'our creation is that guru; the duration of our lives is that guru; our trials, illnesses and calamaties is that guru. There is a guru that is nearby and a guru that is beyond the beyond. I humbly make my offering to the guru, the beautiful remover of ignorance, the enlightenment principle that is within me and surrounds me at all times.'
Guru Stotram

Thursday, 1 October 2009

There was a squirrel chasing the cat across the garden the other day. Then today a squirrel came into the lounge and buried a gigantic nut in one of my pot plants. “You should write children’s stories,” one of my friends said. But it was true. I’m not good at making stuff up.

And I cooked a cake. My first ever cake. It didn’t rise in the middle. My friend who I was bridesmaid for was visiting from Hong Kong. What more do you want from a trip to Blighty than a flat Victoria Sponge lovingly made in Ladbroke Grove? How very English. In fact - my friend’s husband generously offered - there’d have been no problem with the cake at all if the words Victoria Sponge hadn’t been mooted. Ah, labels, labels, labels… “dirt is just matter in the wrong place.”

My grandmother used to cook cakes. Not that successfully if lightness is valued above stability. Tedious conventionality - means nothing. Knowles folklore tells of one occasion when she tripped whilst carrying one of the finer of her fruit genus. Allegedly it bounced off the floor and not a crumb was lost. There’s always more than one definition of success. It was the war. How’s one to create lightness on rations?

And I met two pet piggies: Salt and Pepper, who were divine. And I met a yogi called Godfrey who believed in the divine, a quality I admired very much – but not in wearing clothes overly - interrupts the flow of chi apparently.

I slept in an eco-dome under the stars and went to the loo out of doors. It was heaven. Although I didn’t recognise it as such at the time. But then I had Proust to remind me of the profound odiousness of human nature. You don’t read Proust to restore your faith in humanity. And you definitely don’t read Proust in A&E if you’re looking for reassurances whilst your world’s slowly crumbling. Rather like A&E, not a lot happens. Or not a lot is perceived to be happening, which may or may not be the same thing, but probably isn’t, although it could be. Nonetheless, if you like a book wherein not a lot happens this might be the puppy for you. The plot began to thicken last night when our hero / anti-hero depending on your perspective, left his bedroom to go and visit the neighbours. I still probably wouldn’t call it a page turner quite but there’s truth there. Underweight plot, overweight truth. And let’s face it nobody wants too much of that. It gets a bit much to stomach after a while. Too much truth doesn’t sit that well on top of the fried plantain and okra.

Meanwhile Jill Magid’s telling me: ‘I can burn your face’ and then, more alarmingly… ‘the secret itself is much more beautiful than its revelation.’

Is it ‘real’ or isn’t it? A question only Jeff Koons can truly put a bullet through. After two visits to the Serpentine this summer – that’d be two visits too many - it wasn’t long before I could no longer give a monkey’s uncle whether anything is ‘real’ or not. To quote the awesome Scotsman Momus: “Every lie creates a parallel world. The world in which it is true.” Whilst Koons speaks like someone who’s learned the twelve steps parrot fashion and not very well.

A much more subtle and engaging enquiry into the blurring of the boundaries between the ‘real’ and the imagined is Authority to Remove (Tate Modern, Level 2, until 3 January 2010). I really don’t care that somebody can make a piece of aluminium look like an inflatable and then make it two dimensional and then paint boobs on it. And then strut about like a peacock playing with smoke and mirrors. I care so little it makes me cross. It makes me very cross. The profound pretending to be banal? Or the banal pretending to be profound? If I were one of those crashing bores who go on about such things I might care to mention tax payer’s money. But I’m not, so forget I mentioned it. Except if it were so banal I suppose I wouldn’t be so cross… but I’m in no mood to investigate that right now so I’ll gloss over it and get back to the surreal and the hyperreal, wherein I’m far happier this particular evening.

I’m not sure if this Jill Magid exhibition is real or isn’t real. At first I thought it was real and then I realised it wasn’t real, but then I wasn’t sure again. And now I’ve no idea. Can she burn my face? Can she burn anyone’s face?

Answer me that Popeye or the squirrel gets it.

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