Picture This

8 September: 7.30am
Popping into Jeremy and Tracy next door to watch the opening game of the rugby world cup was possibly not the best idea in the world before today’s Welsh ‘Rustbuster’ day. Especially since large amounts of curry and wine were involved. Fortunately my sensible head prevailed so I’m not feeling too fuzzy but ‘Dw i’n nerfus yn iawn!’. In view of the fact I’ve completed two intensive weeks of Welsh learning I’ve decided to go up a level from September and today’s one day course is a chance for me to see if I can talk the talk.

Okay. Here I am in Grwp 3 and I can already see from the pages they’re looking at in their course notes that they are way ahead of me. Even worse a couple of the students should be in the group above but have come down to this one for a spot of revision. Great.

I’m trying to tell myself that it doesn’t matter if I’m the class dunce when The One walks in. Yep, there’s always one person I dread working with. In this case, he’s like Oliver Reed way past his prime, swaggering and loud, so naturally he makes a beeline for me.

I have survived the course but The One has been a right pain. He’s spent all day telling me what a hit he is with gorgeous Laydees – including Keira Knightly (It’s all gone a bit Keira and Sienna mad round here since they were spotting filming for the new Dylan Thomas biopic). He’s stuck so closely to my side that I can still smell his aftershave even when I get in the car. To make matters worse he’s going to be in my new group when term begins in a couple of weeks. Tom who is normally utterly sanguine and never swears advises me to tell him to f*ck off!

All I want to do is throw myself on the sofa but it’s the opening night of Tom’s exhibition so have to put my public face on and get ready to glad hand everyone. I’ve said before that I think that Tom’s latest collection is very powerful but it dawns on me, shortly after we arrive, that en masse, they are possibly a bit overwhelming. There are simply too many huge, energetic canvasses on the wall for folks to take in.

Oh well, I needn’t have worried about the punters being overwhelmed. Almost nobody has turned up, apart from the usual coterie of artists and gallery hangers-on. Tom is putting a brave face on it but I am so disappointed for him.

Everyone in the room now except me is (1) An Artist. (2) V. v. drunk. Quite a few people are in danger of disappearing up their own backsides by the time I persuade Tom it's time to leave. ‘But we said we’d do each other’s opening nights and book launches!’ Tom reminds me, as I start the car, sensing, perhaps, that I have had enough for one day.
So far it’s opening nights: 2, book launches: (‘Strange Days, Indeed’) 1. Suspect that enjoyment of any of these occasions rather depends on whether or not you are the centre of attention.

And finally…
*The Local Authority has apologised and reinstated Tom’s nephew’s school transport. (Not entirely unconnected with Tom’s brother making a fuss).
*My niece seems to be doing well on her epilepsy medication.
*My shoulder is still bloody killing me so it’s back to the GP.
*Stepson Two’s band, Clocks, are on tour now.

Hwyl fawr!
Painting is 'Urban Garden' by Tom Tomos


Hannah Velten said…
Sorry to hear about Tom's opening night - tell him not to be too disappointed...word gets round if good work is on show. Impressed with the Welsh, shame about The One - yuck!

Mootia x
Crystal Jigsaw said…
I suppose your new friend is hugely attracted to you and can not resist your charms.

Good to learn that your neice is okay. Always a big step to take trying new medication and I know all about epilepsy!

Best wishes, Crystal xx
sally's chateau said…
Has Tom got a website ?
LittleBrownDog said…
What a week, Chris! Sorry to hear about Afteshave Man in the Welsh class - you do realise now that every time you smell that smell your heart is going to sink. And I hope Tom isn't too disheartened about his opening night - sometimes it's just a date that just clashes with lots of other things. As Mootia says, word will get around - his paintings are great. Going to look up Strange Days now - I hope it's available on Amazon...
Milla said…
I just wish Tom's work was nearer since I'm sure I'd buy one, I think they're stunning. My father's a fab artist too (Derek Balmer) and *uckwit comments (like the teenage girl a blog or two down) make my blood boil but, sadly, go with the territory.
Milla said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
LittleBrownDog said…
Re After Shave Man - I couldn't possibly, Chris, I'm far too polite. After all, you did spot him first...
ah me you are good can think of nothing worse than spending evening with that lot after taste of aftersahve man..yuck...

YOur turn will come..if it doesnt you and I can set too and burn a few publsihing houses and be damned!!!
Tattie Weasle said…
How I wish we'd been down at New Quay we'd have so enjoyed the opening night...
Re Thomas film - claim to fame the whole Thomas/Killick episode came about because my Nan said Vera could stay at her summer house while the Thomases were staying at her cousin's summer house! Needless to say my Great Grandparents were shocked to the core and never let the house out again! Sadly Nan sold it in 1973 but we kept the field where - very un-Bodenlike - we 'ave a mobile 'ome and campsite!
bodran... said…
I bet your dreading your new welsh course.. and what a shame about the opening night..xxx
Suffolkmum said…
I really love that picture, it's my favourite of all the ones you've shown so far. I'd like to have website details too. God, there really IS always one, isn't there?!
Suffolkmum said…
OK, just googled him and got onto the website!
Cait O'Connor said…
I love the picture too.
Do you know any Welsh swear words??
So sorry about the opening night...take it out on 'the one' does toms suggestion translate well into Welsh?
Shoulders ...will we ever sort these berludy bra staps out again I ask myself! Take it you have given up the towel exercises...I am still on the giant rubber bands...gently! Trying to get comfortable in bed is just like torture!!!!
Elizabethd said…
What a disappointment at the opening night, but so hope things will get better . I loved the painting.
As to the Aftershave man...could you frighten him off by telling him you have a VERY jealous husband/two muscular brothers/an uncle in the Mafia???
Frances said…
Hello Chris,

Hoping that your shoulder will improve and improve and improve.

Gallery openings can be hell. I have been to lots of them, mostly those of my friends, but also a few of my own. You just never know what will happen.

Usually, I think it is friends and family at the opening nights. Then, or even before then, it is up to the gallery to draw in the potential collectors. Hoping that Tom's gallery will treat him properly.

The art business is very strange. Sometimes, knowing what I have obverveded for about four New York art scene decades does make me wonder about a lot of what I know about earlier decades of official art history. (Well, I will cut a few of the abosolute masters some slack, but, ... well, you know what I mean.)

Now, for your Welsh classmate. How is his pronunciation? His feeling for idiom? Maybe if you get a few key words in hand to stun any future approach from him, you will be able to make all sorts of points. (What is the correct pronunciation for "______" ... whatever you would like him to have to ask for a complete explantion from the teacher.)

Flowerpot said…
what a shame about the opening night, but that doesn't necessarily mean much does it? that happened to a friend of mine last year and she sold all her paintings in several weeks following the opening. The One sounded a ightmare - you've had one hell of a week Chris!
Posie Rosie said…
Good to catch up, really sorry Tom's opening evening didn't get a larger audience, his paiontings are so atmospheric, I really enjoy you sharing them with us. Hope your shoulder gets better soon and loved your list of things, but Talisker isn't an Islay malt!!
Lane said…
You'll have to take Tom's advice re. The One. People like that don't tend to read 'subtle':))

Sorry to hear about disappointing turnout at exhibition. They are great paintings which WILL sell.

It may sound a bit crass but has he thought of Ebay. There are a few studio artists there, selling very well. You have to disregard pages of tat but they are there...:))
liz fenwick said…
Sorry about the opening night. Hopefully things will pick up once the people who don't buy have faded away.

The One sounds like a nightmare!

Hope the GP comes up with some solutions for your shoulder.
elizabethm said…
God, isn't it hard, this sending your work into the world? I think Tom's stuff if amazing. We will have to plan a trip down yourway and come and see.
Impressive commitment to the Welsh. We restart next week and I am doing some revision stuff but I just long to stop poddling along a lesson at a time and do a couple of weeks total immersion. Sadly dont have the time or money. Have you looked at Nant Gwrtheyrn (they have a website i think)? Would love to do a course there and might try and make it happen. that would be a good way to meet up.
I have become far more ruthless about The One in every class. You don't need to take the absolute direct approach. I just move and move again and don't engage,just as rudely I'm afraid.
Hope the shoulder is on the mend.
Latest and loveliest Welsh phrase means as happy as a trout "mor llon a brithyll" so hope you are.
Cerikey quite a week. Firstly poke 'the one' in eye, that'll sort him out.

So sorry to hear that the gallery was not an instant success - very demoralising . . . but as Mottia says word will get round. HS had nothing happen on his night, but has sold since . . . although it wasn't just his work - he was in competition with others.

Glad the transport problems got sorted out - nowadays you just have to keep on making a noise until something gets done.

Hope your neice remains stable on her medication.

So sorry to hear that your shoulder is still bad - constant pain is very draining.

And good luck to the Clocks on their tour . . .
yes its my sleeping side as well...about 4:10 am every morning I think I have had fight with a chain saw! the elastic bands were recommended by physio...ferra bands available from good chemist. Physio also told me quite happily...'oh it could take up to 12 months to sort itself out!' I'm on to month 4 at the mo and counting!!!
Fennie said…
Nown that I think about it I've spent an awful lot of time arranging events at which few people (or no people) turn up. Its part of life's rich tapestry even though it is keenly disappointing. Better luck to Tom next time. Word does get round as Mootia says.

As for the Aftershave One, if you asked him ever so politely to keep his distance from you as you are allergic to certain perfumes and came out in a rash last time, he will (with luck) be quite mortified and dwindle to the other side of the room.
Livvy U. said…
Hello, this is a lovely account of your day. I'm late-night lurking and thought I really must make myself known. I love the listening in on other people's lives that blogging affords.

I liked the post about your senses and sounds, too. I can't think of anything happier than the sound of my three-year-old being made to giggle by her dad.
Best midnight wishes.
muddyboots said…
hi just doing a quick catch up session. welsh, hmm impressed!
liz fenwick said…
Hi Chris just popping by to say it's your shout for coffee this week and next on the Novel Racers. If there is a problem just let me know...... cheers, liz
That is so disappointing for Tom, it would be lovely to know if there is indeed a website to view the pictures.

Ah, there is always the ONE, can be so infuriating. Do hope your shoulder gets better soon Chris, have you tried the remedy.?

Pipany said…
Hi Chris - just had a lovely catch up. Sorry about Tom's opening night; must be so disheartening. The paintings are amazing. Hope ypour shoulder gets cleared soon and keep at the Welsh! xx
liz fenwick said…
Hi Chris, it's mean again. Popping by to say that some key things are being discussed re the novel racers over on the blog. It would be great to have your thoughts.

Thanks :-)
@themill said…
I'm with Tom on how to handle pain in the a**e man.
Sorry about the exhibition - that picture looks stunning
IrishEyes said…
Sorry to hear about the opening night. Their loss those who didn't attend!

Re Aftershave man...I usually find there is always one hanging around, so I have developed the trick of sniffing delicately, repeatedly, when they ask what's up/the matter, say, there's a rotten egg smell around, like one of those really cheap perfumes...

How fast can a pair of heels clear the floor?

Slan go foill!

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