Sunday, 21 March 2010

If I could paint it, I wouldn't need to keep talking about it...

It was a strange period in my life. I'd been hanging around with one too many conceptual artists and the strain was beginning to tell. One night after a few glasses of red wine I cracked, and out of the crevice emerged a new character, an alter ego... let's call him Splodgyoko.

Splodgyoko, as you may have guessed, was a contemporary artist, but he didn't call himself that, or anything else for that matter, because terms set boundaries and thus limits on creative expression. Splodgyoko's obsession was the space between spaces.

"For Splodgyoko the space between spaces represents the futility of existence. Yet by examining it's overlooked beauty, he also reveals an underlying message of continuous rebirth. That which was new will soon become old, usurped and eventually forgotten. In it's place, for a fleeting moment, the future, before it too begins it's inevitable decay".

This kept me amused for weeks. Some people actually believed it, which got me thinking, was me pretending to be an artist actually a work of performance art in itself? After a few more thoughts like that I decided it was time for Splodgyoko to retire.

Over a year later I found myself at an event trying to sit on one of those completely functionless pieces of furniture that haunt arts venues. I eventually came to rest with my feet in the air and my back leaning forwards, trying in vain to sip from a bottle of beer. Sitting perfectly upright next to me was a skinny young chap with bright red trainers and a white man's Afro. We got chatting...

"I'm an artist", he told me, "No shit", is what I thought... "Oh really, how interesting, what sort of work do you do?", is what I said. "Oh it's quite hard to explain", he ventured, before attempting to do so for the next twenty minutes, eventually concluding that essentially his work was all about... "Exploring the space between spaces".
If I wasn't being partially digested by it, I'd have fallen off my chair.

Chateau Musar is a bit of a wine between wines. From the Lebanon, a country between countries, ravaged by it's bigger neighbours intrigues. Made by the Hochar family from grapes grown in the Bekaa Valley, even during the civil war they managed to keep making it in all but one vintage. It's a remarkable wine although very individual and not to everyones taste. In my experience it's best, though not very practical, if bought a few weeks or even months before drinking. More than just about any other wine I know it seems to need to settle down. It lasts for years too. Picked this up in Waitrose for £17.99, and only one sip in I'd say it's worth every penny. A passionate and profound wine.

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