Trainspotting

I love trains don’t you?

Ever since Robert Louis Stevenson designed the first train, the iconic Flying Scotsman they have got faster and faster. The train speed record was set by the Mallard with its modern looking sleek lines on its qway to the city of Truro. Some enthusiasts wear anoraks, hang around stations and copy down the train numbers. They are called trainspotters. But be warned, many trainspotters are actually out of their heads on heroin, crack cocaine, crystal meth. Or all three.

Not ‘arf

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The Car Is The Star

I love cars, don’t you?

The first car was invented by Bob Marley and the Wailers, hence the BMW roundel and logo that all modern cars have today.

Originally, cars had two wheels and were called motorcycles

Cars have a dashboard and a steering wheel, where you will find all the instruments, such as the horn.
One of the most iconic cars ever was chitty chitty bang bang who starred in “The Italian Job” along with Herbie the love bug, otherwise known as a De Lorean
To drive a car, you need a road, which is bit like a railway made out of Tarmac. Some  cars have a dipstick, which can be found behind the wheel. Not ‘arf.

Another Snippet

ART ATTACK

Ephraim J. Goodenough is an Artist.

A Conceptual Artist.

As to whether Ephraim J. Goodenough is a good Conceptual Artist is a question for another time. Surfice to say for now that Ephraim J. Goodenough is a Conceptual Artist. He is 20 and lives in London where he shares a delapidated flat in Stoke Newington with the four members of band the Rialtos.

Ephraim J. Goodenough’s schooling was unremarkable. He went to St Saviours, a Northern Catholic Co-Ed Comprehensive full of insecure hyperactive adolescents where he was systematically bullied by students and teachers alike. He was tall (over six foot) Wore National Health prescription glasses, had a pudden bowl haircut, and a tatty uniform whose seams he always appeared to be threatening to bust out of.

A sort of latter day Oliver Hardy.

It was at St. Saviour’s that he picked up his nickname ‘Effy’ (There were a few other names he was called, some of which he answered to, but they are best left forgotten) And it was here that he developed his love of Art. He was bloody hopeless at it of course, but the Art rooms provided some sort of sanctuary far from the madding crowd of nutters, half-wits and head-the-balls who spent each break and lunch time searching for Effy and others like him.

It wasn’t that Effy was lonely; he just didn’t have any friends. So he would spend all his spare time in the Art studios finishing off work or just doodling. His teacher was an old tomato known as Mr. Thomas, who as he said, might be a dab hand at the ‘smudge with the sludge’ (as he called painting) but that didn’t neccesarliy make him a good teacher. Effy and his fellow classmates knew this wasn’t false modesty. Old Thomas had been at the school for years. He bored the kids and they bored him. The story is that back in the day he was brilliant, but not now. A Shrivelled husk, all his get up and go got up and gone. All taught out. But he was an okay sort of bloke who more to the point didn’t seem to mind Effy’s company at these times.

St. Saviours is also where Effy fell in love.

With the female Art teacher Miss Clitheroe (or ‘Miss Clit’ as she was affectionately known by students.) She was a scatterbrained brunette, in her first teaching job. Effy was deeply smitten. For reasons best known to herself, one school summer camp during a trip to the beach, she flashed her ‘Lady Garden’ whilst making adjustments to her bikini bottom in the line of sight of a group of Sixth Form lads. Effy was the only one who saw it. Of course nobody believed him when he told them. He was convinced it was for his benefit, but for his tormentors it became just another stick to beat him with. It is more likely that as Miss Clitheroe seemed to have eyes only for Mike Fitzpatrick (and so the rumour went, his brother Steve) that they were her intended targets.

After secondary school, Effy somehow managed to blag his way onto a degree course in Fine Art. He was given two ‘E’s by the Admissions Tutor after interview: which just goes to show how bad the drug scene was in Higher Education, even then.

There his lack of ability was seized upon as a fresh and unpretentious approach to Art making. His cack-handedness was effectively nurtured. He certainly wasn’t taught anything about making Art; or making better Art.

The Fine Art department, originally the King George V School of Fine Art was housed in a building to the south east of the university quadrangle, I say ‘housed’, in fact it was partly housed; namely the Library, gallery, workshops and studios, in this imposing 1923 structure with its bronze statue of King George V installed in the niche above the Queen’s Road entrance, wrought iron gates and tower with a double-arched gateway. The rest (offices, more workshops and studios) were to be found in a Modernist white cube, tacked on to the original building.

The first years were ‘taught ‘(and I use the term loosely here) together in a large warehouse of a studio in the new block. They were a strange bunch: a disparate crew of potential artists-in-the-making, all at different stages in their understanding of Art, what it was, what it might be, and how they might fit in to the ‘big picture’. (All issues Effy had to say, the Fine Art course of the time singularly failed to confront, but then what did he know?)

Effy found himself as lonely here as he had been in school. He lacked the confidence to bask in the glow (a result of the heady mixture of wonderment, envy and hate) given off by his fellow artists.

In the foundation year at the end of every project there was a ‘Crit’ during which every student’s work was veiwed in turn and evaluated. Comments were passed by students and staff. One of the first they were set was entitled something like ‘Object and Environment’ and was clearly an attempt to elicit responses from the students to the likes of Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Ready Mades’ which aside from using materials in an innovative way – in a sense to represent themselves, had started to (apparently) ask all sorts of awkward questions of the received aesthetic script that was Modernism.

Effy had gone ‘skip-hunting’ a popular activity for Art students at the time, when they couldn’t think of anything better to do or had no money to buy materials (in Effy’s case both) Ostensibly it was validated as a search for new Art media and Effy had, by the end of the project amassed a sizable rubbish tip in his work space. From this rubbish tip he had reclaimed some multicore telecommunication cable He was half-heartedly making some diorama thing with figures made from the stripped wire which was supposed to say something about the experience of entering and leaving a building. It wasn’t finished, and even with the addition of some drawings hastily rattled out the previous evening, it didn’t look like two week’s work.

So the ‘crit’ began, the tutors picking away at sketchbooks and notepads like vultures round a carcass. They were lead by the first year Foundation Course leader William Panter. Panter was a well known Art critic for a national newspaper. He had a broad forehead behind which was a shock of salt and pepper curls, with which he favoured wooly crew necked jumpers and elephant cords, not forgetting a bushy moustache. Finally they got to Effy’s workspace. His hands were sweating his stomach had dropped like a stone. Ignoring the wire figures, Panter squatted down like a North American Indian (hence his nickname amongst the First Years ‘The Great White Chief.’ And after gazing at the pile of rubbish, finally spoke

‘But it’s beautiful’

he cooed in front of the collection of detritus. He held a cigarette between the first joints of his very straight first and index fingers took a long drag and exhaled blinking his right eye where smoke had gone in. (When he did this he looked for all the world like the actor James Finlayson, probably best remembered as the villain in Laurel and Hardy films.)

‘Don’t you think?’

The tutors looked at one another.

‘I agree’ said Phylidda Laidlaw, Tutor in Sculpture and 3D Studies. ‘It is powerful statement of intent. I am interested in the way it sits in the space. Where does it begin? Where does it end?

Gavin Dobson (Painting and Mixed Media) looked harrassed

‘But there’s no paint’

‘Gavin dear it is so clear that you are still clinging to the last vestiges of Modernism and letting that cloud your critical faculties’announced Fabian Gravy (Lens based imagery)

‘But one of the greatest painters in the world, Picasso said ‘Beauty must be convulsive or cease to be’’ interjected Panter. ‘He would have loved the vision of this piece and its use of found objects’

‘Ah typical. Picasso. If ever there was an artist that illustrated the Modernist preoccupation with a patriarchal sensibilty and obssession with aesthetics’ countered Gravy.

‘But there’s no paint’ repeated Dobson.

‘But.. . it’s just a pile of rubbish. ’ Piped up one of the students, a red-headed girl wearing overalls and Monkey Boots.

‘Ahha!’ said Panter, suddenly animated. ‘It would just be a pile of rubbish if it was out there’ He nodded his head in the direction of one of the studio windows and the car park beyond.

‘But it’s not. It’s in here.’

‘Err, yeah so… ?’

‘The context has changed. It has become something else’

‘Aye a pile of shite’ said the Monkey Boot girl loconically. Her name was Ruby.

‘When is an artwork not an artwork?’ Mused Panter taking another long drag of his cigarette.

‘When it’s a pile of shite’ muttered Ruby under her breath.

TBC

© Andy Daly 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stupidity #2

I was reminded this weekend of classic piece of stupidity and thought I would share it with you.

A former aquaintance of mine told me this sorry tale.

His first job on graduating from University was in the City. Now it comes along Christmas time with office parties and all the shenanigans that go along with them. He of course, only thinking it right and proper, goes along to the party being held by his employers, where he has a good time – although if the truth be told he guzzles a bit too much of the old falling down water, what with it being Christmas and all.

The time comes to go home. Our hero lives near Gatwick, so he makes his way to Victoria to get the Gatwick express which has a regular service running through the night ending in Brighton. What can go wrong?

Well, it all starts to unravel when Our hero falls asleep before he gets to Gatwick and wakes up in Brighton. He is clearly upset at making such a school-boy error, but not  unreasonably thinks the night is still young.’I’ll just get a train back in the opposite direction and alight at Gatwick’

fellasleep

Except he doesn’t does he? No he falls asleep again and wakes up in Victoria.

Back to Gatwick, he wakes up in Brighton.

He spends all night in various modes of slumber going backwards and forwards to Brighton and Victoria until at 6am. he finally decides to call it a day and return to work.

Truly a hard day’s night

 

Snippets #1

The Phone Call

On saturday night I went to an Ann Summers party – fab clothing, shame about the fight….not kidding…drinks were thrown. I just trampolined with the dog.

Sunday dragged a bit after all that excitement. I was nursing a mild hangover and decided to see whether a bath might restore my flagging spirits. So it was with some annoyance that as I slipped into the soothing water my peace and quiet was shattered by a ringing of the phone.

‘Leave it’

I said to myself. But it went on and on, so I gathered a towel around me and padded into the bedroom  Where is it? In the pocket of my jeans?.Only for the bloody thing to stop just as I get to it.

‘Typical’

But as I was just about to return to the cooling waters of my bath, when it went again.

‘Oh for fuck’s sake’ I said to myself thickly as, once again I rushed into the bedoom to locate my phone.

‘Hello’ I said

‘Err Hi.Is that Paula? A male voice asked.

‘No, you’ve got the wrong number there’s no-one here called Paula’ I replied curtly as I glanced through to the bathroom.

‘Oh …Sorry. I was sure I had the right number’

‘What number are you looking for?’ I asked

My impatience was growing

‘Let me see … 0796 838 2122’

He replied

‘That’s why, this is 0786 838 2121 …You have dialled a wrong number’

‘Oh I’m sorry. Sorry to bother you’

‘Okay’

‘By …

Paula pressed the red button before he finished. She went to the bedroom and checked the call-back service but it was a witheld number.

‘Hmmmmm’ she thought to herself as she returned to the bathroom.

She laid the towel on the radiator and slipped back into the tub.She tried running a bit more hot water but the immersion heater was empty.

So he had her phone number.

Thanks to Hannah

Dolores Valium: Actress and Socialite

As soon as the director yelled ‘Cut’ Dolores exploded. Brice Surtees recoiled. The crew and sound guys stood, holding props, cables and coffees open-mouthed, as She launched into a tirade of invective at Harvey. Everyone was aghast. Dolores left no-one in any doubt about what she thought about his abilities as a lover or of his ‘dumbass story’ As far as she was concerned’  Harvey could ‘Blow it out of his ass’

’Your’re a cheap bastard, Harvey Hampersand, and I never want see you again’

And with that, Dolores tore off her false eyelashes and flounced off the soundstage and into the parking lot.
New York City seemed a much better proposition than calforn-aye-ey . Dolores had the apartment at Lexington and 63rd she had bought with her late husband Philco Carburettor a theatrical impressario with sideline in protection, extortion and money laundering. It was a swell joint and had been the venue for many exclusive and memorable parties in the Roaring Thirties

Ypres 1915

I find myself in a large room with a single small table and two chairs placed oppsite each other. It looks for all the world like an old hospital ward. There are large floor to ceiling height windows which curve around the end of the room, and I surmise means that the building I am in forms a cescent at this end. Long fine white drapes hang down over the windows, letting in a surprising amount of light, but diffusing it, so that shadows play slowly on the curtains and into the room. The place smells of carbolic, like the bathroom in my great grandparents’ house. Otherwise it is empty

I pull out the nearest chair sit down and wait.

After what seems about three or four minutes, behind me I hear the noise of a door opening. Someone enters the room, closes the door firmly and walks over to where I am sitting, pulls out the other chair, and sits down. As he does so I notice that I hear a sprinking sound of dried mud as it drops from my companion’s trousers and tunic; which are of a drab faded khaki onto the floor.

He gives the slightest of nods by way of greeting and I do likewise. He reaches up to his breast pocket and pulls out a battered Old Holborn tobacco tin, opens it and motions me to take a roll up cigarette, with a shake of my head and a faint smile, I decline.

He picks one out ( there are about half a dozen ready rolled and a bit of loose tobacco in the tin) and, taking a box of matches from the same pocket, lights it. He extinguishes the match and, without even looking for an ashtray, drops it on the floor, and then grinds his boot on it just to make sure.

He takes a long drag of his cigarrette, I hear the mellow ‘Pah’ sound as he finishes his pull, before    removng it from his lips and inhaling deeply, his eyes never leaving my face. He puts his tongue out a little way and picks of a couple of small pieces of tobacco from it. I notice that his hands are black, with dirt ingrained into the folds and creases of skin and beneath the fingernails. The smoke is blown out of his nose in a great plume, it mixes with the more unruly whisps which come from the cigarette. He sits back in his chair, putting his right foot over his left knee. I notice the dry mud-caked hobnailed boots he is wearing . He takes another long drag, then sits up, his piercing blue eyes searching mine.

“Who are you?”

Love Thy Neighbour

(Warning. Content which might offend. May contain nuts)

Overheard on a tube train last night…

‘So, I’m getting really pissed off with the noise, so I thinks ‘Right I’m going to fucking sort this out’ So I get a can of yellow paint out the shed, I go over there and chuck it all over the fucking windows and the door. I’m wearing my Reeboks, y’know the black ones? And then I realise it’s on my fucking trainers leaving prints everywhere.’

 paintfootprints

‘ I had to run three times round the estate, before it wore off and I could go home’.

© Andy Daly 2015

Come and have go if you think you’re hard enough!

Warning. May not be suitable for people of a nervous disposition. This post is issued with an 18 certificate. Features football violence and lots of bloody swearing.

Manchester United did their promotion hopes no harm at all after running out clear victors over a lacklustre Blackpool side at Bloomfield Road this afternoon; Forsyth, Macari, and Mc Calliog all getting onto the scoresheet. The event was marred by some crowd trouble ouside the ground when groups of United fans ran amok along the seafront and Pleasure Beach. Police said they made three arrrests. Blackpool nil Manchester United three.

21 OCTOBER 1974

A Monday morning on the furthest muddy reaches of the school grounds. Marked by a saggy chain link fence. Most of the pupils keep to the path as they walk towards the school gates. A small group of lads, however use the sag in the fence to climb through. They gather by a mature sycamore tree and some bushes, which gives them cover from the main gates. Their breath condenses in the chilly autumn air.

‘Come on, spark up’. Says one. He is wearing a feather-style haircut, parallels, black zip up platform shoes. His school blazer is done up with the middle button . Its badge bears the legend ‘Caritas’. His tie is tied in a ludicrous huge flapping knot.

Yeah C’mon we ‘aven’t got much time. Says another, wearing a cheap black crombie coat over his blazer. Brogues and red socks on his feet.

They all get out their fags, Feather cut takes out a zippo lighter and each in turn light their cigarettes. ‘Ahhhhhh….’ They let out a collective gasp of relief.

‘Did you see it then?’

‘What? ‘

‘Sat’day night’

‘What? I went out Sat’day night,’

‘It were fuckin’ hilarious’

‘What were?’

‘Finny. Din’t you see ‘im?’

‘Ont’ telly?’

‘No, what happened?’

‘Well, he went to Blackpool wi’ United and you know there was bit of a tear up with the cops? Well Finny was right at the front. So I’m watchin telly Sat’day night waiting for Match of the Day and on’t News, you know how they have a picture about each news story? Y’know? Behind Reginald fuckin’ Bosanquet. They only had a massive picture of Finny … leading the fuckin’ troops.I nearly fuckin’ pissed meself’.

‘Ey here he is now’. Finny skips over the fence. Hair like an explosion in a Ginger Nut factory. They all pretend to bow and scrape before him

‘We’re not worthy’ they cry.

‘All right stop all the bollocks you set of cunts. Who’s got a spare fag ? ‘

He takes a cigarrete and Feather cut lights it for him.

‘So, have you had any offers?’ Feather asks Finny.

‘What offers? What the fuck are you on about?’

‘Offers, You know, Hollywood? TV and that. I’d have thought that the producers of Starsky and Hutch would have on the phone after your appearance on Sat’day night TV’. They all burst out laughing. Finny attempts a half hearted kick, but Feather is too fast.

‘What did your Old Man say about it?’

‘He never saw it did he, he was in the pub. Fucking good photo though. Mind you the cops gave us a right kicking. I were black and blue Sunday morning’

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough … Look at the flares!

‘Oh shite, look out it’s Harris!’ A teacher strides purposefully across the playing field, he has spotted them: too late, they try and dock their fags and pocket them.

‘You boys! Stay where you are.’ Mr. Harris affectionately known as ‘Bummer Harris’ is Head of PE and likes to throw his weight around a lot. ‘I thought it might be you lot. Have you any idea what it looks like from the staff car park? It’s as if the tree was on fire, clouds of smoke billowing out of it. Let’s have them’ He looks at Finny.

‘Finnerty, give’

‘I haven’t got any Sir, honest’

Harris pats Finny down – as roughly as possible

‘How about you Kinsella?’ Reluctantly the boy puts his hand into his blazer pocket and takes out his packet of ten.

‘Sovreign? Quick Burns?’ Harris says, turning his not insubstantial nose up at them.

‘Owyahh!’ shouts Feather, his half smoked cigarette is smouldering in his trouser pocket and has just worked its way through the lining.

‘You Goon!’ Yells Harris as Feather tries to get the offending article out of his trousers. (If you see what I mean) Harris adresses them all ‘ Mr. Baldwin’s’s office, line up outside, NOW!’

‘Not you Finnerty’. He grabs the boy’s shirt collar and backs him against the tree. Speaking close to the his face So that Finny is able to smell the stale tobacco on the teacher’s breath.

‘So, I saw you made the news on Saturday night’

‘Well, didn’t you lad?’

‘Yes Sir’.

‘Go on. Mr. Baldwin’s office with the rest of those idiots AND think yourself lucky that Mr. Baldwin was at a Parents and Teachers’ Association Treasure Hunt on Saturday night. And unless you want me to tell him how you’ve dragged the school’s reputation through the mud, you’d better keep your nose clean. Do I make myself clear?’

‘Yes Sir’

‘Now go’

As he trudged to the Headmaster’s Office Finny couldn’t help but wonder about what he was sensing from Harris. Something other than all the play acting about the fags.

It couldn’t be jealousy

Could it?

© Andy Daly 2015

For Whom The Bell Trolls

Trolls: ugly, bad-tempered critters

Trolls: ugly, bad-tempered critters

One of the stories that has passed into family legend over the years concerns my Dad and an angry Troll.

And it goes like this.

Back in the early ’60s my Dad was bit of a pioneer in taking school kids and Scouts on on adventure trips in the UK and abroad; skiing, walking and climbing and the like. Of course, it was very different to today’s experience. There were no piste-side hotels with all mod-cons. Instead they would trek in the snowy wastes of Norway or climb the Cullins on Skye living on reindeer steaks or freshly caught crab. It was an era when a ‘make the most of everything’ spirit and self-sufficiency prevailed. An involvement in Scouting was indicative of someone who wanted to better themselves and improve the lot of others. This was before celebrity paedophiles and calculating clergymen crawled out from under their cold, dark, damp stones and began to poison a generation.

In 1963 my Dad was in Norway with a group of Scouts from the School in the Kirklees area of  Huddersfield where he worked. One particular day they were trekking through an ice fall, sliced with yawning deep crevasses alongside sheer walls of ice and the constant threat of avalanche.

All of a sudden there is an almighty crash as a block of ice ‘the size of a mini’ as my Dad has always described it, crashes down among the party before disappearing, down a huge crevass. My Dad receives a glacing blow on the forehead as it passes. He is knocked unconscious briefly, but remembers coming to with ringing in his ears and confusion as to why the snow is all red.

He had sustained a nasty gash to the head, which really needed to be stitched. They bound the wound as best they could, and the party retreated off the mountain. They made for a farmer’s cottage they had noticed on the way out. At the sight of my Dad’s head, the farmer’s wife went into the kitchen and brought back a jar of starch (used to stiffen fabrics). She cleaned up the cut then applied the starch to both sides, held them together for a few minutes until the wound  closed up.

The farmer’s wife did such a good job, that my Dad didn’t bother to go to the Hospital and was left with only a minor scar above his eyebrow.

So what caused this sudden and catastrophic fall of ice? Well, we grew up (that is, me and my brothers)  with the bedtime story in which the ice was hurled by a particularly grumpy Troll.

I should stress that this was not an ‘Internet Troll’, someone who spreads hate and does other horrible things anonymously on the World Wide Web; but a Troll of Norse folklore, an ugly cave-dwelling, bridge-guarding monster who it seems took umbrage at My Dad’s party tramping through his patch. My Dad caught a glimpse of him, before he lost consciousness.

Or so he says.

© Andy Daly 2015

 

THE GREAT BRITISH PAINT OFF 2O14

Seeing as it that time of year again, I thought I would dust the flour of this one and give you a chance to read it if you missed it first time around.

What with all the furore over some baking programme, you may have missed this excellent series which tests the painting skills of its contestants with a series of challenges to find out who is the Master painter.

It all came to a head last week in the idyllic surroundings of the St Ives School of Painting; established by Leonard Fuller in the historic Porthmeor studios at the centre of St Ives’ artists’ quarter in 1938. Artists who have lived and worked in the town include Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo, Roger Hilton and Terry Frost to name but a few. It makes a fine setting for the grand finale.

And guess who is in the final?

That’s right. Your’s truly. Along with Peggy and Alison.

The Studio

The Studio

ABOUT THE SHOW

If you have no idea what I am babbling on about, The Great British Paint Off is the ultimate painting battle where passionate amateur painting fans compete to be crowned the UK’s Master Painter. Over the course of 10 hour-long episodes, the series follows the trials and tribulations of the competitors, young and old, from every background and every corner of Britain, as they attempt to prove their painting prowess, under the watchful eyes of our judges, ably assisted by random comedians. Each week the painters tackle a different skill, which become progressively more difficult as the competition unfolds. Their knowledge of the practical aspects of painting are thoroughly tested as is their nerve and ablity to cope with pressure.

THE CHALLENGES

SIGNATURE PIECE

Testing the painters’ personality, creative flair and painting ability, the main challenge here is to produce something robust and conceptually sound. It will show a mastery of technique as well as confidence with colour whether it be naturalistic, symbolic or expressive.

TECHNICAL PIECE

This challenge separates the wheat from the chaff. Take one basic genre, and with the same instructions, ask our painters to produce a finished product… sound easy? Well, any variation on the finished product will be a result of their own technical knowledge and experience – or lack of. Painters are laid bare in this task and this is where the pressure’s really on in the Paint-off.

SHOWSTOPPER PIECE

The gloves are off in this final challenge where the painters are able to showcase their depth of skill and talent. The complexities of this task call for a professional standard in style AND substance. Are they up to it? The judges will be looking for the most impressive and creative creations.

THE PRESENTERS

The Chuckle Brothers. Paul and Barry Elliott found their first taste of success when they won the television talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1967 and since then have appeared in a number of TV and radio shows, the most memorable being their BAFTA nominated ‘Chucklevision’. Best known for their catchphrase ‘To Me … to You … to Me … to You … PAINT!’

Paint!

Paint!

THE JUDGES

Nicholas Serota and the grand old dame of British painting, David Hockney.

‘Nasty Nick’ is Director of the Tate and with it the country’s major collection of Modern/Contemporary Art at the Tate Modern and British Painting and sculpture at Tate Britain. Formerly in charge of the Whitechapel Gallery, he has also been chairperson of the Turner Prize Jury. It is widely rumoured that he doesn’t in fact like painting at all.

Incompetent

Incompetent

David Hockney is the nation’s favourite painter. After studying at the Royal College, she emerged into the London of the ‘Swinging Sixties’. It wasn’t long before LA called, and Hockney gained attention for her ‘Pop’ treatment of such subjects as portraits and swimming pools. Recently returned to live in Bridlington from where she has been producing landscape paintings with her i-pad.

Scrummy

Scrummy

So, how did I do? (If you don’t want to see the results till you’ve watched it on I Player, look away now)

ANDY WARHOL

Well, my initial happiness at being given the subject ‘An Andy Warhol Portrait’ for the Signature piece soon evaporates as I realise it is not as easy as it looks. I make the mistake of trying to be clever and do a modern take on the ‘Marilyn Diptych’, using Miley Cyrus as the subject. I’ve

Marilyn Diptych

Marilyn Diptych

had better ideas. Especially seeing as I didn’t check the composition of the photo emulsion you coat the silkscreen with in order to make the printed repeat heads. It was water-based and because I was using acrylic paint, the photo stencil started to break down after five or six prints. I managed to keep it together by plugging the holes with newsprint, but it still came out looking more like Simon Cowell than Miley.

I was dreading hearing Barry Chuckle announce ‘Painters put down your brushes, time’s up!’

Nick was particularly scathing, saying he’d never seen anything so … er I think the word was incompetent, in his life; and seemed to enjoy pointing out that where the failed stencil allowed the ink to run through and mix with the paint it left rather a soggy bottom.

David was much kinder. She thought my textures were ‘scrummy’ and that the painting as a whole had ‘lots of bite’.

However, I get the wooden spoon. Peggy wins this particlar challenge with a cunning portrait of David Cameron painted as though it was one of Warhol’s Death and Disaster series.

ITALIAN ALTAR

So on to the next test, the Technical Challenge.

Which is, explains Paul Chuckle, to produce an altar panel, that uses quatrocento icongraphy, space, colour, symbolism and media. Piece of cake. Now where’s my recipie for gesso and my Lapis Lazuli?

I decide to paint a Baptism of Christ on a poplar panel with egg tempera. Once I’m back from Poplar with the panel, I don’t have a lot of time left, but I‘m still feeling quietly confident. I am using a traditional gesso with a rabbit skin binder (phew!) chalk and some white pigment to create a suitable substrate on the poplar in order to use my egg tempera. It is a tricky business, but once all the layers are dry, I begin painting with the egg tempera; which is basically ground pigment mixed with egg yolk.

I work fast, using Piero Della Francesca as my model. I have Christ and his cousin in the foregound in naturalistic space with the landscape, more banks of the Arno than the banks of the Jordan, sweeping away into the distance. I even manage a bit of hidden geometry as I work in two circles of equal radius, centered on the Dove From Above and the water droplet as it falls onto Christ’s forehead. Adding faces to these circles to create happy and sad emoticons, in retrospect wasn’t a good idea.

Piero Della Francesca Baptism of Christ

Piero Della Francesca Baptism of Christ

The wheels begin to come off, or rather the paint begins to come off as I make my way to the judging table. Bugger! My gesso is lifting off the panel and taking the paint with it.

Nick: ‘This one is a clumsy and crass collision between the traditional and the contemporary’ (See? I knew the emoticons were a bad idea)

‘So it’s Post-Modern then?’ I suggest helpfully.

‘What we’re trying to say’ adds Hockney ‘is that when you do a pain’ing like this, (She doesn’t pronounce the ‘t’) at this level you’ve got to get everything right. I mean this pain’ing would look fine in a little gallery in Harrogate as a Renaissance pastiche, but not really here.’

‘No not really here’ echoes Nick.

I am beginning to wish he would shut his cakehole.

Alison takes the Technical with her paintings of scenes from the life of St. Peter done as pradella panels.

I am beginning to get a bad feeling about this.

SHOWSTOPPER

And so, onto the final test, the Showstopper Challenge. Barry and Paul send the judges out of the studio and I close my eyes as they announce our final test: ‘Domestic Interior’ and ‘No slacking’. That’s all they say. Oh crikey! I wasn’t expecting this. Alison has made a flying start and is working on a still life on a table in front of a window, showing the flowers from the cottage garden outside.

Eggs, bacon and a slice. Do you want anything else with that love?

Eggs, bacon and a slice. Do you want anything else with that love?

Peggy goes for an ambitious composition, loosely based on Velazquez’s ‘Old Woman Cooking Eggs’ – ‘Old Woman Making Sushi’ while I go for a Georges Braque/Patrick Caulfield-inspired kind of Synthetic Cubism Still Life with collaged real objects. What could go wrong?

Patrick Caulfield

Patrick Caulfield

georgesbraque

Well. Quite a lot as it happens.

I tackle a canvas which is way too big in the time allowed and I don’t fully resolve the rich textured surfaces of Braque with the flat minimalist colour areas lifted from Caulfield. ‘Oh dear oh dear’ says Paul as he looks from my painting to the clock and back again. I scratch some scraffito passages down the left hand side which look OK. The paint looks lovely and buttery but it is obvious I have bitten off more than I can chew, even if it is al dente (or do I mean impasto?) Anyway, the result is more ‘Dog’s Breakfast’ than idyllic interior scene.

Finally, the Chuckle Brothers put me out of my misery and we are banished from the studio as the judges deliberate.

It doesn’t take them long. They emerge from the studio and Barry makes the announcement.

‘It has been a hard-fought contest, hasn’t it Paul? But there can be only one Master Painter, so without further ado, the winner of The Great British Paint Off 2013 is …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Alison!’

Well I could see it coming frankly. Alison gets the trophy and I get to clean the brushes.

I’m done with painting. I reckon I’m going to dust of my Mum’s old cookery books and have a go at some baking.

©Andy Daly 2013..

Unfortunately it has not been possible to show any of the paintings produced in the competition due to copyright issues (Phew!) Thanks to all the Veroccio Gang Summer 2013, The St. Ives Gang Autumn 2013, Maggie, Rob, Pat, Gary, Alice and Marion.

Fluttering To Deceive

A funny thing happens the other day. My youngest and his girlfriend Sunita go out to the movies. Afterwards, she stays the night as she sometime does. Continue reading