Thursday 23 October 2008

dad (1): one of the dragons is gay

(Extract from a phone conversation with my dad last night):

Dad: - So what have you been up to?

Me: - Well, been busy as ever.

- Good, good. That's good.

- Work mainly. A bit endless. Um, can't think. Oh, at the weekend I went to London to a kind of gathering of artists and intellectuals in Hyde Park. All sorts of people there. It was great.

- What sort of gathering?

- Well, a bunch of artists and others were presenting kind of manifestos, you know, they were talking about the state of things, what art could be or should be, that sort of thing. It was in the park near the gallery.

- Oh. What sort of artists? Any painters? Would I have heard of any of them?

- Well, no, no painters as such. But some other quite famous ones you'd probably know. Contemporary artists really. Gilbert and George were there.

- Oh were they. They're a bit odd aren't they.

- Um, well, they're certainly eccentric. But they're hilarious. Maybe they run the risk of turning into parodies of themselves, you know, a bit like Kenneth Williams turned into a parody of himself. But they're very funny ... Um, who else? Yoko Ono.

- Oh yes. There's a new biography of John Lennon that's just come out.

- Is there?

- I never much liked John Lennon.

- Really? Why not? He was way the most interesting of the Beatles.

- I didn't say he wasn't interesting. I just never fancied him much.

- Well, I didn't fancy him either, dad. But he was great. One of my heroes when I was a kid. But I guess a dope-smoking anarchist hippy's never quite going to float your boat, is he?

- I don't know why, was it because he didn't go to his father's funeral or something?

- I don't know, but I think he had an unhappy family life as a kid.

- Yes, probably ... so what was Yoko Ono doing?

- Well, she showed some videos, and talked a bit, and then we danced with her.

- Oh. What, you danced with her?

- Well, we all did. There were loads of people there. She invited us to dance and so we did.

- Oh. I see.

- I love her stuff. She's fantastic. She looks amazing, really great for her age.

- Yes, although she looks a bit freeze-dried and leathery.

- Dyou think so? I don't think she's had any surgery. She's just in really good nick. She must be all of 70.

- Is she.

- Sadly in Britain it seems she's most famous for being the 'weird' wife of John Lennon, and the supposed cause of the break-up of the Beatles. I blame the Daily Mail.

- Oh. Do you.

- But she's a super interesting artist, and she's really well known in her own right - she's done some brilliant things. She's a bit conceptual, a bit zen. Very witty. Does all sorts of different kinds of art.

- Oh. I don't think I understand conceptual art. All those instructions ... She does things with ladders, doesn't she?

- Does she? I don't know. What do you mean?

- Well I read something about her and ladders.

- Really? Mmm, I'm not sure. She's certainly used ladders in her work in the past, although I don't know that they're central. What was that thing where she met John Lennon in a gallery?

- I don't know.

- Didn't she have a ladder in the gallery, and you climbed up it with a magnifying glass, and there was a tiny 'YES' written on the ceiling ... Or was it that one with nails and hair, you climbed a ladder with a nail with a piece of hair wrapped round it and hit it into a frame on the ceiling, and the painting was finished once you could only see hair.

- Oh god.

- Something like that. Maybe the hair thing didn't have a ladder ...

- Oh well.

- Okay, who else was there? Mmm. Maybe you've heard of Marina Abramovic? She's really well known, you know, the performance artist. I think she's from what was Yugoslavia.

- I'm not sure. Rings a bell.

- Oh I know who you'd know: Eric Hobsbawn, the historian. Amazing old bloke. He's in his nineties and sharp as a button. A bit frail physically, but not intellectually. He was brilliant.

- He's a communist.

- Well, yes, he is, you're right; but that's alright isn't it, no reason to write him off surely.

- Like John Berger.

- I thought you'd like that book. And Berger's hardly some hard-line Stalinist. He's got a huge heart.

- I didn't understand that book. Something about a pocket.

- Oh well. Okay, okay. Um, who else was there? Partly I went to support some friends who were doing something.

- What, that lot you work with? The Lonely Twins?

- Lone Twin. No no, it was a different lot, a couple of friends in a group called SpRoUt.

- Sprout?

- Oh I know, there was that guy Owen or Evan, the economist who's on the telly. You know, the gay guy on the news, he's the economics reporter. You know who I mean - he's on 'Dragon's Den'.

- What, one of the dragons is gay? Which one is he?

- No no, he's the presenter, he's the one who interviews the people who pitch things to the dragons.

- Oh. No, I don't know.

- Well, he was there in the audience. Doesn't matter ... I tell you what, dad, London's dead weird after Devon, you bump into all sorts of people. It's quite surreal. I met Ian Wright in a shop.

- What, Ian Wright? Wrighty?

- Yes.

- Oh he's a nice bloke. He got into trouble recently for saying something or other about diving in the box.

- Did he?

- Yes, he was on telly. Something about Drogba. He said, well you'd do the same in his shoes, and he got into trouble for it.

- Oh, I didn't hear about that. Yes, he seemed nice ... I said hello.

- Good. Good. So ... any news on the job front?

1 comment:

Serviced Apartments Resident said...

Such an awesome conversation, there's not many dads you could talk to about Marina Abramovic and gay dragons! Some might say not enough...