'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

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Herewith a labour of love comes to you from under the duvet, from whence I am planning on never emerging again. My friend Isabel called me on Friday afternoon to ask me where I was watching the football.

"What football?" I grunt gracelessly.
She's from California.
"Babes, there's like you and one other person in the whole country who doesn't know we're playing Algeria tonight."

A few minutes later I ring off, realising, as I hear the phone go click, that my assumption that the word 'we' refers to En-gur-luhnnd may be just that. A feeling of foreboding shivers through me as I contemplate the prospect of what I think may be my first ever full on 90 minutes of the so called beautiful game.

The foreboding was well placed it turned out as the result is a hangover so catastrophic it now seems unlikely I'll make it through to tomorrow. I may have said it before but this time I really mean it. If I do make it through to tomorrow I'm never drinking again. And I don't think I shall be watching football again either. It was rubbish. Thursday night was better and I spent that standing on the pavement in New Cross. The fire alarm went off during the Goldsmiths' Undergraduate private view, so I'd dragged my arse across the capital for the sake of five pieces of video work and some chapattis. The later looked just about ok on the Saatchi Show back in, what was it, January, but by last Thursday they were looking significantly past their sell by date. What, I wondered ungenerously, has Mr Qureshi been doing with himself for the last six months?

Anyway, I could have, I probably should have, hauled myself around the rest of the show, but frankly by the time I was back out on the pavement with all hell breaking loose in my ears, the prospect of a glass of ropey plonk down the Sun and Doves was looking like a tempting one. Although things didn't improve that much when we got there. The tills had broken down and arty young fellows these days, it transpires, aren't cut out for mental arithmetic. I enjoyed seeing the wave again though. The Great Wave off Kanagawa in reverse, writ huge on the side of a modest terraced house in Camberwell. It's a romantic thing to stumble upon in SE5. It restored me. Briefly. There's some beauty in the world it seemed to say, even if most of it is painful and melancholic. And transient. Horribly transient.



I suppose I'm being unnecessarily gloomy about the whole thing. It just seems that whatever happens, whenever things seem to be going even vaguely ok, life always manages to bring it back around to doing a big shit on you. Gives with one hand and punches you in the guts with the other. I'm not sure if that's how it really is or if that's just how it appears. And in a way what's the difference? What's the difference between reality and the appearance of reality? What's the difference between shit and the appearance of shit?

Anyway, I'll pick myself up and give myself a shake down, nothing too rumbustious, a gentle little jiggle ought to be enough for this evening. I'll be alright in the morning I expect. And the fact is that despite the premature debunk it hadn't been a waste of time at all actually. There was one piece of work – and it only takes one – that made the trip worth while and probably comes near the top of my 'best things I've seen so far in 2010' list. Twenty eight year old undergrad Helen Nymann Hansen's film Mother Mind - quite staggering really, despite maybe a slightly cheesy title. Part film, part performance, part immersive installation, it was atmospheric and archetypal and hypnotising. I was completely carried away into another world and it was a world that somehow felt far more real than the one I usually waste my time knocking around in.

But these things don't really communicate themselves in words. Especially not the words of a bear with a sore head. So I think I'll call it a day now and try and sleep it off. Hopefully the world will seem a sunnier place in the morning. Isabel tells me we're playing Slovenia on Wednesday. I think I might give that a miss though.