Saturday, May 19, 2012

Patricia Highsmith - Literary Cat

Here’s a great picture of cool American writer Patricia Highsmith posing in front of the animal wall at Cardiff Castle in 1989. I wonder if there is any significance in her choosing the leopard? She was certainly an animal lover and famously said that she preferred their company to that of people. She even kept snails. An alcoholic, a lesbian and all round misanthrope she was often described as being “difficult”. In later life she developed an osteoporotic hump.

Why was she in Cardiff? Not sure. I know that some of her stories were filmed in the area during '89 so perhaps that is the reason. One of the stars of the televised series was Anthony Perkins. He got busted for sending himself cannabis through the post while staying at the Angel Hotel. I’ve mentioned his ill-fated stay in the city here.

Every Cardiffian has a favourite creature on the animal wall (mine's the anteater) but I think the leopard has now acquired extra hipster points. Anyway, next time you are in the vicinity of Cardiff Castle why not pay homage to one of the true bad ladies of literature by standing in front of the animal wall looking a bit grumpy.

*Photo ©Micheline Pelletier/Sygma/Corbis