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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sturgess Cafe - and there's (yet) more

[...and they said it would never last! - Duggie reaches the half-century (in posts, no years...]

“So, this is ‘art’, is it?” said the local paper journalist, a 17 year-old creative writer, with ambitions to be investigative. His main interest was writing Dungeons and Dragons games and scripts for gothic, graphic novels, “I mean to say, ‘art’ for the people…”

[“So this is ‘art’, is it?” almost as much a cliché as the art it is usually describing. Let’s analyse this statement for a minute - oh, by the way, my name’s Quentin The Art, and I’m a Welsh art expert – that’s an expert in art who happens to have been born in Wales, rather than a critic of Max Boyce’s occasional sketches.
Art, to the local journalist, is a term that encompasses everything from Constable to Bacon. It probably includes street and performance art – and, most certainly, the ‘Turner Prize’.
But, in reality, the ‘art’ at the heart of the journalist’s question is the work of layabouts, potentially left-wingers and most certainly university educated and not in the business of producing something like a spanner or tube of toothpaste, that UK plc could export to foreign outposts. And certainly not making money for some faceless fat-cat or mega-global corporation.
It’s as if: to think, to reflect, to draw attention to the foibles of humanity, is somehow a lesser act than, say, making a bracket to hang a basket of flowers on, or manufacturing one of those plastic things that you put in a can of smooth-flow beer to make it frothy.
We should pay our poets as much as we pay our Doctors – unless, of course, you need medical attention, when (stop Quentin – it’s you who needs medical attention, my friend!)]

“Yeah it’s a comment,” said Nyman, affecting his most convincing (in his mind) rebel-with-a-cause poses: a curled up lip, uneven shoulders, slouching against the wall (unfortunately, the journalist mis-read the body language, noting in his pad: “his work might be rubbish and a waste of money, but the artist has had to battle against an obviously deformed body, with a peculiar facial expression and wonky posture, to pursue his art…”), “I’m commenting on the invisibility of the modern High Street, the way a business can just come and go with no one noticing, or caring, due to the ‘bloody’ malls and out of town supermarkets…”

“Can I stop you there,” said the journalist, picking a piece of bacon rind from his tooth with a thumb-nail, “people have noticed the café. I mean that’s why I’m here. People want to come in. I mean, what about the guy on the Mobility scooter? This café used to be his world!”

“But that was 1957 – he’s gaga! He lives in the ‘50s,” said Seeke, smirking all the while.

“Let me handle this, please Seeke,” said Nyman, “he was transposing memory on the manifestation of today. He didn’t really want to come into our, modern day café.”

“And the old lady and her friend who tried to buy a tea…”

“You know, sometimes art is cruel. It takes guts for an artist to start telling the truth. You know?” said Nyman. He was beginning to perspire.

“I mean, I don’t know why you don’t open the Caff,” said the journo, “your bacon butties are pukka – and your tes. The best in town…”

“But it’s art! Don’t you see? Art!” said Nyman.

“I think he knows,” said Seeke, “but prefers your cooking.”

Nyman thought for a moment, and the only argument he could come up with, in favour of the art, was the fact that a criminal skinhead was now involved in extremely violent performance art in Dorest. He thought it might be best not to mention it.

“Look,” said Nyman, “give me a nice write-up, and I’ll give you another cup of tea…”

“Alright then,” said the journo, who was already late for an interview with an amorous window-cleaner. [“And they say times change, huh!” – thanks for that comment, Mr Askwith, says Duggie]

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