'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, 28 September 2010

Some pleasant things happen and some unpleasant things happen. My back has stopped hurting but the internet keeps breaking down. I've made up with someone I'd fallen out with who I'd been missing terribly, whilst another friend has flung himself from the Christmas card list without a backward glance. I've been invited to write for a new arts website and to curate for a gallery I like, but Surrey Police seem to want to prosecute me for driving down the A3 at 64mph. And why must people insist on telling me what to do? It's not cricket telling a person what to do. In fact it's deeply boorish.

So in a word it all seems vaguely unsatisfactory. Which I suppose beats deeply unsatisfactory. But, funnily enough, only just.

I keep trying to remind myself that life is what's happening now. It's not a state of perfection that's waiting around the corner for me. No, I think this might be it. This mildly irritating state of things never being entirely as you'd hoped. It occurred to me in the bath last night that if I keep on waiting for the arrival of this wonderful state of being that exists around the next corner I may end up missing the point altogether.

I was feeling desperately glum about it all on Friday; that feeling whereby you can't seem to put one foot in front of the other. Somehow I dragged myself to Deptford X. And I was glad I had because London's 'foremost contemporary visual arts festival's lead artist' Mark Titchner cheered me up. His work is at the Old Police Station I think. Actually I didn't make it that far due to a bit of a snarl up in the New Cross area. But his statement of intent for the festival was enough:

"Grand and spectacular, ephemeral or concealed, art qualified and created by daily life... It doesn't matter what 'it' happens to be, but 'it' is experienced and 'it' is lived… Not art but everyday life. Get up, go to work, come home, get up, go work, come home but with an added element, something that wasn't there the day before, something that actually makes you think about all this routine, this place we live and call life. Ridiculous, odd, generous, pretentious and maybe a bit stupid but something that reminds us that real life is not elsewhere. It's here."

You really need to give Deptford X more than the few private view hours I allotted it. There are some satisfyingly unexpected nooks and crannies you're likely to miss if you rush it. Like Matthew Verdon's subtle intervention borrowing from David Hammons on Deptford High Street: "THE LESS DO, THE MORE OF AN ART ST AM." Quite profound. And Shelley Theodore's quiet photograph of the curtained front of Café 187 at 182 Deptford High Street, installed on the wall facing the café. Yes, I missed all that rather annoyingly. Story of my life. I missed it because I was busy dashing elsewhere.

I didn't miss World Within Worlds at BEARSPACE though, curated by the charming Julia Alvarez. I didn't entirely understand World Within Worlds. But then I was in a rush to get to the APT Gallery for an 8.30pm performance by Mark McGowan that promised to be delightfully bonkers, despite being set against the backdrop of a tedious display from the Goldsmiths' Photography and Urban Cultures MA that exuded an intolerable air of mind-numbing right-on-ness.

Mark McGowan wore a cardboard box on his head with a photograph of Raoul Moat sellotaped to the front of it and held beneath his chin two bits of tied together curtain pole purporting to be a gun. He told the story from Raoul's angle; Raoul's tragedy as it were, with a bit of comedy thrown in. I believe he was trying to point out there is always more than one perspective on a situation and that, in a way, it's all fiction. I thought he did brilliantly. Bravo! There's been a furore in the red tops though: '"Sick" Raoul Moat play is like Shakespeare claims writer'. People don't like it when you mess with their archetypes it would seem. Tack up your high horses folks.

Other than that I managed to find time to get chatted up by a sweet dyke at the Arch Gallery, so that was nice. Not my type, but it's reassuring to feel included. The photographs there by Peter Anderson had that pop thing going on. You liked them straight away. It’s a red herring that actually.

It's on until 3 October, Deptford X. I should probably go back next week-end and see some of the things I missed first time around. I won't though. I never do. Always on to the next thing. It'll all be better tomorrow. Who knows, bloody internet might even be working.

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