SHOREDITCH: BOOK TALK – FACTUAL NONSENSE – THE ART AND DEATH OF JOSHUA COMPSTON

For Joshua Compston life was a special kind of nonsense, Factual Nonsense.

Seen by some as the romantic martyr of his generation and, by others, as a prankster, sending up the art establishment, in this book we witness Joshua’s struggles and uncover the webs of truth and illusion.

Factual Nonsense is both a biography and an alternative portrait of the 1990s art scene in London’s East End. It is also a guide to how to live fast and die young in the contemporary art world; Joshua Compston made Hoxton hip and put the sex into Shoreditch, whilst helping to give rise to the coolest and fastest selling piece of real estate in the UK.

Joshua was a mass of contradictions; he bridged two different worlds, the son of a Judge, before his demise he had been stockpiling dynamite to blow up the artworks he detested. He was the most social of people, and at the height of his infamy he became the point where art, entertainment and real estate met. Joshua knew everyone worth knowing in the London art world and now the people who knew him best tell his remarkable story to Darren Coffield.

Darren Coffield has blended the voices of Joshua’s lovers, haters, acquaintances and colleagues into a captivating narrative. Here we see the entire span of Joshua’s life from his suburban childhood and his early days at college; his first success bringing contemporary art to the Courtauld Institute: his highly active love of danger, the mould breaking excitement of his events such as A Fete Worse than Death; his pivotal role in the regeneration of Hoxton and Shoreditch as a thriving cultural area; and his final days of rejection and isolation. All his favourite friends and enemies are here: Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Jay Jopling, Sarah Lucas, Maureen Paley, Gavin Turk, Sam Taylor-Wood and many others.

Full of captivating stories, startlingly intimate and altogether fascinating this is the most entertaining account of Joshua Compston’s life yet.