Monday, April 30, 2007

Attack By Kelvin MacKenzie

Kelvin MacKenzie and a seductive female teacher are on the verge of trying to kill me and my female counterpart. The woman is so good at concealing her violent nature, that there is no chance for us to kick her. Mackenzie is leaving the building but he wants to get us both first. He has already had a heart attack so we thought he was about to die but no he picks himself up and his renewed assault becomes more deadly. Now he is spraying me with poisonous purple car paint. So much hate and stupidity. I will have to escape into the dark forest outside.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cold Water Geysers

We are standing along a narrow ridge just covered by the sea somewhere in Ireland. Small eruptions like temporary geysers appear close to us in the water. They are miniature volcanoes we are told - we are at the top of Everest and this happens for five minutes each day. I realise that one of our group is missing. Nobody has seen R since yesterday. Should we phone home and tell his mother we have lost him?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Gandalf's Garden Lighting

In a stuffy museum looking at the work of the garden designer Gandalf, recently played by Leonardo di Caprio in a film. Gandalf was particularly famous for his colourful lighting. Penny is very curious as she says they used to have an Australian tent at school designed by him. The garden we are looking is lit in oranges and greens - very 50's.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cartoon Pears

Hardly remember anything. I know there was some kind of adventure, but all I am left with are two cards with cartoon characters of pears.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Family Sculpture Workshop

My family are making commemorative sculptures for a still-born child from history. Most of us have worked on tiny clay heads on the end of ornate hairpins. Mine hasn't turned out very well, it's a bit flippant. I dust it with talcum powder as a kind of "slacker" Brit Art gesture. It is ignored because Monica has come up with these great little finger chopines (- those strange Venetian platform shoes worn in the 17th century) - they really look like legs walking along a busy street.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Research For Lecture

I am preparing to give a talk on someone like Samuel Palmer or Thomas Bewick. I have a number of female assistants who are going to compress each image for me. I need to do some research. The main thing I know is that he used to take a long time to produce his theatre sets which eventually got him into trouble. Luckily I have plenty of time to read his biography. I am encouraged when three young children tell me they loved the book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Sticky Windball

A storm rumbles in the distance. A giant windball is picking up all kinds of things. "If you want to, you can add something sticky," a Japanese friend tells me, "although by the time it reaches us it will probably have calmed down because not enough people will glue things to it."
I am keen to see it and want to attach a sticky bun. "The windball will eventually divide into new ones like rivulets from a river," my friend says.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Distorted News

B is on the phone. "Listen," she says, "Something terrible has happened."
She can barely speak and I can hardly hear her. "America has attacked Japan!"
"No that's nonsense," I say, "Why would they? Surely Bush wouldn't be that mad."
"Yes yes my sister heard it on Sky news."
We hang up - eventually I hear a report on the radio about an unscrupulous journalist cooking up the story out of nothing. What had actually happened was an American tourist had made a complaint about the lack of hygiene on a Japanese plane.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Labour Of Love

I am touched that Mum has spent so much time knitting me a cardigan. I put it on. It has a high collar, ridiculously wide shoulders and leg of mutton sleeves. On the outside it is scrambled egg yellow (my favourite colour I tell her), inside is a separate wool lining in greys and pastel shades. It is huge and misshapen. I'll never be able to wear it. I try it on inside out discovering that I am already wearing a waistcoat, two beige cardigans and a scarlet sequinned shirt, so it looks even bulkier when I remove all those.
"It's great, Mum," I say, "a perfect fit."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Skin Show

Neil's "Skin Show" is advertised on a stylish linocut poster. Although I had nothing to do with this work I am very touched to read in the credits "Robin Whitmore Thanks His Mum".
The show begins. A line of young women walk in along a catwalk. They are not professional models but are conventionally attractive, all from very different class backgrounds. They kneel down in front of us and on their hands and knees, their heads almost upside down, they eat single lettuce leaves from plates on the floor.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Brief Visit To Venice

I am in Venice (in Spain) for three days with C. He stays outside in the hills but I am keen to visit the galleries. The pictures I look at are gorgeous: sparkling mosaics of religious scenes dripping with blood and set against refined architectural detail. C will be mad to have missed this stuff.
I am upset when I somehow realise that I am only looking at reproductions in artbooks and that I do not actually have the time to see the work in the flesh.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Great Thames Swim

A group of us are swimming a long distance race down the Thames. I am near the front. A rope to our right guides us forwards. After a few hours it leads us out of the river into a house, through holes in walls to a bedroom where Hazel and I take a rest. When I start up again I can just make out an old metal fire escape under the surface of the water. I am expected to leap down onto it but instead I lower myself gingerly. The great swim continues.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Andy Warhol Moves In

Andy Warhol and a friend are down on their luck. They have both moved into a room in my flat. A large vat of candlewax has been left to burn in my hall. When I come home it has exploded leaving the place caked in mud and wax. I can tell things are not going to improve despite the friend insisting Andy will start earning money again very soon. I doubt it and give them until the weekend to leave.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Innocent And The Guilty

20 years ago a man was jailed for a brutal murder and then beaten to death by the investigating police. We all assumed the man's guilt and although we did not condone the police violence we seemed to enjoy it at the time. Now questions are being asked. A journalist smuggles herself into jail as a washerwoman to uncover the truth. Another man becomes an undercover prisoner for 10 years.
Meanwhile the prison guards carry out random searches. Everybody runs away in panic.
It is impossible to distinguish the innocent from the guilty. Maybe the players have forgotten themselves.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Breathing Confusion

We have been warned that a young autistic man in our care has started approaching total strangers in an excessively intimate manner. He believes he has to snog people on the mouth to get his air. I greet him warily when he arrives.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dirty Joke

Chris winks lewdly as she tells the old Mae West joke about a Russian spy who shows a map revealing the whereabouts of some important documents. The spy was half blind. The map was actually a pornographic photograph of a man's penis.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Emergency Measure

Like a line of birds we are perched up high on a wall along a small ridge. There is a long desktop shelf in front of us. To get down we need to break the emergency seals on some coloured thermometers. One good looking young man has them all but is not keen to surrender any. I lean against his body perhaps too heavily for his comfort and break into them. They can serve no purpose here otherwise.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cheeky Man

It's breakfast time. Nic and I are in a sweet shop in France. He picks up one of the expensive chocolates from the counter and bites into it. I am expecting him to pay for it but instead he blatantly replaces it in full gaze of the shop assistant.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Taken Out Of My Hands

I am alarmed to find my garden transformed into rows of raised beds built out of brick and slate. Wild seashore plants have been set in the soil, the kind of plants that Derek Jarman would find for his garden in Dungeness. Tony tells me that our new neighbour Steve had apparently decided to dig it over. He had no right to. So is this how it is going to be from now on?
When I wake I have a strong sense that this situation is familiar and strangely invigorating.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Drawing Envy

I kept very tightly to the brief and have produced a dull series of drawings. Another artist shows his work: drawings from his bus journeys. The fine detail of the first images starts to dissolve and becomes an animated stream of consciousness. Lines in ink grow into fragments of paper and plastic chugging through a model of a warehouse. Everything is alive. "I began working to the brief but it just took off of its own accord," he explains. I can't believe how much work he has created. It's almost too much, too abstract.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kilted Desks

Upstairs at the Tate is an old primary school with cleverly designed furniture. In one class all the tabletops have ring plates for cooking. In the infants' room all the desks have neat little leather kilts to keep the childrens' legs warm.
Where did all this old fashioned good design disappear to?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mysterious Wooden Box

I find an old wooden chest which has been passed down through generations of my family. It has secret compartments. Most of it is empty but I am sure there must be something of value deep inside. Eventually I unlock the middle section and pull out a drawer of letter printing blocks.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Visiting Gran

After 20 odd years I have turned up at Gran's house. She looks just as I remember her. Dressed in her white bowling uniform she stands in the doorway at the end of a long pale pink corridor. She seems worried. "I've been waiting for you for ages. I might need you to help with some shopping but we can get that tomorrow." I don't like to say that I have only come round for a few hours.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Flying Carpet Ride

I am at the Dokumentar in Germany. Have been showing interest in one interactive art event and it is now my turn to participate. A woman leads me up a long corridor and sits me down. "It didn't happen right last time," she warns me, "Don't worry though."
Immediately I start to worry but I have no need. I am suddenly whisked off at high speed as if I am on a flying carpet, red stars sparkling underneath me. The ride is probably only 50 metres long, through an impossibly crowded passageway. I land totally exhilarated. Everyone looks at me as if I have done something amazing.
I explain - I've done this once before - years ago in exactly the same spot.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Meeting Of The Grandmothers

I am sitting in a crowded hall with my two grandmothers on either side of me. Except grandma is half Kev's grandma. They would be in their early hundreds if they were alive today. I introduce them to each other and have to stop myself from speaking for each of them as their reactions are very slow. They are of course more than capable and have a very spirited conversation discussing Ivy, gran's cousin who died a few years ago.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Magpie Echoes My Apologies

Standing in a large circle I apologise to the rest of the group for the amount of time it has taken to get this project up and running. As I speak a 4 month old Jack copies my words. I am excited by his new skill and want to show everyone. The baby I am cradling in my arms is now a sleek magpie.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Doomed Lecture

Have arrived early in the morning to give an illustrated talk on my work. An enthusiastic crowd is gathering asking daft questions like Where do you plug in your camera ? (In the computer, I reply.) Gasp of admiration. They should be an easy audience.
"I 'll just get the video tape and then we can begin," I say.
I rummage through the contents of my suitcase - loads of weird things inside: bundles of electrical components, a small black book, and a plastic superman bound up in sellotape. But of course NO tape. I have nothing to show.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Neglected Pot Plants

We have been clearing out our cupboard at work and it was agreed (not by me) to scrap the three big plants. No-one cares about them. I am upset - I don't like the idea of chucking them out as they are not in that bad a state. Unfortunately I have never contributed to looking after them so am not in a position to argue.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ground Force Onslaught

I look out on my garden to see builders concreting it over. I am furious and scream at them to stop what they are doing. One young lad says ,"Don't worry about it mate, you'll be able to put your pots and flamingos and things all over it. It'll look great."
In exasperation I seek out the foreman who is up to his ears organising the lunches for his workforce which is now made up of primary schoolboys .

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thatcher's Talk Falls On Deaf Ears

Margaret Thatcher is giving a lecture on stocks and shares in an art school studio. There are only two female students in the room, the rest of the group has chosen to get on with their painting. One of the girls says she is not interested in making money, she wants to go to help people in Chad or Sudan. I admire her foolhardy courage. Thatcher - now the Queen - gives her a kiss on the side of her face.
Do you think there will be a revolution when she dies? someone asks.