Charmian Clift left London in 1954 with her husband and children to live on the Greek island of Kalymnos. The following year, they moved to Hydra where they were the forerunners of a bohemian artist community. Leonard Cohen stayed with them when he first visited the island.
Her vivid memoirs of this time have been beautifully reissued by Muswell Press with forwards by Polly Samson. In Samson’s 2020 novel, A Theatre for Dreamers, Charmian Clift is a central character.
Mermaid Singing and Peel Me a Lotus are personal and travel memoirs that feel as fresh and crisp as when they were written but also serve as time travel, back to a time before mass travel.
Inspired by one of the lines that the fictional Charmian said in A Theatre for Dreamers, Polly Samson wrote the lyrics to the song Yes, I Have Ghosts, sung here by her husband, Pink Floyd vocalist and guitarist David Gilmour and their daughter Romany Gilmour.