Disappearing Rooms

From wet and cold to 32 degrees of sweltering, sweaty, humid heat.

This week has been a scorcher.

Every time I ride the tube and happen to touch the sides of the seats or the partitions there is that faint squelching sound of hot skin peeling away from plastic.

A vision of hundreds of people with their skin and the oil secreted from that skin sticking to the same plastic suddenly comes shudderingly to mind.

When did I turn into such a hypochondriac?

I used to squat shamelessly on the dirty floor of the 2nd class ladies compartment of the local from Juhu to Churchgate, just like a beggar. The occasional fisherwoman would cock an eyebrow at this.

Tsk tsk.

This is what happens when you live for too long in a first world country.

But these are small, insignificant downsides.

Like every person living in England, you can never say too much about the weather.

If it’s cold, it’s too cold. If it’s hot it’s too hot. This is a tradition. I have grown to love this tradition.

It’s the perfect opening to any tepid, polite social conversation.

An opening that rarely leads anywhere because everyone will always agree with a weather pronouncement. Like:

“Gosh it’s just TOO hot now isn’t it?

Response = Nod nod

“Fuck it’s damn cold man! I can’t stand it.”

Response: Yes! Followed by grimace.

Then both parties will reminisce about past weather and how glad we are that it’s all over.

So last Saturday the ex and I trotted off to the Southbank to splash about in the fountain to cool off.

It’s an ongoing art installation  (for about 4 years now) near the Hayward Gallery called Disappearing (or is it Re-appearing?) Rooms. A series of linear fountains making up 4 small ‘rooms’. The walls of the room made with the water randomly appear or disappear locking you in a room or allowing you to run free.

The tacitly understood game is to run from room to room dodging the fountains and trying to stay dry (ish).

The ex and I went ready with our swimsuits and towels. (I’d been here before)

I wore a polka-dotted 1950 style swim suit that the ex gave me for my birthday.  This is one of those swimsuits designed to highlight assets (breasts) and camouflage flaws (bum). It does it well. So well that I only realised their (the breasts) particular prominence when I caught a number of pre-pubescent boys flick their eyes up and down.

Flick down, flick up, flick down again, flick away.

That shocked me. Alas, what about the innocence of little children?

Those dirty little perverts.

The crowd is mostly children and the occasional adult who runs through the rooms. Most of the adults (parents) stand about around the fountain, watching and waiting, Hoping their offspring will eventually tire of the game.

After a quick ‘dip’, this was largely the ex’s role in our outing. I spent an age taking photos, for the rest I had about 3-4 dips. Running through quickly, drying off and then running through the rooms again. The ex sat on the side and read a book.

I shot about 650 photos (Sorting them out was BRUTAL. Slight blur? Delete. Not sunny enough? Delete? Unattractive child? Delete. Fat child? (Far too many) Delete. Delete delete delete.) because the chances are that some squealing person (The water is cold. High pitched squealing almost mandatory, adult or youth) would run into your frame or that the sun would irritatingly hide behind a cloud, just at the very crucial moment all the components for a perfect shot have finally aligned themselves.


15 thoughts on “Disappearing Rooms

  1. These photos are just gorgeous. I meant to write this earlier, when you first put up this post. But whatever. It’s like I can almost feel the spray of water just glancing at them. Beautiful.

    • ah thanks anon. i’ve been sorting my photos like a maniac so I should have a nice couple more batches coming up. its too hot today. bombay hot in summer. I wish i was back at the fountain

  2. Okay, moment of Man-Truth. Here’s an old joke of ours:

    “Q: What sort of girl does a six year-old boy like?
    A: Sixteen-year olds.
    Q: What sort of girl does a sixteen year-old boy like?
    A: Sixteen-year olds.
    Q: What sort of girl does a sixty year-old man like?
    A: Sixteen-year olds.”

    That’s just the facts. [and yes, I can never remember whether to hyphenate age-to-year or year-to-old]

    Consider your assets warmly complimented, Janine. You’re thirty-ish and still have It. Cherish the thought of prepubescent eyeballs gandering you top to toe as if a benediction from God. For such it is. It’s like a food inspection Grade A sticker slapped onto your boobs. Certified platinum. You’re a splashing, prancing, non-sagging brown Venus with a chorus of appraising Cupids in tow.

    God, you’re making me want to touch myself . . . .

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