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"I want to buy some art..."

07 September 2004

I will never forget the episode of Absolutely Fabulous where Eddie walks in to a gallery and says "I want to buy some art" and then wanders around without knowing anything, buying random bits of junk they tell her is art. When the gallery sales woman gives her a patronising look, Eddie bites back "You can drop the attitude. You only work in a shop you know!!"

I felt a bit like Eddie last night. J. asked me to come to a vernissage: the opening of an exhibition by Irish painter John Nolan. The place where she does a summer internship sponsors this guy and it is his first exhibition in the UK. JJ. Asked me to look fashionably cool. The Art-interested lesbian who goes to plenty of these things. Right....what kind of look is that?

We got there and there were about 30 people there in a tiny space. All grasping a glass of champagne (Error number One: we had dinner before we left because Barbarians we are, we did not realise there would be loads of nibbles for the aristocracy), chatting and looking at a mere 15 paintings on display. I liked The Art.

I did not appreciate the pricelist though. The cheapest piece was £195 and about 20x20 centimetres. Very colourful and bright stuff but not quite in our reach.

J. and I knew nobody except 2 people from her work so we spent some time looking interested in The Art and trying to look like Two Cool Lesbians (J. was dressed in her French existentialist black turtleneck jumper so at least she looked the part). Then The Artist's wife came to talk to us. Rather......was told to talk to us by J.s boss. Meaningless chitchat followed for a while with J. talking about running a business and me trying to nod and approve at the right moments.

Time for more champagne. These things never seem to be about The Art. They are one big freebie and a chance for everyone to get pissed on free Champagne. There was nobody there who did not have a drink in his/her hand. See, The Establishment always looks down on people who don't know their Art. But The Establishment loves a freebie just as much as the next person (After all, that is how they made their money). Just their freebies are Champagne and mine are beer and crisps at a birthday party.

We left in time to catch the last episode of Silent Witness with Sam Ryan in it. I guess no matter how much you love The Art or how much you hate it, in the end we all die.

(The point of that remark is lost on me as much as on you I think.....)


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