Extended post: Foz & Dan both rebuked me on Monday for not posting about Friday night immediately. What shameless vanity, but since I clearly thrive on such egoism, I shall post as requested.
I’ve just got home
It is 6:30 in the morning
I’m fucking starving and just returned from Dan’s semi-drunken, mini-tour of South London via Clapham Common looking for a cafe open at this ungodly hour.
Am too wired and tired to type now need burger going to bed.
My entire knowledge of Clapham Common is that its largely full of rapists and murders. Dan cuts through a corner of the park and assures me protection. I’m fairly dubious of this offer.
We only saw the occasional passer-by and Dan suggests that everyone up at this time ought to have a sign that states exactly why the fuck they’ve been out so late. We suggest our signs would be ’Unsuccessful poof on the brink and les on the verge looking for burger’.
This was the climax of a very, very long day in the best possible way. We were taking the show down today, its our last official course day and the day we get the results. Excitement runs high.
The morning after Thursday night’s truly disturbing drunken-porno-rubbish discussed (it’s always either porn or poo: Our two staple favorites) the most hung over of us just look at each other and giggle sheepishly. Foz & Dan throw sporadic ‘screwing the bolts’ and ‘drilling’ puns at me all morning as Geoff wanders around in his usual fluffy way, clueless to all the in-jokes.
Foz and Dan finally having nothing left to hide came out of their respective closets and admitted they wanted to join the two pathways, illustration and photography by sealing it with the physical expression of their own mutual love. While they teased me about Geoff, I in turn spent all morning with visions of them as a gay couple in coitus firmly in mind. So the morning went by fairly quickly I’d say.
You see?? It’s the tutors that lead me astray. I was so clean minded before our tutors filled my fragile eggshell mind with junk.
Onnalin and Fernanda who never went home hadn’t changed clothes. Their outfits, which last night looked very glamorous, today look a tad (very) disheveled. I am told that Onnalin reeked of booze and at mid-day reports came back via Martyn that she had to throw-up in her handbag on the tube. Then carried her hand bag, puke and all, home with her. Reports state that she still hasn’t washed it.
We walk to Holborn from the Mall and then are smuggled in the back of empty van like illegal immigrants. Jet slams the door shut, dying to get a move on. There are no windows and we sit on the floor in the pitch dark. Foz immediately takes out his phone and plays with it (just so the screen lights up). He then goes off on one of his bi-monthly rants about Camberwell, hippies and wet-lettuces (I’ve never heard the phrase wet-lettuce before but I really like it with regards to hippies.)
The ex shows up out of the blue, leaning against a tree at some point during the day. Came to see the show. What show? Too late, no? I returned the equipment I borrowed. The ex left. I went back to the que of people loading the van (how English, if I was back in Mumbai we’d just be chucking boards in left and right like maniacs). Astrid with perfect slapstick timing whacked me on the back of the head with a large wall. Foz looking pleased, praised Astrid, remarking what a good person I was to hit in the head (true, very true).
At 4pm we head off to get our marks. I’ve avoided thinking about it all day and I oscillate between complete indifference to raging nerves. Anna and I make a pact to pretend we are totally satisfied with whatever we get (yeah right). Our repression skills are on top form.
The list up on the board is very complicated with no names, only ID numbers. I scan for mine, recheck it, check it again and am thrilled!!!! Yay!!! I generally hate opening the result letter cold, that horrible but exciting suspense like when Charlie opens a Wonka bar, but now emboldened by the notice board I eagerly wait in line outside the office.
There are various people with slightly longer faces around me but nearly 50% of the illustrators get distinctions (which lessens my joy but am I going to be picky? I think not)
The tutors return, no doubt anxious about the barrage of abuse they are expecting from those fundamentally dissatisfied with their marks. I don’t know if they did get any abuse but we finish unloading the last van, freshen up, hug people and drag the tutors, the long faced people and all us super cool illustrators off to the pub.
Sardhna came out for a minute while we were standing outside the Ivy to talk to Foz as he was once again cordoned off and isolated from the other pathways by the very possessive illustrators.
The entire group of 10 people around Foz stop talking and just look at her expectantly…..What does she want? Why is she here? Is she trying to take him away from us? Quick set the Mexican chihuahua on her! (The little chihuahua has been up 24 hours now, and is wilting quietly as she sits on the pavement drinking). Sardhna looks a bit startled at all the sudden semi-hostile interest in her.
By 11 Adam is so drunk that his eyes have lost focus and says some very lewd, rude things to me and others (and not in a good way). Martyn and Simeon sit on the pub sofa, have discussed gardening and then both go home.
The remainder are invited to continue the drinking at the typography tutor’s studio in Waterloo (yet again the ‘free beer’ lure is deployed and we’re only too eager to take the bait). Astrid asks, no insists we make Foz come as well (always with the girls, always. Lucky bastard). Dan ditches the photographers yet again for his little honey bunny snookie-wookums and we all weave our way to 2 cabs.
The minute we arrive there, the type tutor and his very rude flatmate/friend/twat throw us out again. There is no free beer to boot. Figures, from a fucking typographer. You can never trust a their idea of a party. Buzz kills. Who ends a party at midnight? Shocking.
But do we give up and go home?? Hell no.
Do we drink our livers silly?? Hell yes!
Why you ask? Because we’re art students that’s why!
We follow someone (either Dan or Foz) into a tiny small corridor of a bar which ‘accidentally’ turns out to be gay. ‘Accidentally’, of course.
Dan comes running back from the counter, his little face alight with excitement “Oh my god! I just got hit on!! This place is a gay bar! No it really is, he was a big Scottish guy with dreads and he was like man I’m staying in this awesome place you should come over and see my chandelier! and then this other guy was like can I ask you a question don’t get offended…. but are you gay? and I was like why would I be offended? and he said look around you, this is a gay bar!!”
Dan was scandalized. After all, he’s no tart. He wants romance, luurving, cuddles, you know.. the good stuff before he views a mans chandelier.
Other than that he was sooooooooo happy. Guys were groping his cute lil’ ass and rubbing his back all night. He kept disappearing to the loo as well….so suspicious that.
By the end of the night both he and Foz were running off to the loos simultaneously. The Firecracker thankfully isn’t there to see this. Sharing is not her strong point.
Anna and Uhr began a ludicrous drinking competition at the start of the evening, vowing to match each other drink for drink. Uhr is double Anna’s body weight and height, an unfair match it would seem. By 3 o clock both are drinking water. Uhr sits outside staring at the pavement for ages. We can safely assume that Anna was the winner since she was still smiling and semi functional. Slovenia is throughly shamed.
At 3:30am Uhr trolls in like an Eastern European Frankenstein and mutters “Foz Anna gone for walk to park”. The park is closed I say, its 3 in the morning. He says nothing, only blinks and lumbers back out again.
Slanderous gossip begins to be whispered among us. Georgina, Dan and I shake our wise old heads and tsk at this highly suspect behavior on their part. Dan is so hurt. How could Foz abandon him? Did everything Foz said in the committee meeting mean nothing?? Did he just use him for sex and then throw him away??
We call eventually and are told our ever professional, responsible tutor is throwing up somewhere along the Southbank with Anna, can we call back later?
Dan bursts into tears. If anyone had to hold back Foz’s hair as he threw up it should have been him not Anna! I had to comfort Dan as best I can. Foz loves you really I said. It’s just a one-off thing with Anna I said. He just needs to get it out of his system. He’ll come back to you, they always do I said. Your ass is just too cute to resist. Foz is a fool I added.
Dan thought of his bootilicious ass and stopped crying at once. An hour later A & F wander back in and are welcomed with open arms by all. Georgina looks mighty relieved.
I seemed to burn loads of things, my top, Dans jacket, the kitchen, my skirt, the carpet, Which is fitting since I am supposed to worship the god of fire. I really ought to stay away from anything flammable. Eoghan, being a Catholic, trades religious insults with me across the bar. I’m so taking him to hell with me when I go. Fire and Satan is on my side.
Dan & I being hardcore south Londoners, stick around in the bar long after the softies from Crouch End and Stoke Newington (the lesbian mecca) have wobbled off home. The bar finally kicks us out after some random woman insists shes seen me on TV. Dan tells her I’m on Eastenders.
We run to catch the train to Clapham Junction from Waterloo, sit in first class as Dan tries to get me to trade one of my drawings for one of his photography class’s catalogs.
What a cheap skate!
Foz just emailed us asking the 2nd years to give a small lecture in front of our work to the first years
He claims our pearls of wisdom are so great the first years must know them.
I have no pearls of wisdom.
18. Drawing during a crit to while away tedious hours is tempting but must be resisted at all costs.
To do this in front of Foz would be like eating peas with a knife in front of the Queen.
19. It is possible to amuse yourself instead by giving invaluable [hah!] feedback to thy peers.
20. Chewing innumerable packs of gum helps stave away both hunger and boredom. Thou shalt be rewarded by minty fresh breath as thou hurls venom at thy classmate.
21. Caffeine is not thy friend if thou art clumsy. This rules applies to any liquid.
22. Learn Indesign & Flash for it shall save thy lowly life when thou has not found freelance illustration work and have just realized paint is inedible.
23. ‘Nice’ and ‘cool’ are still forbidden words and thou shalt be socially ostracized and flogged for such heresy.
i.e P.T.A day
I woke up early on Friday morning after the private view to drag myself off to the gulag (Savoy Tailors Guild) tired, hung over and with a mouth of cotton wool. That night I had a vivid dream where Anna & I were manning the Mall reception desk/shop. There are people crowding around like rush hour on the tube. Someone comes running up to me and says excitedly
“Oh my god your prints are just selling out! There are so many people!! Its amazing.”
I woke up bemused, thinking or hoping it was real.
It was not.
I am so pathetic.
Even my sub-conscious isn’t subtle. Pathetic.
As friends and family surged around everywhere, I vaguely remembering having a brilliant epiphany about my work that was crystal clear, made perfect sense and I suddenly knew exactly where it would go with absolute clarity. Within 5 minutes the timely arrival of more wine destroyed this brief, sparkling vision of the future and now I can’t remember any of it.
Mark my second cousin’s husband slightly criticized the show in his mild, cheddary sort of way, but I am willing to absolve him completely since he was emotionally blackmailed into buying one of my prints. My mother said I ought to have given it away but he works in the BBC and I sit on a couch blogging. It’s only fair game.
I was hardly expecting any to sell frankly but Uhr also coerced his dad into buying a print. God bless that Slovenian and his dad. Mark really set the ball rolling so I shall forgive every slight.
It was a really relaxed day compared to the hectic tension of the Private View. I had no family to babysit fortunately but Charis and Kardo kept disappearing, skulking around corners and then walked so slowly with their long English umbrellas to the Chandos I lost them again. Two days later I got a belated voice message from both Kardo & Charis begging for directions.
The college being as highly organized as it is, forgot to order drinks for the PTA day which the tutors only realized after getting hammered the evening before. They had to run around in the morning looking for a wholesaler but were forced to buy from various corner shops instead and drag them to the gallery in Foz’s granny trolley bag type thing.
The ex showed up for friends and family day late. I had invited one of the ex’s exs and she was nice enough to show up on time. The ex called me up cranky and irritable saying there were errands to do etc. 3 o clock became 4 o clock which in turn become 5.
I had humbly requested if it was on the way could I get some sleeves or large plastic bags to put my remaining prints in? Perhaps this made it later, perhaps it was my fault. It was well past 5 o clock when the ex finally showed up. The gallery shut an hour early so the show was missed but met us in the pub where the ex’s ex, Kardo & Charis (both looking very mafioso and Italian which is odd since one is an Iraqi, the other a Greek), Foz (with his granny stroller), Fernanda (in her best ‘good-girl’ outfit), Dan & Ruth and I were continuing the afternoons boozing.
For the past few weeks all my posts have ended with
“….and then we all went to the pub.”
It is both a sign of poor writing on my part and an indication that we are creatures of habits, us illustrators. (See how I generalize with such confidence? It’s so MA darling).
I finally had a long semi drunken conversation with Dan and his lady Ruth and it was highly entertaining. It was about time after 2 years but at least on this occasion there was no yelling with regards to my DIY incompetence.
Ruth explains that she too would prefer it if the drawing/photography would start and stop 9-5. It’s the lack of attention she explains. I still can’t understand the problem though. If you’re sitting in the same room, sitting on the same couch, watching TV, doing exactly the same thing (i.e nothing) whats wrong with maybe doodling in a sketch book or working or just fiddling with something (anything).
I can’t just sit there and watch TV. Drawing relaxes me. What makes it any different for whatever relaxes someone else i.e cooking, doing your nails, reading?
I don’t know, it doesn’t matter anyway I suppose. I suspect that this sort of relationship problem will never go away (for me at least) unless I date my clone (I’m such a narcissist but we’d probably kill each other).
Owen’s very large Irish catholic family were there with his heavily pregnant house mate. As I’m sure anyone can predict, they hated my work. That made me more happy than I can tell you (they are clearly my target audience) but being a shameless coward I avoided a lynching by staying well out of sight.
Had the exam board meeting at 2 o clock today (Just re-read this – What? I don’t remember any exam board! What have I written? – It is now Sunday the 24th of June) followed by the long-awaited Private View at 6 p.m.
Our ‘Big Day’ was discussed among the women purely in terms of shoes and clothes. Forget art darling, what the hell are you wearing?
At the very last-minute I had an absolutely ingenious idea to iron my skirt on the floor of my room. Being a first-rate nitwit I dropped the hot iron on the carpet and burned it slightly thus leaving the lovely residue of melted beige carpet on the iron which I then expertly placed on top of my black skirt.
Decided it would be an even better idea to then scrub carpet cleaner on my skirt with a loofah. To cut a long story short all the burning and panicked attempted mending fucked in no particular order:
- My skirt
- My carpet
- My punctuality
Then decided to send a badly worded text message to both Georgina & Onnalin apologizing for my lateness and explaining my accident with the iron. I say badly worded because then everyone, including the external examiner, was concerned that with my past arson history I had somehow burned myself badly. Disillusioning them to the lamer truth was slightly embarrassing. I almost wish I had burned myself just to save face (I’d probably have enjoyed the sympathy).
The external examiner spoke to Ed, Alex and me in a little group. He was far easier than F&G. I found I spoke much more clearly about my content than I did at the assessment (again, what a dolt). The external examiner was very nice, very calm, lots of open ended questions. He also asked about the blog (which I made into a book since a lot of the rants were related to my drawings.)
Alex opened the first page of his portfolio (not being in the Show), showed nothing else and blamed everything on
“Not finding a subject I’m interested in.”
What a load of….
Anyway aside from Martyn (a gentlemen of great sense and discernment) everyone is beginning to take the stupid trite on my blog far too seriously.
Adam came up to me the other day and said in a vaguely threatening manner
“Hey! I was reading your blog the other day………..*pause for effect*…… and I WAS NOT CUDDLING THAT GIRL!! I WAS NOT!!”
Georgina shrieked at me like a harpy
“You wrote untrue things about me! I never used the stethoscope to eavesdrop on Foz’s crit with Alex!”
Just in case people assume it’s also the truth, I’d like to confirm that harpies are indeed fictional. Nor did G. shriek, she said everything in the politest, mildest way possible.
After being so wired for nearly 3 weeks we were getting slowly but surely smashed as the evening wore on. At 9 the Mall shut and all networking or selling prints was over (I sold nothing, nada, zilch *sob sniff sniff*) we went to the ICA to continue drinking.
Not only did this piece of shit excuse for a bar charge us £1.50 entry (what the fuck? It’s a fucking shitty bar, not even a good bar. A bloody average canteen). But clearly catering to all the stuffed old fogies that regularly haunt the ICA they had banned smoking early (what fucking nerve). Being a bunch of first-rate rimmers to boot we were also banned you from drinking outside.
So, either you smoke or you drink, but never both at the same time. Nothing infuriates me more than this type of stupid-ass fucking thumbs-up-their-arse rules. I hate nagging non-smokers. They piss me right off. Go fucking live in a vegan, non-dairy, celibate, organic hippie carbon free commune you healthy self-righteous fucks.
Foz looked fairly sober to me so I was slightly taken aback when he went on a mildly disturbing anti-Foz spiel about when he’s reads the stuff he says in crits he thinks: I’m such a twat, what I say is so rubbish, ought to give up teaching all together, throw in the towel, I’m such a bastard, so harsh, I’m as subtle as an ax, everything I say is wrong, I’m just going to quit, too blunt, fucking sledge-hammer and all that self-critical nonsense. (basically a load of ‘Lisa’)
I really don’t know what more this man wants.
He had girls draped over him all night, sobbing and crying melodramatically in their low-cut, eye-level tops, cleavages collectively smothering him, while every now then, amongst the sea of heaving bosoms, his little head would bob into view, before going under once again.
“Foz we love you, we’ll miss you. Will you miss us? You’d better miss us! I bet you’ll forget us. Will you? Will you miss us? Sob sob sniff sniff boo hoo”
they all wailed in unison.
Roderick stands on the edge of this little circle, ignored. He shakes his head and calls us a bunch of groupies (his jealousy is transparent).
If all of this doesn’t validate Foz’s teaching skills I really don’t know what will. I’m so definitely becoming a tutor if it’s the last thing I do.
The mood swung from fairly festive to downright maudlin. All the mauling and whirlwind emotions seem to leave Foz semi-suicidal, sitting at a table with his head in his hands. So I go out for a cigarette hoping to alleviate, at the very least, my mood.
While Fernanda is in the midst of a flood of tears on Foz’s shoulder’s, she suddenly turns, punches me in the arm and yells
“You never fucking cry! You’re a fucking stone cold bitch woman!”
I was trying very hard not to look at all this hideous display of tears.
“Look to the left, look to the right, on the floor. Think of Venice yes I’m in Venice la la la tra la la I’m on a gondola, we’re sailing along, moonlit sky….”
before Fernanda yanked me out of my emotional avoidance.
I rather resent all the crying these days, it dampens the atmosphere every time. Why can’t these women just be emotionally repressed and in denial like the rest of us stone cold bitches?
I join Amalia outside for a smoke. The bouncer refuses to let her back in because she took her drink outside. Amalia decides to battle it out against the brutish 6ft, 3 tonne, female giantess.
“How can I be deeeeenied entrrrrrry for a fucking drrink? It was my friends drink out of the bottal and eet was’nt even from in this stupid fucking bar okaaay?. Eets rrrridikulus. Eets ridikulus! Well I’m not going to move frrrom herrre so why don’t you jaaaast call the police then. No, I’m not going. You think you caaan physically rrrremove me? You can’t no you can’t because I’m not going okaaaay?”
Eoghan (or Owen) a 6 ft Irishman tries reasoning with the bouncer, who responds with
“If you don’t move out of my way, I will physically remove you and then I’m going to physically remove her, call the police and have her charged with drunk & disorderly conduct and trespassing ok?”
Eoghan scampers off tail between his legs. I coax Amalia out of getting her knee-caps broken and she goes outside still grumbling angrily
“Eets fucking ridikulus! What the fuck? I mean, what a fucking beeetch!”
Gary came back suddenly like a hero, riding in (I’m certain) to save Foz before all his female students throttle him with love. He whisked Foz away on to the back of his bold stallion (mates car) and off they went, into the dark night.
We all part ways and I walk down to the bus stop at Trafalgar square, stale wine and the taste of fags lining the roof of my mouth and I suddenly feel immensely depressed about everything.
Self-absorbed post (when are they not?). Mostly about my own assessment and generally written for my benefit. I therefore strongly advise you to skip.
Just returned from my assessment at the Mall with Foz and Gary feeling dazed, breathless and slightly giddy.
I get out in a fog at Brixton, walk across to the other platform and sit on the train waiting expectantly. I’m surprised to find myself home already, I can’t recall changing tubes at Stockwell at all. I wander out in an absent-minded way, playing things over and over in my head. Sainsbury’s was a distant dream of buying random food I now won’t eat.
Foz & Gary both questioned me inside out and I tried to be as honest as possible without being self-effacing. There is a fine line that I can’t seem to locate between self-deprecating, fake modesty, overly critical, overly confident and being too cocky.
I have no idea how well or badly I did. I might have been so unclear and rambling I was none of the above. I did go off on a rant about hijabs at one point (god knows why).
Gary asks me if I think I try to see both sides of the argument.
I say, I can. Obviously I’m biased towards my own views, but can still understand what the other sides argument is. (I just don’t agree with it)
They just came at me again and again, first Gary’s upper cut from the left, then Foz with a half nelson from the right both working together like Mexican wrestling tag team. I felt quite battered by the end of it.
With Foz at least, its all laid out there on the table - This is what I think, I like this, I hate that. He can’t really disguise his feelings well. It all shows on his face and in his eyes. Now perhaps if he was a thief, he’d probably be the kind of guy who would forget to wear a ski mask and mug you by jumping out in front of you in the middle of the afternoon. The police would be on to him like a shot.
Gary on the other hand is a sly fellow. You can never tell exactly what he’s thinking, there is this murky gray area within his opinion. Before you know it he’s sneaked up behind you and clonked you round the back of your head. He might say something which (being a thick head like me) takes some time to digest, and then it dawns on you….
“Wait a minute…he wasn’t being complimentary…. he was saying you’re rubbish!”
He would be the kind of mugger to grab you from behind in a dark alley, take your bag, purse/wallet, phone, ipod and then frog march you to the nearest cash point and empty your bank account. Strong words I know, but they both grilled me like a bitch.
I kept standing up or kneeling and doing everything but sitting in my appointed chair. Foz kept reminding me like I was a naughty school child. Sit still stupid, and stop fidgeting.
“You always talk about the aesthetic but do you feel that you think about your content enough?”
‘Enough’ is the word that really gets me. How do you define ‘enough’?
I got the feeling that they think I don’t consider my content enough.
And yes I think about content a great deal, but for me, on my MA colour and practicalities like reducing time it takes to finish a piece to satisfaction have been much more of a struggle. It was about more than just content.
A recurring theme I’ve noticed over the last 5 years in art school is the whole hoo-hah about the importance of content.
Content and good ideas are valuable assets but nothing is so easily destroyed as a great idea badly presented. There is always this thing in art colleges, and Camberwell (my old college) in particular, where they say
“We’re not here to teach you to draw, it’s about pushing your content and your ideas”
One of the major problems I have is the notion that substance is more important than how it’s represented. I think, personally, that you can’t separate technical development and content development. They work in tandem; sometimes one gains more priority, sometimes another.
The impression I’ve consistently got from Gary (and not just today) is that content is and always must be the priority.
But my agenda has to include both. If not equally then 60% aesthetic 40% content. Disagree with this as you will philosophers, dissertation lovers and information designers. I find nothing is so dull as interesting information plotted out on a tedious graph. (come to the our show and you’ll see what I mean)
Unfortunately I never said any of this. I have a persistent and malignant case of esprit de l’escalier. It’s damn annoying.
Worst question by far was right at the end of the CIA interrogation:
“What is it that you’ve mastered?”
Foz demands to know. I say ‘the worst question’ for a 2 reasons:
1. My answer could have been better (for a start)
I’m worn down by now so I just said ‘Colour.’ Colour is the thing that’s dramatically changed for me the most.
The thing I had to really get my head around and thing I struggled with and still struggle with the most. But it’s certainly not the only thing.
Sadly, none of this is discussed. Since they seem to be hurrying me out, I just mention colour.
“Is that enough?”
they ask frighteningly.
I mutter, rattling off something else that I can’t recall.
There was something about being self-critical, writing the blog making me more coherent, sharper, remembering things better, which is clearly all rubbish because right now for the life of me I can’t remember half the things I was spouting.
2. The second reason why it was the worst question was because of the question itself.
‘What are you trying to master?’ and ‘What have you mastered?’ are two completely different questions that dictate two completely different answers.
‘What are you trying to master?’ is a good question. It suggests you’re trying to work something out, constantly moving towards a goal.
‘What have you mastered?’ suggests finality. It’s a bit poncy and meaningless. What does the word ‘master’ mean anyway?
To me it means you’ve done all that can be done, know all that you can know about a subject or technique and are at the top of your game. It implies others will come to you, humbly begging to be graciously allowed to apprentice under your phenomenal tutelage. (if only)
I’m bloody 25 I can’t possible have mastered anything and even at 45 can you say in all honesty (unless you’re an arrogant prick) that you have completely mastered any one thing? It’s always in flux (I’m fairly sure F&G will heartily disagree…or maybe not fuck knows. My brain is fried.)
Now an exception would be Yoda, he certainly was a Jedi master, but
a. He is 900 years old
b. He’s fucking fictional
(Foz disagrees, He’s not fictional, no he’s not, Yoda is real, he asserts. I get the feeling that I must at all cost, not shatter this fragile belief.)
Unfortunately I didn’t say any of this either. God I’m such a dolt.
I had a really rotten weekend. I wasted all Saturday by having a massive hangover, which as light weight drinker is an unusual and unpleasant thing. Sunday I spent quarreling and sulking in Angel park while drinking a small pink zinfandel straight out of the bottle like an old wino.
Monday was the big show set up day. Vans had to be loaded and unloaded and worst of all, a 6:00am wake up to be at college by 7:30 sharp. I got into bed by 8 in the evening on the Sunday but watched too much Gordon Ramsay while drooling all over my duvet, thus sleeping later than I ought to. Had horrible shifting dreams all night and woke up at 5:45am to the lovely early morning bird song and warblings of large vans and speeding cars on Brixton Hill.
I immediately fired off a cranky and irate text message and promptly felt better.
We arrived at Catton Street only to be shunted off to Mall within 10 minutes by Dan. We loafed around at the Mall for half and hour waiting to unload the vans.
Unloading the vans was difficult for a weakling like me, especially the massive walls that we needed to erect later that morning.
Everyone was dressed in their skankiest, grubbiest clothes. Onnalin was wearing shorts, torn tights and a bunch of holes held together by a T-shirt that discreetly covered her bra.
There was a very pretty, skinny, blond girl that I noticed (of course) who was wearing the whitest cleanest, most beautiful, little frock, over a lovely pair of leggings paired cute matching ballet shoes. At the pub later that day, naturally we tore her apart, and her (allegedly) fake tan. Fernanda and Amalia angrily insisted it wasn’t a real tan. I couldn’t tell.
In addition to Mike & Simeon Siamese, another aspect of the freak show that are the illustrators:
We started setting up some of the walls without having a clue how to do it. Foz like any good, right-brained illustrator was as clueless as his students. Dan mocked us as we begged him for help. Most of the time was spent just watching people screw in bolts while you waited around holding a big board and yawning.
Alex’s portfolio was lying around like a ghost while he was nowhere to be seen. Fernanda says to me
“Oh my god is that Alex’s? Lets go through it no?”
No, I say and she is immediately annoyed that I dare contradict her royal princessness. The photographers are playing a truly excellent selection of Bob Marley which makes me feel like I’m at a hippie picnic.
Foz dashes around in a sweaty blur, putting up frames with Gary as cool as ever, in tow pacing behind him. Roderick and Dave were helping various other people.
By 4pm I had mostly finished for that day and then we were just waiting around (moral support I guess) for the burly, sweaty men (very sexy) who were doing all the heavy lifting and drilling.
At about 5 o clock Geoff came running by reporting we needed to leave since there was a group of oldies who had a life drawing class. The aged were gritting their dentures in rage such an imposition, but Foz had managed to throw a wonderful strop with the gallery manager insisting that if he doesn’t let us stay till 9 there won’t be a show by Thursday.
The designers were furious,
“Why are the illustrators getting to stay??”
Someone asked me, extremely annoyed. Because we’re so special that’s why ha ha hah! Stupid designers and their Indesign skills and their great job prospects.
Rumor had it that the shy life model was sobbing in the ladies at the humiliation of having to strip down in front of men younger and more virile than 80.
We weren’t allowed either to drill or talk loudly in case the shock from the noise gave all the elderly sudden strokes. Apparently you need pin drop silence to be able to draw, I don’t know why, life drawing isn’t exactly brain surgery. I’d love to have taken them to Roderick’s life drawing, 3 movies running, one really weird one with loud beeping noises in a loop. They’d all have had group convulsions I’m sure.
Foz had instructed Anna to make sure Georgina stays calm and doesn’t panic. Anna doesn’t quite manage to succeed so Georgina has a mental meltdown over pinning up her prints. Distraught, she begs Gary
“Help me, please can you help me?”.
“Ooooooh help you??”
Gary replies gleefully and then does a little dance. Georgina is not amused in the slightest.
At 9 o clock we finally and thankfully head of to the pub. We are all hungry enough to eat our own arms.
After the tutors leave Fernanda, Ed, Martyn, Mike and I get into a furious impassioned debate about what constitutes ‘MAness’. According to Fer & Ed being even slightly indecisive dismisses you off the ‘MAness’ list. You must also be very committed to the group.
I contest that this is highly contestable. Being decisive is great but not all important (I believe) neither is group devotion. Ed and Fernanda start prepping for a war over the space on Day 2. They have planned a devious coup to oust out either Athier or Lisa (or both) from the space. As per their list neither are ‘MAness’ worthy.
Obviously I am looking forward to tomorrow. It’s bound to be highly entertaining.
Martyn doesn’t feel like heading back to his beloved Bedford so he stays over on the Ikea folding bed in my living room where we both eat Rustlers and tomatoes for a late dinner.
I stay up till 3 reprinting double page spreads in my portfolio because Foz made me. The older ones had a 1cm margin where the prints overlapped. Damn. I had hoped it wasn’t that noticeable but Foz was adamant they would annoy him (and we can’t have that.)
It would be a breeze reprinting if I could master the knack of making the stupid Epsom reject my posh thick printing paper less.
Printers are so bloody temperamental.
Being with someone while you draw like heck is not easy.
I have just been informed of all my deficiencies this weekend after the whole pervert episode.
I am rubbish on many levels. I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough money. I am too clumsy, I am too into my ‘art’. I am boring as fuck.
I wish I could deny all of this but considering I’m blogging on a Sunday evening, it does seem to verify all of the above.
Doomsday came and went with a surprising amount of calm.
However when I say that perhaps I only speak for myself.
The tension in the studio over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning was phenomenal. Even though we had only recently cleaned the studio until it gleamed like a new pin it was once again an absolute tip. There was not a single empty patch of floor or table. I’ve completely forgotten what colour either are.
Ed was muttering and swearing under his breath constantly like some old codger. Georgina looked constantly distressed. Martyn, Simeon and Anna was framing like mad. Martyn and Simeon would suddenly stop right in the middle of frantic work, make some tea and lounge around for 10 minutes in the comfy chairs and then resume insanity.
Lisa kept wandering around looking helpless. She asked me if I finished early could I finish her frames with her.
I won’t help even if I do finish early, I’d much rather go to the pub. She didn’t like that and whined a little about how we’ve all been framing and stuff for weeks already. Yes we have, and you could have too.
Tuesday I was coolly and calmly bubble wrapping (I’m so cool what can I say) but it felt like I was in a giant hive or ant nest. Everyone was crawling all over each other and generally getting under foot.
The college really needs to address this space issue. It’s physically nearly impossible to do anything except bump into people and have a running commentary of apologies ready
“Oops so sorry, haha oh sorry! Sorry again. Opps! Again, sorry. Excuse me! May I jump over your work? Opps! sorry pardon me!…”
and so on.
Tiphane’s stuff was by far the most annoying being at one point spread out over nearly 3 tables.
Martyn and I were packing the front of our frames with large sheets of cardboard on Tuesday so they are less likely to smash in the van move on Monday. I had managed to scrounge 3 pieces when Martyn came in and started eyeing Adam’s and Ed’s artwork rather longingly. We both restrained ourselves from tearing stuff out from everywhere and decided to get some boxes from the college shop instead.
Sardhna and Geoff were standing outside while all the first years were painting boards, I stood there looking out hopefully for a large box I could nick. Sardhna stopping talking and looked at me expectantly.
So I ask her, since she’s looking at me, if there happens to be any cardboard going waste lying around. Sardhna gets antsy immediately.
How dare this student interrupt her (even though I didn’t) and actually oh mah gawd oh mah gawd ask her highness a question. I mean what cheek really! Students asking questions while you’re standing around looking at them? This is really not on I say.
Tutors ought to be approached from a distance while humbly bowing and kow-towing. I should have also knocked my head on the ground 3 times before I asked her any question.
Must be the ‘punjabi begum’ etiquette thing. (I don’t know if shes a punju but ‘Sardhna’ sure sounds like one)
Anyway she got all testy and said
“This is a really bad time. You shouldn’t really be asking me that. And no we don’t have any cardboard. Why don’t you try Sainsburys.”
Instead of saying all that crap all she needed was 4 words. 4 polite words. Which would have saved her what? I don’t know, wow, 30 seconds (not wasting time and all that) instead of telling me off for nothing.
“Sorry I don’t know.”
Would have sufficed perfectly well. If I (or anyone else) had dared to ask any further questions all she has to do is reduce the number of words subsequently.
“Sorry I don’t know.”
If I then ask
“but what about if…”
she should simply reply
“I don’t know”
“but maybe there’s a….”
“Do you know if…”
“Know” or “No”
What a bad tempered cow. You could argue that this is a stress thing but this isn’t inclusive to stressful times.
She also acts as if the entire 1st floor computer room is exclusive to her digital media class. No one else should talk while she uses it. I’m sorry the college doesn’t fund you your own room but I really don’t give a shit.
There that’s my vent done for the day. I feel so much better now I must say.
Back to Doomsday:
According to whispered reports spoken in hushed tones, there was someone who forgot one of their finals at home and only realized half an hour before the deadline was due.
A few last-minute tears in our group and some cranky sniping over bubble wrap (of all things) and then we were done. Quite an anticlimax.
Martyn, Adam, Ed and I sat on the stairs leading to the 3rd floor discussing how we bored were now that we had nothing to do. Then had a brief argument over war films for some reason. Onnalin and Fernanda finished a batch of their interviews and ordered me and Martyn and me in to do our time.
Interviews were really fun actually. It’s the whole power trip thing. I was rather nervous when I walked in, as if I was being interviewed.
The room was very ‘interview-ish’, blinds down, dark blue carpet, light blue computer chairs, projector, abstract art on the walls, oval board-room type table, Foz in a suit. Very formal and professional. Amalia said he looked like he was in a costume. To be fair, it was a drastic change from Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday he was wearing the tattiest bright orange T-shirt for painting, worn out sandals and Bermuda shorts with 2 hand prints in white paint on the seat. Every time he turned around it looked as though he was being molested by the invisible man.
In my mind I was expecting all the interviewees work to be stunning and/or that we would have to ask loads of questions like in a crit. But all we did was listen to them while Gay & Foz occasionally asked the really testicle crunching questions like:
“What do you think people think when they look at your work?”
“What if I were to tell you your work looks quite boring, would you care?”
“What is you want to change about illustration with your work?”
“This is an interview obviously. Is there any reason you didn’t bring a portfolio?”
I know. Amazing right?
One of the guys looked as though he had just smoked 5 joints before he came in (I fucking hate pot-heads). Another was an amateur stand up comedian. He had the clammiest, icy cold hands. It was like I was holding the hand of the undead.
I mention I feel sad that the course is coming to a close so swiftly and Foz tells me not to be daft. (what a comfort he is)
I stood in the empty studio after we were done, viewing the colossal wreckage and debris everywhere. There was this sense of eerie calm, what I imagine is left behind when a tornado had just swept through.
Martyn destroys the sense of peace by texting me saying they are all in the Crown having a massive ‘bitch’ (I wonder who was on the menu). I complain about the Crown being a tiny shit hole and am yelled at.
Half the class had starting drinking by 3pm or earlier and were pretty plastered already. Martyn informs me helpfully that he’ll protect me if the ex comes in to beat me. I respond by saying the ex can beat him up too (but he would probably enjoy it). Adam had a girl with him, the first time I’ve ever seen him being all soft and cuddly-wuddly fuzzy-wuzzy with a female. Aw cho chweet.
Onnalin and Fernanda were ricocheting off the ceiling but decided this wasn’t quite energetic enough. So Fernanda shoves a pill down Onnalin’s mouth and in approximately 2 minutes both are bouncing up and down, rocking back and forth, talking and laughing hysterically.
It’s very strange when you’re relatively sober and attempting to have a conversation with someone completely fucked out of their brain.
Both individuals eyes start glazing over (well their eyes were already glazed but you mimic them as a response). You have to remain very calm. Say things very slowly. Keep sentences very simple. Generally agree with everything they say. No negative things. Nod a lot. It doesn’t matter what questions they ask you, you’re not expected to answer anyway.
Some 30 minutes later they suddenly crash down and drag themselves off somewhere else looking dazed. Maybe to the Duracell bunny graveyard. Who knows.
Mike and one of the cute guys from the interviews was there. Whats-his-name would leave for the loo and Mike would turn to Foz with bambi eyes and beg him to tell him if his friend got in. Foz deflected all interrogation like a pro.
The ex and I decided we would only stick around for one drink. Just one more. Ok just another. Last one.
We eventually left at 11 and had to make sure Martyn didn’t go all the way to Camden instead of Kings Cross.
Pictures courtesy of Martyn (The Voice of Bedford)
D day arrives in a little over 24 hours.
I slept at 3 got up at 8, just got back from the pub and am still fairly pumped.
A day of disaster after disaster.
Georgina discovers the laser cutter guy made a mistake on her badge calendar. She’s obviously very upset. Foz and I and everyone else tells her no one will ever notice but this doesn’t console her in the slightest.
Bruna presses her knee against her biggest frame and smashes it completely.
Tiphane leaves her frames over the Mexican’s prints which makes a scratch on the vinyl or acrylic. The Mexican is breathing fire (a tiny, very scary woman)
Athier spills white paint all over Alex’s work which is carelessly left under the table after last weeks crit.
Martyn is called over for an impromptu crit of Lisa’s work and accidentally spits on one of her prints. He runs away before Lisa starts crying. Luckily for Lisa, Martyn has very fast drying saliva.
Onnalin’s professional photo mounters screw up one of her photographs that K. had retouched and printed frantically.
Simeon’s girlfriend comes over threatening to chuck her juice all over my work. I stay well out-of-the-way, just in case.
I misaligned 2 pictures 5 times before I finally can get them centered.
I find that the ex’s drill set I borrowed drill holes too large for my screws.
I use a compass to make holes. The holes are too small and too tight. All my mirror frames are thus too loose.
I borrow someones small drill bit and while drilling the third frame it snapped suddenly. Panicked, I run to the shop and buy a replacement.
5 minutes later, just as I begin to drill it also snaps leaving 2 lovely shards of drills bits embedded in my frame.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck. The tool shop is now closed.
I had no confidence in my incompetence to think of buying a replacement for the replacement.
I fart around doing nothing for an hour before going for a drink.
I shall have to go to the tool shop early tomorrow and buy 3 drill bits. 1 for the class, 2 just for me to fuck it up.
Foz assesses my portfolio and among various tips, compliments and constructive criticism also calls me a knob.
Martyn confesses that he too snapped his drill bit. We both agree that there must be something wrong with the frames. Or the drill. Or the drill bits. Not us. No, never us.
I wish there was a pill I could swallow that would make me less of a complete fuck up.