Be a little less esoteric


Be a little less esoteric was the advice my brother gave me this week.  In fact he went further and suggested that I do something, write about it, and say what happened.  To add weight, he said ‘as an English teacher’ and I was nothing if not a teachers pet at school.

I was in my studio for a very short time between two activities last wednesday.  The first was an art group I run in the middle of an active elders day centre.  After that I was meeting a friend at half five.  I was really looking forward to this because we always get into deep arty conversations, drink improbable amounts but slowly and with food and water so I never notice, and he doesn’t seem to mind that I have a rant or two about the state of the world because he does too.

1.25pm I get to my studio – it’s very tidy at the moment, which I like and there’s a large blank wall that I spread fabriano paper over and draw.  There’s something very homey about it as well by the introduction of this long coffee table that never made it to the new flat.  It’s a pretty hideous affair shaped a bit like a viking boat, which made it useless for you to rest your feet against.  Surely the primary function of a coffee table?  I was clutching a burger king bag which was going to turn out to be very dissapointing but first …

1pm I finished work quite late and because I couldn’t bear to squash myself on the 25, and I had a travel card, I jumped on the tube to stratford.  My plan was to buy something decent to eat for lunch which would stop me needing to buy expensive pub food later but after desultory examinations of the fridge in Sainsburys I opted for a burger.   I brought the ‘have it your own way’ angus and cheese burger which means pay for food but don’t get it.  I kinda want to ask for the bacon to be dropped in my bag but I didn’t.

1.35 it’s a sign that I’m not going to get much done when I’ve spent more time thinking about what I’m going to eat rather than the work that I intend to do.  It means that I’m going to spend the first half hour with a book propped up on my knees and a burger, lacking bacon and cheese – at this point what can you do, and drinking coke.

1.55 I’m trying to figure out a way to describe the weight and physical volume of fabric.  I don’t want to recreate the clothing itself but it’s more about the act of being submerged by the subsequent layers as a performance.  The fabric in question is ermine, velvet and gold edge honiton lace and for a while I got quite excited by the possibilities of using that brown sticky wax paper.  This excitement was very short lived.

3.55 Solved an issue in the hall.  On my way back from the toilet the guy opposite had one of those heroic manly canvases parked in the hall next to little domestic scales.  Apparently the gallery he’s sending this to wanted an indication of the weight.   After a little thought I suggested he weighed the equivalent quantities of canvas and wood as the paint itself would be negligible. How revealing is that?

4.10 Playing around some more in the studio.  I’m now in serious counting time territory and except one good song after the news I’m now talking to myself to drown out the drivel.  I’m never certain why I listen to music while I work because when I’m involved I never hear it and when I’m not it just sits there annoying me.

4.30 The guy is in his studio working feverishly hard as I walk by in my coat.  I’m quash the guilty pangs by realising that I can always talk about my paper fur in the pub which is sort of like working.