Tag Archives: art

But Is It Art?

IMG-20130508-00148It was a lovely plan – a day spent at the art gallery.

I imagined myself wandering around (artistically), lost in thought, occasionally throwing out deep and insightful comments to my companion in reverential, hushed tones.

He would be impressed by the breadth of my knowledge, adding musings of his own.

Afterwards, we would sit in the cafe and contemplate the wondrous art we had seen over double-shot espressos and hand-crafted scones.

I guess we just weren’t in the mood. We scooted through the galleries, stopping short at odd, randomly-placed sculptures before moving on to the modern art section. We whizzed past each picture:


‘What’s that supposed to be?’

‘The Teenager could do better than that.’

‘Hey, check this out, it’s supposed to represent the dichotomy of suffering in an existential landscape’ (a canvas with two blobs on it).

‘Wow, this guy was pretty radical, he painted the frame too.’


‘Yeah, let’s go.’

We ended up by the coast and looked out over the sea whilst waiting for the restaurant to open. My friend had a mischievous grin as he started bouncing in the seat of his wheelchair.

‘Seagull! Want seagull!’

‘Shut up, people are looking.’

‘Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream.’

‘Shhhhhhh. People are staring.’

‘That’s the whole point. They probably think there’s something wrong with me anyway, sitting in a wheelchair. Wanna go on the boat. Boat, boat, boat. ‘

Thankfully, lunch passed without incident and we discussed everything and nothing about living with MS and whether it was acceptable to poke fun at ourselves and our disabilities.

We decided to round off the afternoon with a coffee. Queuing up, that mischievous glint returned to his eye. In a loud voice he announced ‘Aww, you’re the best carer I’ve ever had.’

And no, the ground did not open up and swallow me…

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Arthouse Bingo

bingo timeThe Teenager was away at the weekend, so I went to an arty cafe/winebar/arts space to pretend to be cultivated, arty and interesting. Hopefully my pale, MS-tired face added to the mystique.

To pass the time and look as if I am writing an angsty novel, I play ‘Arthouse Bingo’. The rules are easy – a point if you can spot each of the following, and if you get to 5, buy yourself another drink:

  • Massively over-sized lampshades, preferably in black.
  • No menus, just a huge blackboard with locally-sourced food, i.e. they went to the local Lidl, bought some salami and Parma ham and slapped it on a slate tile with a couple of sliced gherkins.
  • A higher than average array of beardy men (and some women). Likewise, a higher than average amount of red trousers worn.
  • A minimum of 30 European beers with ‘ironic’ names – the easy way to get intellectually inebriated.
  • Lots of conversations starting with, ‘But is it art?’
  • A tribe of wild-looking children running amok as the parents look on indulgently, ‘Juniper, Hugo and Mabel, darlings, untie Milly and come and eat your asparagus soldiers.’
  • A book-swap corner – a bookcase where you can bring your old tat and swap it for a 1992 Driving Atlas of France.
  • Coffee must be handpicked by an organic wizard in deepest Columbia.
  • Lots of women with flowing hair, strings of hand-made beads and jangly silver bracelets.
  • Old Skool puddings on the menu – spotted dick, apple crumble, custard, etc. Such fun!
  • At least 5 terribly anguished-looking people hunched over MacBooks.
  • If there is a cinema, listen out for, ‘Oh, but I preferred the book, the original Dutch translation.’
  • Everyone speaks very LOUD. No need for music unless there is a visiting harmonica group from Patagonia.

Anyway, I passed a lovely couple of hours, braying loudly, speculating as to whether the huge painting in the bar was art or not. I rattled my beads intelligently and enjoyed my ironic glass of dry white wine. I have past form in these places – as a teenager, I considered myself to be the coolest person ever, standing by the bar, beret on, reading Jean-Paul Sartre and talking utter nonsense.

If I had the nerve (and legs), I would love to turn up in a denim mini-skirt and white stilettos. Only two flaws with that plan – one, I can’t walk in heels and two, the crowd would probably think I was the performance art…….

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