critic's Choice" page, 13 July 1991. JG Ballard appears in the "My Choice" slot, explaining what he'd recently been digging by way of art, books, film, etc.
The novelist J G Ballard
I was appalled by the exterior of the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery. It's the sort of kitsch exhibition architecture that belongs in Disneyland. I suppose we have the Prince of Wales to thank for it.
It has a really odd mixture of styles - Egyptian columns, classical motifs and what looks like a heavy goods entrance. One side resembles the back of an Odeon, and the half-hearted greenhouse on the roof spoils the skyline. People say the interior is rather better, but then Venturi has had a little help from Leonardo and Raphael.
I never go to the theatre, which I find too stagey, but I do watch a lot of videos. I enjoyed Stephen Frears's "The Grifters". I've been urging him for years to give up making My Beautiful Launderettes and make hard-edged tough thrillers in Hollywood. Now he's done so, I hope he stays there and makes many more.
On TV, I enjoyed "G.B.H.", which I see as a lunatic farce rather than a newsreel documentary about Liverpool politics. But if Liverpool is really like that, it's not surprising the population has halved in the last 10 years.
I also enjoyed Muriel Gray's series "Art is Dead ... Long Live TV!", which I thought was a brilliant set of spoofs, especially the one about the man who shoots films from inside his fridge.
I don't read fiction, but one book I'm really enjoying at the moment is Hugh Johnson's "The Story of Wine". It makes the point that the history of wine is the history of civilisation. There was also another good book that my girlfriend lent me, but I can't remember its name. Maybe I've been drinking too much wine.
I also enjoyed "Collected Letters of Toulouse Lautrec". They tell of his struggle against an inherited bone disease which turned him into a sort of dwarf. In the film "Moulin Rouge", José Ferrer played him by walking on his knees, though I don't suppose he was quite like that.
Interview by James Delingpole