Saturday, 23 July 2011


Strange stuff, this blogging. Only four responses to the questionnaire and yet lots more visitors than the average when I posted them. I was hoping for more because the ones I got were so good, not only in themselves but when you put them beside one another and saw the variations. It was a great show of creativity as fun and I’ll probably try another one at some point. For those of you who didn’t respond, though, the questions are still there and new contributions are welcome.

Anyway, this week time presses so I’m doing another cop-out blog. It’s a corny old sketch I wrote when my wife and I used to do a revue at the Edinburgh Festival. She’d deliver this monologue in a cockney accent:

Funny ’ow ’istory never gets its facts right, innit? Take the Impressionists. They was s’posed to be ‘a generation whose fragmentation of the visual elements of experience dispensed with the erroneously deduced borders between reality and art’. Bloody rubbish. I ought to know, I used to make the tea for ’em.

I’d go into the studio – naked, of course – well, that was one of the rules, you see; gents wore clothes, ladies didn’t. Mr Manet thought of that one. He was a little bit inadequate, I think, our Edward. Anyway, I’d go into the studio and there they’d all be talking about translucent pigmentation and the transient fragility of perceptual experience, and they’d shout ‘’allo, Flo. Nice tits’. And they’d all laugh, and start up again about the aesthetics of transcendence and textures within traditional chiarascuro concepts. They didn’t seem to mind me listening to all their filthy talk. I had to be very careful not to step on Mr Lautrec, but they’d put 'im up on the mantelpiece where I could see 'im, so he wasn’t in any real danger.

Trouble was, the salon kept on refusing their paintin’s, and they’d come ’ome in a foul temper. Mr C├ęzanne would sit there fondling his oranges, Mr Degas used to get livid, ’specially when people called him ‘Dayga’ instead of ‘Duhga’. 'e’d shout ‘It’s bloody Duhga. There’s no bloody accent’. And ’e’d go off with 'is ballet dancers. And 'is jockeys. ’e was a bit funny, ’e was. And Mr Lautrec was so livid ’e nearly fell off the mantelpiece. Mr Gauguin was lucky. ’e won a competition – you ’ad to look at six pictures of sheds and pick out the Taj Mahal. ’e won first prize – a trip to the South Seas.

But every year it was the same. Trouble was, people kept encouragin’ ’em. That Mr Baudelaire, the poet. Fancied 'imself as an art critic. ’e came along one day and said they was the forerunners of one of the greatest revolutions paintin’s ever seen. ’e was pissed at the time, mind you. And ’e had a dead rabbit on a string. Said ’e was looking after it for a friend while she had some confidential treatment.

You know the real trouble though – their optician. ’e was rubbish. ’e tried to sell Mr Zola three contact lenses. Mind you, I only realised what was goin’ on when I noticed Mr Seurat’s glasses 'ad spots all over ’em. And Mr Renoir – well, ’e used to get a bit excited when all the models was there and ’is’d steam up, so 'is paintin’s came out all fuzzy. And you all know ’ow different Mr Van Gogh’s paintin’s was – well, ’e couldn’t wear glasses at all, ’cause of 'is ear. So that’s it you see. All the optician’s fault. Pity, they could’ve been good artists.

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  1. I love it. And I knew van Gogh and his ear would turn up at some point. Glad he did.

  2. Great fun - thanks for the giggle. ;)

    (And sorry I missed the questionnaire, by the way. It was brilliant and I'd have liked to take part, even though my answers would have been paltry compared to the ones you had.)

  3. Anneke, you know me - if there's an obvious gag to be made, I'll make it.

    Fiona, it's still not too late to do the questionnaire. I have a couple of new responses and I'd like a couple more. The interesting thing is that what you think might seem 'paltry' would probably be entertaining or thought-provoking for someone else. Let your imagination go, indulge yourself. I'll keep it anonymous if you like - as long as you'll take the hit if it turns out to be of interest to the obscene publications people.

  4. Oooh, okay, let me see what I can come up with...