The Backstreets of Purgatory

By Helen Taylor

Caravaggio in Glasgow: A Tale of Art, Insanity and Irn Bru

Tuesday, 8 November 2016


Yep, it’s true. I’ve got shed loads of supporters. Well over 250. Which if I’d written a book with, well, less words in it would mean that I would be funded by now. As it is, I wrote 130000 or so (had to quickly verify there that I hadn’t left my finger on the 0 for too long; 130 thousand is correct not 1 million three hundred thousand which might have been some kind of record but would have been an unfeasibly large book to fund and to fit through your letter box). 

The other magnificent news is that this week, I broke through the 60% funding mark. Whoohoo. Thanks to all of you, new pledgers and old, and for one exceptionally out of the ordinary pledge. There’s big love coming from here (just incase you can’t feel it).

And thanks to some inspirational ideas (not mine, naturally) I’ve got a plan for enticing those Caravaggio fans I was talking about last week. I’ve ditched the idea of beheading my husband and standing outside the National Gallery in costume because, to be honest, that wasn’t really working for me in the long term. Instead, when I go there in a couple of weeks time, I’m going to hand out my new flyers.

Do you know your Caravaggio from your Formaggio?

Now, we all know what you lot are like at competitions (except Maria). So there’s no chance you’ll get the answers to this lot. And anyhow, there’s no prize other than the satisfaction of knowing that you can tell Caravaggio from a piece of cheese. However, I thought I’d post them to see what you make of it. For me, the overwhelming problem is trying to read the very small print that I’ve used to cram all the info on an A6 flyer because I was too tight to pay for the next size up. If you are reading this on a mobile, you haven’t got a snowball’s…



Questions today. Answers in the next shed post.

Other things. I haven’t forgotten that I’ve still to do The ReliquiSHED Part 2. The rest of characters that didn’t make the final version. Part 1 is the story of Uma, Prof George and the squirrel and a really bad homemade video in which I grimace quite a lot.

Don't forget to spread the word about Backstreets if you are chatting to anyone who likes books. Some of you have already done an amazing job at telling family and friends. The more the word gets out there, the quicker the novel will be funded and you can all get your copies.

For those of you who are near Edinburgh or North Berwick, I’m doing a couple of reading events on Wednesday November 16th at 6pm Blackwell’s (ticketed but free from here) and on Friday 18th at Fidra Fine Art (flyer below). Let me know if you fancy that one because there aren’t many space left.

Finally, if you want to know a bit about the University Café (which features very briefly in Backstreets and is the highlight of the Backstreets Tour), check out the article on my website. Carlo, the owner, was brilliant when I interviewed him. Fortunately I had the phone on speaker and hit record on my computer because I couldn’t keep up with all the things that he was telling me. Lovely man. Lovely ice cream.


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Maria Huybens
 Maria Huybens says:

Hi Helen,
I saw the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition last week - fascinating, beautiful and enlightening. There's a lot to take in and many paintings (mostly by his followers) that I'd never previously seen, so I intend to go again.

I'd be happy to lend you a hand with the flyers if you're down over a weekend. It would be lovely to meet you :)

posted 11th November 2016

Helen Taylor
 Helen Taylor says:

Aargh, I didn't see this comment until just now, Maria. I'm so sorry. How frustrating. We don't get alerts for the shed post comments and I was so busy with my events that I forgot to check. Thank you for your kind offer. I would have definitely taken you up on it if I had seen this before now. I was there on Monday. Spent ages in front of The Taking of Christ and John the Baptist in the Wilderness, neither of which I had seen before. I chickened out of handing out flyers but left a pile for Laura Rorato who is speaking there next week. She is going to mention my novel. I'm SO excited. I'm going to write a bit more about this and the exhibition in my next shed post.
Apologies again for not responding sooner. Darn darn darn....

posted 24th November 2016

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