Chris Petit on J. G. Ballard

Filmmaker and novelist on one of his key influences, writer J. G. Ballard
J.G. Ballard and Gabrielle Drake in ‘Crash!’ (1971; dir. Harley Cokliss).
'For Ballard, the key image of the last century was that of a man driving alone down a superhighway.'

The tributes just keep coming. Writer and critic Chris Petit has reflected on the passing of J. G. Ballard, who died earlier this week after a long illness. Petit is best known to me for his late-70s existential road movie Radio On, a downbeat black-and-white masterpiece about 'a man driving alone down a superhighway.' Petit's film is an excellent example of the Ballardian mood that pervades certain elements of British culture.

Incidentally, this isn't the first time the influence of Ballard has been felt in Petit's work. Iain Sinclair's Crash (BFI) draws a number of aesthetic parallels between Ballard and Petit. Chris Petit's debut novel, Robinson, even begins with a quotation from Ballard, taken from his autobiographical sequel to Empire of the Sun: The Kindness of Women. The quote reads: 'Deep assignments run through all our lives; there are no coincidences.'

You can read Petit's article, published in Granta, by clicking here.