Jimmy Schwartz- mystic vibrations   RIP
Jimmy Schwartz- mystic vibrations RIP

When I was growing up in Blackpool there was a mystical figure that floated through our lives.

Jimmy Schwartz, who just died, was a real artist, a contemporary and beatnik friend of Roy Harper (he painted an album cover for him) who would live in a world full of whispers. He had been in london with the Floyd, he knew Syd Barrett, he knew all the heads and yet he was still lived here in Blackpool- and boy could he paint and draw. He was a poet and a mystic and was in touch with the moon and the stars and the sun.

Now and then you would see one of his paintings and it was full of life in a way that only great painters can breathe the life stuff into paint and brushes. A portrait here, a mural there, a given away abstract there- a true artist who lived for the moment and not for the awards.

one of my favourite paintings. The Jack Nicholson painting from Johnny Moran's house
one of my favourite paintings. The Jack Nicholson painting from Johnny Moran’s house

He was born, Jimmy Edgar, in 1939 and was a lot older than us but when we bumped into him occasionally when he ghosted down to earth he was on our level. We respected him because he had lived the life and he was art and he spoke to us as fellow artists.

He had moved to Blackpool from Northern Ireland. There had been some heavy stories and he had to get out. Blackpool was always full of people drifting through and he stayed, changing his name several times before sticking to Jimmy Schwartz, he was the king bohemian in a town of outsiders and he touched everyone who ever met him.

I hadn’t seen him for a long time until a couple of years ago. I was making a film on Blackpool beach and was sat on the new impressive concrete headland and this figure was suddenly sat beside me. I knew instantly who it was. We started chatting, the last time we had met was in the mid nineties when he came over from Blackpool to watch me do a talk about Scorcese’s Mean Streets. It’s like he had appeared from nowhere to catch up. we chatted for an hour and then he suddenly disappeared again. He was already a ghost who had coloured the world in, an outsider spirit who was the mystical backdrop to generations of Blackpool artists and musicians…

This ones for you Jimmy- a true art spirit…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.

10 COMMENTS

  1. God rest ye sarcastic and not-so-merry gentleman!!! Jimmy was Geronimo on many occasions, a top drinker and a person you needed to see when the shit was flying in from all directions. Always an outsider, often harsh and vitriolic, we need more people with his attitude in the soft society we have become. I raise my titfer and say banish the bullshit, for sure as hell keeps on burnin’, James did…

  2. Hi John,

    Jimmy told me about you and that you’d bumped into each other. He spoke of you in the warmest tones, and wanted me to contact you. I didn’t think it would happen this way.

    Thanks for your beautiful words. It’s as though you’ve portrayed him, and your friendship, perfectly – Japanese-style, with a few strokes of the brush. And he lives.

    Warm regards,
    Gwen

  3. Jimmy was a great Artist indeed he painted the walls in my swimming pool of beaches and palm trees what a wonderful talent R.I.P.

    • Hi, Jimmy did a great portrait of my dad Kevin Chappell…It hangs so I see him as the happy chap he was…thanks Jimmy.
      Mark

  4. your wors /epitaph,to the late and much missed Jimmie Schwartz(Edgar) have touched something deep inside of me! Thankyou i hung out with Jimmie(actually,his REAL surname,was..Docherty) ,from roughly 1975 til almost before we lost him, i never ever met anyone like him,.nor,ever will,he could tell a Story ,on ANY subject,and keep you totally engrossed in chatter with him,he could ‘read peoples minds'(i saw him,do this ,many times) he painted extraordinary Paintings,galore,which became his Livelihood,and,initially we made friends because of my love foe a certain roy HARPER’s songs(many times we would travel ,together,to his Concerts eventually ,through Jimmie (i knew him as Edgar,) i became a genuine friend with Roy,and jimmie always said no-one was into roy’s songs more than He and myself! we went on country walks,(cider driven) hung out all over thre Blackpool Ale houses,and Jimmie said that i had become his only lasting Friend(which very much moved me) He died,(alone),alas ,from a bad leg wound(gout) and a heart condition Nobodt attended his Cremation service ,as it was rushed through very quickly(no near Relatives etc).He had a beautiful beautiful Soul,a vicious temper(the booze),anda depth of Intelligence i never knew in another Humanbeing,before ,or since.i wish i could at least have been there for his ‘Funeral ‘service,but,alas,always the Loner,even that he Solo! Goodbye ,Jimmie Scwartz/Edgar, you were much much LOVEd,by myself,ans so many others you touched,along the way.i know Roy has said their Bond was extra deep,i miss the Man..Au revoir,for now!! x

  5. Rest in peace my old friend I will love and miss you always like other great artist you have been called to
    To God’s mansion no doubt to work on another great painting.
    Fly high my old friend we will meet again.

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