Friday, 23 January 2009
Some little f*?! has stolen my laptop. It was out of my sight for about two and a half minutes. And that was enough for someone to decide that they had a right to it. We were re-painting the gallery floor for the new show when the perpetrators decided to waylay themselves of my stuff. So dumb and dumber left a trail of footmarks behind them. You don’t have to be smart to be a petty criminal these days. Still, it’s not the end of the world. It’d be nice to live in a place where people have respect for one another. But we don’t. So there it is. A month in India and I’d forgotten you have to watch your back every single second of the day and night in this glorious metropolis. I’d got used to being able to leave my rucksack, passport, wodge of rupees, sterling, travellers cheques, entire worldly possessions in fact, pretty much anywhere, feeling confident that nobody would dream of touching them, far less taking them. Two days back in London and welcome home! But I’m trying to look on the bright side. It’s only a piece of plastic at the end of the day. Worse things happen. Lesson learned etc etc. Nobody got hurt. Nobody died. But then I glance out of the window and catch sight of the police car sitting there, as it has been for the last two days, with the engine running. It’s minus two out there. Bevington Road’s swarming with Scotland Yard. They all look disconcertingly like Sergeant Lewis. Somebody has died. The guy who lives across the street. Lived, rather. It seems somebody has chosen to relieve him of this life. Expunged him. Bumped him off. The poor guy had an intimate relationship with the bottle. I didn’t know him well. I helped him out once when he’d got lost. More lost than usual. More lost than most of us are most of the time. And now he’s dead. What was the point of all that then? Maybe it’s just a question of preparation. Of acceptance. In the meantime I’ve got to run a business. Not got to. I’ve chosen to. For the moment at least. In London, this glorious metropolis, wherein it seems law and order and now capitalism have broken down. On my last morning in India I was reading, over a cup of masala chai, like the self-confessed tourist that I am, an article in The Hindu by an Indian writer living in Denmark. Tabish Khair states categorically that ‘wild speculation and selfish consumerism, have finally led to an economic crisis that the West seems to be ideologically incapable of tackling’. No doubt he’s right. At least somebody is certain of something. I’d like to tell myself, in fact I do tell myself, and I tell you, that people don’t steal things in India. It’s a nice idea of course, but the truth is that on the surface things always seem better than they are. To the untrained eye. It’s when you get to know something that you start to become aware of its dark underbelly. Perhaps when you get to know it even better is when you start to see its inner light. I’d like to hope, but I’m not sure I believe. Not today. Perhaps tomorrow. It’s naïve to think that the grass is greener over there, or over anywhere. Sometimes I choose to be naïve. It’s easier that way. Perhaps people don’t steal things in India. Why not is the question. I don’t know the answer. Probably others do. It’s all there, all the time, everywhere. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The yin and yang. That’s just the way it is. Accept it or die fighting it. You can run but you can’t hide. That’s the truth. Clichés exist for a reason. And if that’s not baffling enough I read in that noteworthy periodical The London Lite that Jay Jopling is now seeing Lily Allen. To borrow a phrase: …. ‘what a fucking joke’.