Personal Delivery

Quartet Books


David? Actually, this book is not about David Bowie, it’s about the art I came across while haunting the galleries of London in the mid-90s. But Bowie did review the book on BowieNet, and in that he concludes:

'This is a superb little book on how and why artists think the way they do. It's about the process of assimilation, contemplation and, finally, expression, that we all do in some form or another. An excellent book. A call to arms for those who have been cowered by the cult of anti-intellectualism. I mean: "finkin 'an 'at".'

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Back cover blurb:

'Duncan McLaren - gallery visitor, fiction writer, pizza delivery boy. He never/always compromises. In
Personal Delivery he adds his own garnish to the deluxe pizza of contemporary art. Baked for eighteen months, 10-12 minutes and one terrifying second in the author' skid-lid, at temperatures ranging from red hot to cool black, this book is a taste sensation - both an avant garde concoction and a classical feast laden with bonnes bouches.'

'Looking at the work of a variety of artists, from the internationally acclaimed to those fresh out of art school, McLaren teases out the underlying ideas, often letting events in his own life - relations with the artist Jo Bennett and his experience as a writer - throw light on his concerns.

'His uninhibited and imaginative responses go far beyond academic or critical. Filled with lucid images, deadpan humour and challenging perspectives,
Personal Delivery entices you into a thriving, humane, multifarious world.'

Press quotes:

‘Proving you don’t need formal training to appreciate the torrent of British creative vitality, McLaren dissects the work of prominent artists like Tracey Emin and Cornelia Parker, as well as visiting unknown students at Chelsea Art College. A brilliant riposte to the usual elitist art critique.’

'Rather than simply critique their work, McLaren is more interested in what inspired the artists to exorcise themselves through that art, going one step further by relating what he has seen in the exhibition to his day-to-day life.'
Guest List

'There is something terribly endearing about this book. It is so unstructured, so deliberately under-edited, so very work-in-progress that we’re able to sympathise with McLaren through his travails and cringe and feel for him through the awkwardness of his prose. Undoubtedly McLaren is intending his novel to be in itself a work of conceptual art.'
The Herald

'When it came to handing out rations of nerve and verve, Duncan McLaren was not short-changed.'
The List


Personal Delivery, which was bravely published by Jeremy Beale at Quartet, didn't sell many copies, but it did lead to a column in The Independent on Sunday and the opportunity for me to write features for art magazines.

In Jeremy's opinion this book has aged well and
can be bought here.