3rd May 2016 Truncheons and Clothes Horse Afflex‘s Palace was on a beat. The two constables who took turns to pop in for a patrol of its many pathways enjoyed themselves. They were out of the weather, always offered a tea, and being friendly types, were happy to pass from stall to stall on a small wind of smiles and chats. I asked one if he would pose alongside Truncheons and Clothes Horse. He looked uncertain. He said, “I will, if you don‘t make me look like an idiot.” “Hang you out to dry, you mean?” He grinned. I promised I wouldn‘t, and I didn‘t.
17th April 2016 An elderly lady‘s dog died. She knew she would miss it and decided to have it stuffed, but was alarmed by the taxidermist‘s price. She was then given a much lower quotation for having the head and front paws stuffed and framed in the front of a kennel. This pleased her: as she said at the time: “That was the only end of the dog I liked.”
16th April 2016 Away I can‘t remember why the Teds are facing away from the room, looking out of the window. Perhaps I was – or pretending to be – embarrassed that I had such a family, or thought they would be happier in the light and looking out at the world rather than being stared at, or that they were so wonderful I only wanted them found by people curious enough to find them. Also, I probably didn‘t want any pinched – or poked. Not that you could have made a profit on them if you‘d bought the lot for a penny. At home we stared at each other.
I liked how tea bags dried out on my kitchen work surfaces, and then I really liked how the tea bags that I dumped on the cooker and then a little later pushed aside so I could use the rings dried out as I used the rings: quickly crisp with Autumnal oranges and browns. I don’t like throwing anything away but I don’t like owning things without making them happy – both seem naughty. So I was noddingly pleased when I knew that the plant pots that had been moping in a crate on the stairs were the right home for the crispy tea bags slowly filling a cardboard box in the Wooden Room. That always biddable school gym-shoe cage thingy got a new job. And there was a task for one of the low tables I rescued from the basement of the rubber factory.
It looks, to me now, as sincerely sentimental as a good amateur water-colourist’s Landscape in Autumn.
5th April 2016 I put on two exhibitions in two rooms at home in Hulme. The first was called Cant Remember and Cant Find and no one but me saw it, as I didn’t mention it. The rooms in those Hulme flats were large and sparsely detailed and their big windows let the light make a nice fuss of things. The second exhibition was looked at by a few friends and, after one of those friends had noticed them filming and told them about it, by a BBC Arts programme who padded out a programme about Hulme with a half minute of stare about. I asked Elaine who ran Affleck‘s Palace where I had a stall selling tee-shirts (I have mentioned Affleck‘s earlier so won‘t labour over a description) if she would like me to fill the big space between the lifts and the cafe on the top floor with my work. Elaine liked art, and me – I hadn‘t done anything bad that she knew of yet – and she said that that would be nice. I think the first exhibition opened at the end of 1990. I have always remembered the name of this first exhibition as Shared Underpants but the poster seems to disagree.
5th April 2016 I still have this; now six bundled canvases muffledly muttering to each other in the small room off the top room. I wish I had a see-able wall to put it on as it possibly hints at advice which I need to sometimes take. I used to use a phrase with my sister – an always passionate and usually disappointed supporter of the rightness of right – ‘Every where’s an unfair funfair‘, to which she would inevitably reply, “but that’s not fair.” Like a few other things from my first Oblong Gallery exhibition, it‘s also a song. I sing it on Here is my Spoon.