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Friday, July 10, 2009

Time to think


Happiness is being asked for something in the kitchen and not only knowing where it is, but also being able to find it without moving boxes.

This means of course that we are getting there. Wherever there is: some fabled country where people live in their homes without having to construct something at every moment; where they can move from room to room without having to thread their way through a potentially lethal box walled pathway; without fearing that every foot tread is going to destroy something which cost a substantial sum of money to place in your way. At the moment it is still a dream – but it is a dream which is partially fulfilled on the first floor of the house.

The living room and the kitchen are now reasonably presentable. They lack finishing touches and the chaos carefully hidden behind doors is work for the future – but here and now they are places which will excite interest rather than repulsion.

The same cannot be said for the rest of the house with the third floor being a place of horror – but with a view of the sea!

Toni is now a great deal more tranquil as (unfortunately from my point of view) he has managed to make the bloody television work. This also means that his mother will now contemplate being our first guest. She departed with the rest of the family earlier in the week vowing she would stay nowhere where she was unable to watch her favourite programme, which is about Barça and consists of people shouting at each other. You can see why these last days have been such bliss for me. Hard work indeed, but at least without the soul destroying awfulness which is Spanish television at its best. At its worst there is no simile of sufficient strength to give an accurate flavour of its deep worthlessness.

On the decorative side it has been an interesting experience to regress to one’s student days with the purchase of the expanding paper IKEA light shades to cover the bare bulbs. Some things, I tell myself, are design classics and never go out of fashion. And they are cheap, easy to construct and simplicity to fit. How many people have put them up as a stop-gap measure and then watched them (if they noticed them at all) become that fetching shade of cream which is a sign of maturity and a measure of how far they have become a part of the house and it would be a pointless extravagance to change them.

We are beginning to think of what paintings to put up and my idea of using the stairs as a sort of gallery is one way in which we can show rather more of our collection than we were able to do in the flat.

I love the use of the word ‘collection’ it gives gravitas to the unplanned accretion of art that I have accumulated over the years. I am proud to announce to the world that I have the largest collection of paintings, charcoals and drawings by Ceri Auckland Davies on the European mainland, and being a person cognizant of his responsibilities I am prepared to consider requests for loans to exhibitions so that I can read, “Private collection, Barcelona” in the catalogue!

I have been buying art works for over thirty years: from a wonderful ink drawing while in University through pottery ‘landscape pots’ while I was in Kettering to Ceri’s tempera paintings. I wish I had bought more. There are exhibitions that I have been to where for example the delicate painting of a bird’s wing; the portrait of a little girl: the original of a national newspaper cartoon serial; an eerie representation of a crowd; a delicate geometrical abstract and a large ‘metallic’ pottery plate – all tempted me and I didn’t have the cash or I hesitated too long. Those few missed opportunities came to mind very easily and if I gave it a little more though I am sure that others would rise up in my visual memory to taunt me with making the wrong choice in allowing them to go to different homes!

I always have before me the Missed Hockney. I saw a reproduction of A Bigger Splash in a newspaper and liked it immediately. It cost a lot, but I could have got the money together somehow if I had been really serious about the piece. But I wasn’t and I didn’t. The amount that the picture would be worth today keeps me awake nights! The further realization that I am missing equal ‘bargains’ (just as my grandparents didn’t buy Van Goghs) also causes me some unease!

The crisis in world banking (I blame BBVA) has shown just how fatuous the concept of saving is when almost half of what you have ‘put away’ is wiped out by the criminal ineptitude of avaricious, callous bastards. No, the ‘eat, drink and be merry’ (we will leave out the ‘et in Arcadia ego’ sentiment in the concluding phrase of the aphorism) is the only way to live.

So buy more art and be happy.

Sounds good to me!
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