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Friday, 17 January 2014

The Silent Pole may already be Here...

Whenever I write a blog, I am wrapped up in a blanket and surrounded by cushions.  This week I am on my bed upstairs.  The studio is too cold and the sofa still has my wee London friend on it, so I am on my bed.

Aha.  Fluff, blankets, cushions, hot colours and a bowl of  food.  We know who lives here. 
The house is still full of people.  I have my four lodgers and Giant Boy; all the bedrooms and spare corners of the house are rented out, and my tiny friend Fatema from London, who is living in the sitting room on my sofa, will be leaving on Monday.  By then, her life will be back on track.  Monday morning, I will tidy up, because the next person, an old friend of the house, may be returning.  He will be, if he turns up, living on Fatema's sofa for the next however long he is here.  We call him the Silent Pole, and he has been staying with us in Bognor on and off for years.  This very quiet and private Polish man likes to work all day, all night, as a graphic designer, and to be as uncomplicated as possible.  Once here, no one ever sees him again.  The microwave pings in the middle of the night, the Silent Pole has come out from under the sofa where he lives, and is heating a single sausage for his dinner.  He travels light, and stays here till suddenly, one day, he has to go.  And off he goes, with his laptop under his arm, his single back pack on his shoulders, in the same clothes he arrived in, and a cheery wave goodbye. He arrives under his own steam, with just a small bag, and a strangely complicated love life somewhere else, and settles into whatever corner he is given until, one day, he has to go, and goes.  We are all very fond of him here, his manners are impeccable and I like how independent he is.  I will make sure everything is ready in case he arrives when I am not looking. The microwave will ping in the early hours one morning, and I will know that Ah. The Silent Pole is here.  He has arrived.  He is eating his one microwaved sausage.  All is well.

It has been a very good week.  I have met some very inspiring people at the Dying Matters Awareness Week launch, and am following them up.  A Graceful Death is being talked about more now, and I am glad that I am no longer painting for it.  It means I can concentrate on setting it up in as many places as possible, and organising all sorts of events, workshops, talks, discussions on the end of life, to compliment the paintings.  The films by Eileen Rafferty, Neill Blume and the music by Lizzie Hornby are absolutely wonderful.  They enhance the exhibition and show how the creative response is so important to deeply felt, deeply feared and often avoided feelings around death and dying.  I am meeting with Dying Matters next week to see how they can help AGD over the Awareness Week.

Team AGD Brighton has been formally organised.  They are, apart from me,

  • Nigel Spencer, Palliative Care Nurse Practicioner and Hypnotherapist
  • Revd Cannon Peter Wells, Lead Chaplain BSUH NHS Trust and psychosexual therapist
  • Rachel Reed-George, Lecturer in Palliative Care
Helpers also include Jackie Keogh, who has helped AGD so much.  If you remember, Jackie had her head shaved to raise money for AGD in September.  She has been treated, successfully, for breast cancer and shaved her hair for us before the chemo got it.  Jackie is affectionately known as Fluffbucket, no one knows why.  We love her whatever she is called.

The dates for the next big AGD are 20 to 23 May, at St Peter's Church, Preston Park, Brighton.  Team AGD will be sorting out the event and you will all be the first to hear once we know what the agenda will be.

The True Fairy 2 materialised in the studio this week.  I wanted her to be all black, but black just didn't work.  It was too dead and dull a colour.  And so, this Fairy has paynes grey and the deepest and darkest of midnight blues to make her what she should be.  Here she is -

The True Fairy 2 is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.  She is painted on canvas so she won't fall off the wall.  The True Fairy 1 was heavy and can bounce, this one is light and can waft off on a Summer breeze.  
I am going to do a True Fairy 3 next, in all white.  I just love these Fairies, probably because it is all about me.  I reckon I'm ever so interesting, and long to explore myself more.  I will probably never tire of it, and by the time I die, landfill sites will be straining under the weight of True Fairies because that Artist, you know, the self obsessed one, who lived in Bognor, wouldn't bloody stop painting them.  But they are good for me.  I keep painting each fairy over and over again, until the right image is looking back at me.  The right face, the right pose, and the right colours.  I like the words on this one too, and see myself adding words to more of them as they appear.  As I get older and older, and more and more forgetful, the writing will probably say things like Eh?  What?  Where did I put my dentures? Who?  Those ones will probably go for a fortune, as I will no longer be able to interact with other people, and no one will be able to tell whether I am doollally or profound.  Some of my later Fairies may even have my shopping list on them.  (Eggs, butter, milk, Frosties).

Giant Boy has been teaching Wee Fats to box.  (Fatema has been living on my sofa this week, remember?) Wee Fats is loving it.  Fats needs to work off her frustrations with life, and has been known to stamp her feet and shout.  Boxing, it seems, is the answer.  Let me show you Fats and Giant Boy, and you can decide who has the advantage.

Fatema and Giant Boy.  Like when Rocky fought the huge Russian fellow

Yes, this is what I mean.  Fats is, of course, much prettier than Rocky and we don't have pictures of Lenin on the wall as inspiration.
I have also my Jesus on the Tubes to do, last week there was a Half Price Double the Love Jesus on the Tube offer for Valentines.  (There is still time if you want one, I need my orders in before 27 January.)  They will start on Monday.  Plus a painting of one of my lodgers who is having herself done for her Grandson. And all the while, quietly, when no one is looking, the Silent Pole will come through the letter box like mist, and the only way we will know he is here is the gentle displacement of air before the front door closes, and the lonely ping of the microwave in the night.