Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Last night The Cat's Mother asked what I was doing seventeen years ago. I had to think before I answered.

Today is The Boy's 17th birthday.

This morning I felt I was the luckiest person in the world when, as I crossed the street, I pulled out the money to pay for my coffee and managed to let three £20 notes flutter off towards an open drain cover. Miraculously, none of them went down the hole. So I ended up paying £2.50, not £62.50!

On Friday night we went off to Tate Modern to get a guided tour of Damien Hirst's first retrospective. Actually I arrived an hour early and used the time to buy myself (yet another) Anish Kapoor book...he's been my favourite artist for a couple of decades now...and a coffee in the Members Room. All very relaxing. Which was good because the guide was somewhat manic. But thank heavens we had him. Otherwise we'd have just been looking at flies feasting on dead meat, a giant ashtray, a shark, some sheep and cows cut in half and some butterflies pinned to a wall. Because we had the guide we were able to realise that wasn't what we saw; instead we were looking at a commentary on the fragility of life. Evidently you're supposed to look at the famous shark head on and ponder on the thought that you are being at the same time confronted by certain death whilst realising that it is the shark that is dead, rather than you who will be...The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. I quite enjoyed it, as did we all, but there was certainly a feeling as we left the gallery that Mr Hirst is a smart showman who would have made a fortune whatever he turned his hand to. And let's hand it to him, he did shake up the British art world and made a fortune whilst doing it...although the souvenir shop is yet to sell any of his limited edition £36,000 skulls they're offering the gullible. I like his concepts...but really the execution is hardly artistic.

More modern art on Saturday with a fleeting visit to Gilbert and George at the White Cube Gallery. A series of pictures which bring together in categories headlines from the Evening Standard from the last several years. Very nice. It kept us interested for at least ten minutes.

We then headed to a new production of Educating Rita starring the unfortunate Matthew Kelly and ex-Brookie Claire Sweeney. We felt an affinity to dear Claire as one of our friends was dating her for a while, and couldn't help but mention that he was helping her learn her lines. Anyway, she was a shrill Scouser from beginning to end, and probably not as responsible as Mr Kelly for sending six of the eight of us to sleep during the first half. Sadly, he wasn't up to the part...merely repeating his lines without much sign of emotion or commitment. He was hindered too by some poor staging plus being required to change his cardigan every scene to demonstrate the passing of time. There were a lot of scenes. Plus, the truth is that the themes are quite dated, so it's quite difficult to empathise with the play. I didn't much like the concept and the execution struggled with its artistry See the film with Michael Caine, you'll enjoy it much more.

Yesterday I was at The Tribunal. The other side wanted to do a deal. And I let them. My natural state is confrontational, so I thought it would do me well to enjoy the process of negotiation. Their barrister was a delightful fellow. Oddly he seemed to be on my side...which I guess is their art. Anyway I got everything I asked for, which I suspect means that I've been gently shafted from behind without me realising it.

P.S. if anyone can tell me why all my most recent posts have that strange formatting...with the white background halfway down, please let me know...and more importantly let me know how to fix it!