Friday, 30 October 2009

El Dia de los Muertos. A live 'Jancast'.

Fluente has flown in for a gig at a party in Chelsea. This part of London seems to have gone Mexican mad. Anyway Fluente is doing his one man Mexican wave at the party and came round to change (he normally favours a pin-stripe suit) on his way. He managed to persuade me to accompany him, as his assistant, for the night. I was forced into fancy dress although I already look like death. I drew the line when he tried, once he had got me inside a skeleton Tshirt, Tailcoat and skull ensemble to put me in a straw hat.

No Fluente I said. I'm going for the sombre not the sombrero!

We compromised with the stetson Rusty had left behind. Let's just say it was a frightening spectacle.

Fluente produced from his man-bag a bottle of tequila and some limes, then raided my 1960's cocktail cabinet for the crusty bottle of triple sec last opened for the funeral of Winston Churchill for my Maiden aunt who had a penchant for 'stickies' day or night.

'Aye yai yai yai yai' Fluente shouted. 'Margherita time!'

The party now beckons...

Virus, Hank, pies and Joy.

Things are tough at Nieupjur Mansions right now; my computer has a virus and is all but dead. I must now rely on a very old sony vaio with a busted keyboard, no USB socket and a cat eaten power cable (the result of cat sitting Oscar a couple of years ago).

Blogs may be sporadic for a while until I get the virus geeked out of the other machine. Let us hope that it is easier to remove than Hank.

Hank was a male au-pair that my first wife Joy insisted on after the incident with the naked Danish girl in the laundry room.

Hank fancied himself as a photographer and insisted on making a photo-documentary of the life of a British housewife; this required him to photograph Joy at all times of the day, performing her everyday tasks. This seemed harmless enough in essence while she was removing casseroles from the Aga and suchlike but when I found him snapping away as she reclined in the bath I felt that things had gone far enough.

It took three more months to get rid of Hank and Joy soon followed him.

I learned some time later that Hank and Joy were living together in Harmony Nebraska. Rusty had bumped into them at a pie baking contest. Joy wasn't feeling too well.

She had a virus.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A cry for help.


I have lost my yellow plastic spoon; it was a very important part of my life and work, it helped form me and inform me.

It was a teaspoon I picked up at the Hayward Gallery when having a coffee after seeing the Bruce Nauman exhebition some years ago. I had gone with a woman called Jane. I cannot remermber what colour spoon she stirred her coffee with.

Please, if anyone knows the whereabouts of a yellow plastic spoon, let me know.

I must return to the Hayward to see if I can replace it but deep inside I know it will not be the same...

Portraits of the muse.

Muse with dead artists. (private collection)

The muse posing. (collection of the artist)

Family portraits. No3

My father was a saint.

Family portraits. No2

My parents on their wedding day.

Family portraits. No1

Sunday, 25 October 2009


93 year old birthday cake...
It was a gift from a new friend. I had seen a skip with a box of old books in it and went to investigate.

As I looked into the skip a womans head popped up; a mass of glorious curls redolent of the fragrant nurse Caz.

Hello dad! She said. She rummaged in a sequinned evening bag then handed me an object wrapped in paper. It is 93 year old birthday cake she said.

I told her I only like the icing.

That's all right she said. Just eat the icing and lie about the rest.

That''s what every-body else does.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Roof, liquorice, oboe and gobstoppers.

An evening on the roof and my thoughts turn to liquorice.
I remember, as a very young man, falling in love with the daughter of the woman who ran the village sweet shop. I would go into the shop daily to spend the pennies I had won at various games in the school yard. I went to the sweet shop in the hope of setting eyes on Marie-Anne, but she was never there, she was always somewhere else.
Practicing the oboe.
Her mother would give me an understanding look and then hand me liquorice.
It is only now, having done much research, that I realise that Marie-Annes mother was doing her best to reduce my testosterone levels to something manageable.
I learnt that liquorice was indeed used to reduce testosterone in men (not that I could then be described as anything other than a boy)
and was also a contributing factor to low IQ levels.
I had not been given enough of the stuff to make me stupid enough to not kick the liquorice habit.
I turned to gobstoppers. But where to put the half sucked suckers, when later on, Marie-Anne met me behind the bus shelter and the mood turned to love?

I cannot hear the oboe without thinking of Marie-Anne and gobstoppers.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

How Rusty got his name.

I recieved another card from Rusty; an image of a bridge I'd never lost a shoe from but wish I had.

On the back he writes:
This is where it all started. this is where I got my name; Lula-Mae and me had been down to see Richard Brautigan one summer and we all decided to go skinny dipping by the bridge. Lula-Mae laughed when I stood naked in front of the red metal and she said: Far out Billy-Bob, you are so sun burnt I can't tell you from the bridge.
Richard laughed and said: "I guess Billy-Bob's just gone rusty, and it ain't even raining.

the name stuck after that.

Rusty wrote this part of a Brautigan poem at the bottom of the card. In place of a name:

It's Raining In Love

I don't know what it is,

but I distrust myself
when I start to like a girl a lot. -Richard Brautigan

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Art or Balls.

The most natural thing to do, when you have an empty wooden fruit bowl and a pile of pool balls is to put the balls in the bowl.

I found the balls in the back of a rubbish truck in Notting Hill. The bowl was a gift from a woman who knew that I didn't have one.

What worries me is that this image would be quite happily considered 'ART' by those who think they know best.

It is nothing more than a bowl of balls.

Postcard from Rusty.

Rusty did it!

I recieved a postcard fro him this morning. that in itself is a miracle with the postal strikes we have been suffering; no doubt the postmen will be back at work in time to collect their Christmas bonuses.

The card was posted in Yorkshire (not an area noted for its rodeos).
The photo on the card is of a rhubarb mine; the caption says: Deep underground the plant is propagated by Yorkshire folk who are now completely blind. they live on a diet of batter puddings and Pontefract cakes...
Rusty writes: Hey Jan, you know it seems funny. London always seemed so big,, but you know you're in the largest county in the nation when you're anchored down in Harrogate. Harrogate Yorkshire.
He went on to write that Nurse Caz was travelling with him. They were together but not really together; Rustys heart was with Lula-mae in a tar paper shack close to a small town called Lizard Bend somewhere in North Dakota,
Nurse Caz's heart is in a specimen jar in Imperial college, London.
I listened to Michelle Shocked while I reread the card and thought of them both.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Just back from my weekly dream analysis with doctor F. It does not concern me that she has been struck off (in fact I am rather hoping she will apply some of her malpractice on me) and can now only practice as an amateur.

Each time I visit I am encouraged to paint an image of my latest dream.

Last night I dreamt I was a child. It was a stormy autumn evening and I had been milking pomkin the goat who had lashed out at me with her hooves annd rendered me unconscious for a while.

Groggily I returned to the house and entered, but somehow I had gone in through the wrong door and found myself neither inside nor outside. there was a wall of raining teaspoons clouding my view of the walnut tree and of the three beakers on the window sill; my mothers red one, my dead fathers black one and my yellow one. Each time I reached out for my beaker (I was very thirsty) my hand was stung by the falling spoons.

I gave up in the end and finally fell asleep.

I awoke some time later on the straw in pomkins shed.

If it is possible for a goat to sneer, pomkin sneered.

Doctor F chuckled and clapped her hands on hearing the dream and seeing my painting and then ushered me out of the room giving me no explanation as to what it all might mean.

Rusty, depression and horse shit.

Rusty came round for coffee this morning. He looked distressed and depressed, I've not seen him this bad for a long time. I'm worried because I know I'm not going to see him for a while.

I said go to see the nurse Rusty, she can help.

I doubt it said Rusty. I hear she ain't nursing no more, I hear she has taken up horse riding. How do you know that? I asked.

Well, he said. Every time I see her she smells like stables.

I told him he should perhaps go back on the rodeo circuit one more time before he got too old. And Rusty, I said. Why not ask the nurse to go with you, she could look after the horses for you.

That woman is every man's dream, Rusty.

Yeah he said. But not every night.

I talked to nurse Caz later this morning. Told her I was worried about Rusty, and would she help? She said she would get back to me on that one. I also said that I had heard that she had taken up riding.

She laughed then (I have not heard that mountain stream for a long time) and said; I've just been putting horse shit on my garden.
I will not pass that information on to Rusty, I imagine he would prefer to keep an image of Caz in tight johdpurs in his minds eye rather than the reality.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Advice for young lovers.

If you are going to keep bullshit in a treacle tin there is no point reading each other the label.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Mutate Britain

Rusty, Babs and Dame Nellie Melba.

Rusty called round this morning to analyse Tristans performance last night.

We decided not to talk about it.

Instead I went to make cheese on toast for us all. I could hear Rusty and Babs talking and laughing in the other room as I grated cheese and then a finger. I burned the toast and Rusty came in to criticise.

I was about to throw the burnt toast in the bin when he pushed me to one side. He then grilled the bread on the other side, cut off the crusts and sliced the slices horizontally. once toasted on the cut side he had made 4 pieces of melba toast.

Here he said; presenting it to Babs.
What's that she asked.
Melba toast!
Why is it called that?

It is named after Dame Nellie Melba, who, when not eating peaches liked to eat this stuff.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Bridges I have lost shoes from. I've lost count.

I'd gone down to the Serpentine this morning to photograph the bridge having lost a shoe there a while back.
I was astonished to find Tristan there fishing. Fishing is not permitted in the serpentine. I pointed out the sign stating this fact.
He said. I'm not fishing Jan, I'm pretending to fish.
Have you caught anything I asked.
Only an old shoe and the attention of a crazy old woman who said if I catch a tuna she has the maionnaise...
What bait are you using?

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Mountains, views and dogs.

Babs calls from Mountain view, California.

And I think is that a view of a mountain or a view from a mountain and Babs says that the sky is as high as an elephants eye.

And I say you are lying Babs

And she says I know, I heard it in a movie. And eveyone knows that the movies lie.

I left that sleeping dog to do the lying.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Horse shit. Bull shit. Holy shit.

She said I suppose you are going to use this as material for a poem or a story or something.

I said no. Personal experience is like horse shit; it needs to stand around for a year or two before you dig it into the garden. Otherwise it is too caustic to do anything other than kill everything.

So you won't be writing about me.

Oh yes! I'll be writing about you, but only the stuff I make up.

Prairie omelettes, hangovers and male bonding.

Rusty came round tonight. I thought he'd want to skirt the nurse but no.

He said, as he eyed my larder, she may be a nurse Jan but the only thing she is nursing right now is a hangover. He went on to say: Women teach us a lot of things Jan but all she done teach me is that I'm way out of my depth, and she aint teaching me to swim.

He found eggs, strawberries, black pepper and cream.

Heck, if we aint got a prairie omelette. He said.

What is in a prairie omelette I asked.

Whatever you got left in the chuck wagon at the end of a drive. He said.

Do you know, a strawberry and black pepper sweet omelette with cream is quite extraordinarily delicious.

Hey Rusty I said as we licked our fingers, let's go rent Brokeback Mountain.

Aw shucks. Said Rusty.

Tristans wall

Coincidences in nature, guns and tulips.

A mat of ivy roots pulled from a wall and a robin that watched. Is it not interesting the colours in the two images.It is as if the robin is camouflaged for stealth flying between the ivy roots and the wall. The ivy roots do not sing as well as the robin. Not even as well as Tiny Tim. And he's dead, pushing up the tulips rather than tiptoeing through them.

rusty came along shortly after the photo was taken and shot the thing with a Colt 48.

I said Rusty you can't do that and he said Jan, the constitution says I can do what I damn well please with my gun.

I said GULP.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Show business.

Things may be quiet for a day or two.

Tristan has a 'gig' (nasty word) coming up and requires my help for read throughs and rehearsals.

He is reading 3 poems with films made for the event at the Tabernacle, Powis Square on October 10th. Ditto TV are putting on the show... Probably best to be there. Just in case.

Babs says she will attend.

Swine flu. Pigs flying. what's the difference?

Shoe Trees

There appear to be many 'shoe trees' on the planet.
I am told that the first occurrance of the phenomenom was in the Herault region of France. I suspect that I might have been guilty of starting the trend when losing shoes from bridges.