Friday, 23 December 2011

The Hangover

Okay.  So it is the morning after the Ice Bar incident and I have woken up with a banging head and a mouth like a Turkish wrestler’s jockstrap.  Shabby is not the word.  It’s okay though, because as I lie comatose on the bed wondering how long it is going to take me to get upright, my head is swimming so much, I remember that it is Friday and I am still on holiday!  Huzzah!  Then I remember that it is the last day before the Shah starts his new job and that he too has the day off and we are due to spend it together....oh God.

Yes, we have promised each other that we will go up to town (again – hurray.  Not.) and spend a happy day in each other’s company.  I could wimp out and spend the day in bed, sipping tea until I feel human again, but this day out was the Shah’s idea and those ideas are, let me tell you, like hen’s teeth.

So I stagger out of bed and lurch around a bit, feeling totally dreadful but pretending to be FINE.  We get the train up to Waterloo and I can go no further.  My head is swimming, my stomach is rumbling and I know that the only thing that is going to get me through the day is a large, greasy meal.  Ideally, we are talking a full English but, in the absence of bacon and eggs on the concourse, we settle for Burger King.  Never has anything so vile tasted so good and hit the spot in quite the same way.  2 minutes after finishing it, I am a woman transformed!  We head to the taxi rank (well I wasn’t transformed quite enough to consider endless Tube journeys...have a heart.)

First stop was Tate Modern.  Just so’s you understand, any outing that involves both of us, has to be very democratically arranged because our interests are so totally and utterly divergent.  The Shah avoids matters cultural like the plague.  His interests are basically technology and sport, both of which send me into a stupor.  So, in order to keep us both happy, we have agreed to a gallery, a film and a curry.

So, like I said – here we are at Tate Modern.  I absolutely love it – there’s always something interesting going on – loads of different things on offer – The WeatherProject installation by Olafur Eliasson in 2004 was stunning and I could have stayed there for hours just watching it.  The Shah pronounced it to be shite.  What a surprise.  According to him, anyone could have bought a yellow light bulb and bunged it into the Turbine Hall.  As if.  However, the good thing about dragging him around such a place is the monologue he keeps up all the way round.  In his defence this time, I have to say that quite a few of the exhibits we saw were um, inexplicable and (whisper it if I dare) *crap*.

Here are a few examples.  It’s not the exhibits themselves per se, it’s more the explanation that sits on the wall beside them explaining their meaning, or attempting to:-
How quaint - a melted elephant.

This one, I like to call 'Teenager's Bedroom'
The Shah meandered from room to room becoming more exasperated by the "Art" on show with every footstep.  The sighing grew louder, the cries of "what the actual f...?" came more often.  He declared himself a mug because, if only he had thought of banging a few dozen nails into a piece of wood and painting the whole lot white like this...

and calling it 'White Field' he could have made a mint.  

Here is a particular favourite called 'Some broken sticks adorned with fluff.'

But this one really stole the show...

Yes, this is a piece of paper stuck to the wall
The explanation on the wall next to this gave its name as 8th Paper Octagonal 1970 by someone called Richard Tuttle.  I am not familiar with Mr Tuttle's work but apparently he makes a habit of cutting wonky paper shapes and sticking them on walls.  Indeed, the blurb informed us that "...the Octagonals are paper shapes that he cut from a template and glued to the wall..." just like in playschool, you mean?  Apparently, "the orientation of the shape can vary from one installation to the next."  Which roughly translates as "sometimes he sticks them upside down".  Also "as an object, it is paper thin but still takes up an awkward place between painting and sculpture."  Oh really?  So it's not just covering an awkward water mark on the wall then?  You do surprise me.  

The Shah rumbled on. I decided it may be time to leave - via the shop, of course as this allows him yet more grounds for huffing and puffing over the inflated prices charged and give him immense satisfaction in the process.  

Later on, over a well-deserved curry at Masala Zone, we fell to discussing cultural differences after I had to spend 10 minutes convincing a sceptical waitress that, yes I did like my food spicy and that, if she brought me some pap like Chicken Tikka Masala, I was likely to stick her with a fork.  The Shah wondered if he would be treated differently if he changed his name to an Irish one.  I suggested he give Phil O'Stine a try.


  1. I'm chuckling away. I'd also love to hear the Shah's considered critical views on the exploded shed and the decaying fruit video.

  2. Ahh....a date romantic. As for ART? I wish we had a pound for every time we gasped 'wtf' at some 'installation'....

  3. HFBS - I don;t recall the decaying fruit video but there was a nice film of a paper bag blowing down a street. This caused the Shah to shout "oh for F*ck's sake" very loudly in a room full of earnest-looking goatee-bearded geezers, each with a copy of the Guardian under one arm. He quite liked the exploded shed last time - it gave him inspiration ....

  4. Libby - you are so right. I really do think I could manufacture some old tat from the dregs of what is hidden in the bowels of the garden shed and make a fortune...

  5. I'm afraid I'm with the Shah, I too get dragged to look at 'art' occasionally and generally manage to disgrace myself by failing to understand any of it...

  6. HF - me too, to be honest. It's just that I quite enjoy trying to understand it!

  7. Oh god this makes me want to go down to London for the day!
    Or eat a burger king....
    Or just congratulate you on having conquered you hangover!

  8. Lol Macy! Let me know when you're next down - we can meet for a Burger King at Waterloo!

  9. Hilarious! Think Shah should be the official commentator on artstuff - better than the usual "speaks to me of human suffering" palaver. And you have the same cures for a hangover as I, junk food and a full English breakfast! Have a great break and wonderful hols!

  10. oops, now not sure if words went through, blame it on the hangover which will be cured with full Kiwi brekkie, full of fat and the foodgroups. The Shah should be TateModern official commentator with his brilliant one-word efficient and decisive summations...

  11. Just catching up on blogs this Boxing Day afternoon and this is a corker. You and Phil have given me a good laugh. The melted elephant does indeed look like shite.

  12. Jody - I can't tell you how delighted the Shah was with your comments. He completely agrees with you as to his potential role as Arts correspondent for the Greater London area. Hope the hangover was fixed by the full Kiwi!

    Trish - I wish I'd taken note of what the melted elephant was actually called. Probably something arty farty like "study of an undulation"!

  13. It is pretty amazing what kind of crap gets passed off as art these days. I really do love art but I like art to actually be something and not just a pile of tyres or some other guff.
    Go you for getting over your hangover so well though, I'd probably have stayed in my bed feeling sorry for myself but then I can't actually remember the last time my alcohol level was higher than my blood count lol Yes I am feeling rather sorry for myself today - I shall shut up now xx

  14. I feel the same way about Art, Taz - I don't want to write it all off as crap (although a lot of it is!). Hope your day got better, happy 2012 and more power to your creative elbow (just been reading your blog!) x

  15. It sounds like the Shah was the little boy in the "Emperor's New Clothes" story. Taking the "e" out of Tate.

  16. Hello Rog and welcome. Taking the 'e' out of Tate is a very accurate way to describe it!


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