JG Ballard – a brief farewell

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Ballard was not quite unique but the company he kept is indicative of his stature. I don’t mean his connections with Alldis, Moorcock or Sinclair but rather his almost unique quality of adjectivisation: Shakespeare begat Shakespearean, Swift begat Swiftian, Dickens begat Dickensian (oh those awful Xmas Fayres!) and, in their company, our protagonist begat Ballardian. There can hardly be any greater accolade for a writer even if this was thrust upon a modest man who would probably have hated it, however richly it may be deserved. I say this not because I use the term myself to describe the dystopian psychogeographies to which he refers so often but because any writer who achieves the consistency of vision that he did deserves recognition and accolade. The difference between most of them and Ballard is that the adjective is, ultimately, his and his alone.

I never met him and that makes me terribly sad because, throughout his work runs an almost hidden theme of the unexpected impact that sound has upon us and that, in another sense, has been an obsession of mine since my teens. Coincidentally or not, that’s round about when I first read Ballard and, consciously or not, I suspect, he has influenced much of what I’ve gone on to do subseqently.

So thank you James (or is it Jimmy?) from one of the many whose lives and thoughts were touched by your work.