Untitled Re-Told

26 Oct


Life on Mars Exhibition - Saturday 4th October

Image by Gene Hunt via Flickr

There is NOTHING going on in my life at the moment, and I have struggled all week to find something of interest to write about.  Today, I’ve had to resort to re-blogging an old post.  Like on the telly, however, this is not a repeat, but a re-telling, brushed up to look good and fresh and new.  Sadly, I don’t have any talking heads to pad out the dull bits; but feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Spud and I visited Stockport Art Gallery. I don’t mind art. I’m not over-fussed about it, but I like to look at it occasionally. 

We have a fair bit of original art in the house because the Hub loves it. We had only been married a year or so when he bought our first two paintings at the Rand Show in Joburg. We got them on Hire Purchase: remember that? For those of you under a certain age, it was old-fashioned credit, long before plastic.  We also rented our video machine. Can you imagine it? It wasn’t that long ago, either; about 1986.  I guess those of you still under that certain age are now asking, What’s a video?

We even went into art galleries on our honeymoon in Cape Town, which reminds me of the biggest waste of money I have ever spent.  I know I have told this story before but I still feel enraged, twenty-six years on. 

Scene: a small gallery of modern art.  Entrance fee: 10 cents each.  Exhibits: everything was called Untitled.  Presumably because they defied description. Utter garbage – also what some of the exhibits were made of.  Twenty-six years, five months and three weeks later, I still begrudge that 20c.

An artist friend of mine explained to me that ‘modern’ or ‘conceptual’ artists will all have had formal training – the example she gave me was Picasso, which put my nose out a little – but they feel the need to experiment with form. That’s all very well, but don’t charge me an exorbitant 20c for it. To be fair (if I must), I like to play around with poetic form myself so I understand where they are coming from, but I really don’t get why an unmade bed with leftover food, yucky personal stains and other detritus counts as art. If that’s the case, tell Charles Saatchi to come round here and he can have My Bed for two hundred quid plus an entrance fee of 20c.

I do like a good sculpture.  Weirdly, however, I don’t like ornaments. Of course, I don’t have any sculptures in my house so I don’t have to dust them; I might change my mind if I did. I like those Liverpool Yellow Banana animals in particular.  Talking of Liverpool and art (don’t laugh), my favourite painting in all the world is in the Walker Art Gallery: When Did You Last See Your Father? I was about eleven and my Dad brought home some art prints, and WDYLSYF? was one of them. I was heavily into the Stuarts at the time, so I loved it. 

I didn’t know anything about the painting until the day I was in the Walker Gallery with Spud, killing time waiting for a train home after watching Joseph and His Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat at the Liverpool Empire Theatre (a Christmas present from the Hub, the most wonderful gift-giver in all the world); I turned a corner, and there it was, massive, beautiful, a real work of art. 

By the way, I know people claim to hate Andrew Lloyd Webber as much as I hate ‘modern’ art, but I don’t care: I love his musicals. While I’m at it, I might as well confess that I am an unashamed and unabashed Abba fan, being the one teenager in Runcorn to not only buy but also to display a poster of them on my bedroom wall. Those of you recoiling in disgust may leave the room.

Another of my favourite paintings is one we have of Tory Boy as a three-year old.

The Hub commissioned it for my Mum’s fiftieth birthday. He also commissioned the same artist (Theo Coetzee) to paint a portrait of his parents on their wedding day, from a photograph, for their Golden Wedding anniversary. 

The Hub commissioned this one from Theo (by this time we were on first name terms) as a Christmas present for me (told you, didn’t I?), because cosmos is my favourite flower:

As I said, the Hub likes art. He enjoys painting, but he feels he has no talent. I am a philistine so I can’t judge, but I like his stuff. He doesn’t paint now, though, as we live in a small house and things not in use have to be packed away. Because of the ME/CFS, by the time he gets his stuff out, he’s too exhausted to do anything with it, so he doesn’t bother anymore. Hope is in sight, however: we have three bedrooms and as soon as we offload the boys onto a couple of unsuspecting girls, we will have a room each to do our own thing: he can paint and do his aeroplane geek stuff and I can write scurrilous experimental poems on why Tracey Emin should be dusting ornaments for a living.

38 Responses to “Untitled Re-Told”

  1. David Archer October 26, 2011 at 10:31 #

    Thanks for the smile. I found an old cassette mix tape I made for my girlfriend the other day, got really excited by the songs on it then realised I didn’t have a tape player anymore. I need a trip to the electrical store to find the necessary wires…..

    Anywhoo….sculpture, love the stuff, the real stuff, Henry Moore, Elizabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth you get my drift and I am very lucky to live slap bang next to all three of their museums in Yorkshire, The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The new Hepworth and the Henry Moore in Leeds.

    I too am not a fan of “conceptual” sculpture and I like the comment about Charging Saatchi to come and look at your bed I think I’ll dip my fridge in concrete, hang it from four piano wires, up light it in neon blue and call it “Y”.

    Sorry to rant but “some” modern stuff does my nut in as well.

    I am from Barnsley and my dirty little secret is Les Miserables, especially the Inn Keepers song, please don’t tell anyone or publish this on the internet.

    I do like the grudge about the 20c, my friend made me watch a truly awful horror film once and everytime he sees me he knows that he owes me 94 minutes of my life, 94 minutes I spent watching that paint dry.

    Good post, I’m glad you reposted this, did you re-schedule it or go via the neglected old post page?



    • Tilly Bud October 26, 2011 at 11:18 #

      You can buy a gadget for £20 that lets you put your tapes onto computer; I don’t think you need a machine. I saw it in an Aldi flyer the other day.

      Lucky you to be so close to all that art 🙂

      I c+p my old post, added pictures and re-wrote it slightly. My early stuff doesn’t have pics and is shocking in how badly it’s written. I’m actually glad to be able to fix it for public consumption.


  2. vivinfrance October 26, 2011 at 10:50 #

    and very well re-told it is too. I also love Abba, Lloyd Webber’s musicals and ‘proper’ art.


  3. Cindy October 26, 2011 at 12:37 #

    I was willing to forgive you until I got to the ABBA bit …


  4. Lorna's Voice October 26, 2011 at 12:58 #

    For someone who felt she didn’t have much to say…this was a great “re-telling.” I am an avid ABBA fan and Andrew Lloyd Weber was a genius. People around my neighbor get to hear my renditions of both as I sing while waking my dog.

    Learned a lot about you in this post. Thanks!


  5. gigihawaii October 26, 2011 at 16:09 #

    What a great rewrite!!! More, more, more!

    I, too, love Andrew Lloyd Webber and have seen all of his shows (I think). Has he come out with a new one lately?

    I love to buy art that evokes pleasant memories — especially scenes of places I have seen.


    • Tilly Bud October 27, 2011 at 12:01 #

      There has been a follow up to TPotO, I think. I’ve seen Joseph several times, but none of teh others, sadly, apart from filmed versions.


  6. earlybird October 26, 2011 at 16:10 #

    Love the idea of Tracey Emin dusting ornaments for a living! But actually, looking at the state of her bed, I’m not sure her standards of housework would be very high.


  7. SchmidleysScribbling October 26, 2011 at 16:11 #

    Tilly, Today I find more things I like about you. I think Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is super. When I taught church school, the kids did the musical. Wonderful and funny. We saw Cats on Broadway, and I didn’t get it, so I had to get T.S. Elliot’s book to discover the “meaning.”

    The other thing I like is Cosmos…my Mom’s favorite, but not my favorite. I think of her when I see these flowers. So, thanks for the memories.

    As for modern art, I like some of it but I don’t like some of it. Picky I guess. Dianne


    • Tilly Bud October 27, 2011 at 12:03 #

      I do like some modern art. Not sure if he’s modern, actually, but I love Jackson Pollock. Every painting makes me want a copy to use as a book mark.


  8. countingducks October 26, 2011 at 17:26 #

    This is a lovely warm post. I’m a bit ambivelant about Abba although I think their songs are really well crafted, and there are definitly some great one’s among them. If I have to hang my hat on anything musical it would probably be Pink Floyd


    • Harry Nicholson October 26, 2011 at 17:48 #

      Return the Elgin Marbles! But only on condition the Greeks also take the Emin Bed.


    • Tilly Bud October 27, 2011 at 12:04 #

      My tastes are varied. There’s so much good music sround I won’t be confined by type 🙂


  9. Pseu October 26, 2011 at 17:52 #

    Well, I’m glad you re-posted 🙂

    Art: where does modern begin?

    I love those huge statues which can be seen from the motor way- Angel of the North and the other one, who’s name I have forgotten… and the Andrew Galsworthy stuff on the shore up on the Wirral.
    I also love those huge sculptures or works of art out in public spaces, just for the fun of it: France is particularly good at those.


  10. kateshrewsday October 26, 2011 at 19:57 #

    Love this. I’m so torn on Emin I can’t begin to decide. Some of her stuff I can see the point. Some not. Loved your tour of the family’s art, especially the cosmos 🙂


    • Tilly Bud October 27, 2011 at 12:10 #

      I might show some more. That’s the tip of the iceberg.


  11. Tinman October 26, 2011 at 21:00 #

    For someone with nothing to say you sure said a lot.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber is like Big Brother – no-one will admit to watching it yet everyone knows who Nadia or Shilpa Shetty is.

    Mrs Tin and I went to New York for a week for our 25-years-going-out-iversary, and on the actual anniversary of our “getting off with each other” (people who don’t know what Hire Purchase means won’t know what that means either) we went to Phantom of the Opera on Broadway – proudly.


    • nrhatch October 27, 2011 at 02:38 #

      I don’t know who Nadia or Shilpa Shetyy is. 😀


  12. Tinman October 26, 2011 at 21:03 #

    PS, don’t call it a repeat.

    Call it the Director’s Cut.


  13. artjen1971 October 26, 2011 at 21:18 #

    As an artist, myself–albeit, a realism artist (which doesn’t count in the realm of true artists), I with you on the overly symbolic and plain old bizarre crap. I do like a certain amount of abstract and thoughtful composition, but no just weird and shocking for the fun of it. The portraits your husband commissioned are wonderful!

    Here’s a memory from the 70’s for ya: “money, money, money–it’s so funny–in a rich man’s world.” The neighborkid and I used to play that song over and over again when we were kids. 🙂


    • Pseu October 27, 2011 at 08:34 #

      ‘art for art’s sake’


  14. Hattie October 26, 2011 at 21:31 #

    Well, I can’t get into Andrew Lloyd Webber, but I liked that painting of the interrogation of the Blue Boy.


  15. bluebee October 26, 2011 at 21:57 #

    The whole installation and modern art thing is beyond me – I went to the Guggenheim last month and, frankly, the only work of art I saw there was the building. Faux rocks on pillows on the floor, an empty room wallpapered in faux money, bits of rusty metal and rope cobbled together…they can’t be serious, surely?

    The way the light is evoked in WDYLSYF – now that’s what I’d call art


  16. Hattie October 26, 2011 at 22:19 #

    More: Looks as if the Blue Boy has black hair, so this was his brother, maybe?
    Anyhow, I also have grown to hate what passes for art these days. But we are not alone. Some rather important people on the cultural scene, at any rate in the U.S., are getting around to admitting that most of this art is an insult to the public. I was annoyed at the junk in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. I hated the building, too, which was some slabs of concrete and a dreary outdoor area to sit in.


  17. Big Al October 27, 2011 at 01:36 #

    If it weren’t for our age difference Tilly Bud, I would say we were separated at birth. Very similar likes and dislikes. If we ever meet, I’ll be sure to bring my pirated Abba CD.


  18. nrhatch October 27, 2011 at 02:40 #

    I like SOME modern art, SOME Andrew Lloyd Webber, SOME songs by ABBA, and ALL Cosmos (the flower, not the magazine) in the cosmos!



  19. eof737 October 27, 2011 at 09:03 #

    I like Abba and bought their stuff too… Cosmos are the prettiest flowers so it’s good to know someone else who loves them too… You’re doing alright Tilly don’t despair! 🙂


  20. Mike Patrick October 27, 2011 at 18:33 #

    It’s easy for men to recognize real art, whether in paintings or sculptures. It it’s naked, it’s art.


  21. Gobetween October 28, 2011 at 02:23 #

    ALW I like but not ABBA! You mentioned renting a video machine and it had me going down memory lane to when you could hire a tv and video machine from Early Bird outlets. I haven’t seen one of those in ages I guess they don’t exist anymore it is all DSTV outlets now for the decoders.


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: