Saturday 23rd diary entry..what a lovely day!
It began well when I ordered a full breakfast in a local cafe in town..now I know what you're thinking. Did I go for fried bread or toast? Today I went for toast. The egg was nice and runny and the beans, well maybe they'd been left in the pan for too long. But what the heck. I'd had oats four days running and now I deserved a weekend morning treat. A warm sun was out at last and sitting in a seat with my back to the sun I could understand why my menu card had stuck to the vinyl of the table. I glanced up at an old black and white photo of American GI's on the march in Falmouth town on the wall. Probably on their way to D Day. I hope some of the guys made it all the way through. Life was tough living through a lens back then now it's through an iphone pinhole. How times have changed but black and white stills look good.
The first thing to point out as I waited for the Poly doors to open at ten is I'd painted the sill to the front window a day previous. Primer only. A hand scraper and a 120 grade sandpaper can do only so much. It can't quite give the ultimate finish (grade 60 and an electric sander would be your best bet) it was around lunchtime as I was brushing up a bag full of scraps of old paint that the owner of the chinese restaurant opposite came over and pointed out my amateurish shoddy sanding technique. I agreed with him. Granted the window was not slick smooth you'd need a professional for that but I explained I was only here a week and it was a temporary fix to a much bigger problem. I don't think I impressed him enough to decorate his restaurant frontage. Nor did I think to offer a small painting that could help pay toward one of his takeaways. I'll remember to do so next year when I'll be back to add the undercoat.
By the end of the day it would be Gull mess heaven as was my A frame stand which made a perfect target. Each day I was having to wash it back down. One of the morning routines. One morning I was a bit hot and took a gulp of water that inadvertantly I'd used to clean up the mess with. That's how dangerous it gets, drinking in the Spring gallery back room. Thankfully I still had some red wine left over from the preview night. I was under the influence by lunchtime. It was Australian.
By mid morning over 30 people had had a good look. Including a couple of mates Ben Warner, his dad Ken who used to be our Illustration course tutor. Always a treat to catch up with friends who know a thing or two about painting. We all used to know a lot about Illustration as well but I think the former is winning now. Two french girls who had just sailed into port bought three pieces of my work. Marine took great interest as her grandma was also a bit of an artist and she took great delight in viewing all the paintings. Marine has a good eye for these things. Poetic too. With an ocean of emotion I hope I can to create more works to add to her collection. Another painting sold to a lady who had bought one of my Rotary cards from the St Ives postcard auction last September. (And had just bought from Open Studios artist Jo Kehyaian. Check out Hampstead art fair for her new works. Great lead lined framing too.)
I was half way through Exile and the Kingdom by Camus in the afternoon and enjoying people's views on the paintings and questioning the artist at work is a picture no one can paint but many live and one of those Penguin covers I never got to illustrate. Who needs to nowadays with Shutterstock, Getty images and every mobile device having print quality photo shop apps. Although I could just be allergic to young hip kids with victorian beards and pointy shoes in publishers. The look of a late 50's Penguin cover is more notable as an iconic ironic Harland Miller artwork depiction. I can't think of anything funny to say about that point only that I still enjoy the smell of paperback books and oil on canvas.
At the end of the day my sister texted over a little shopping list to bring back. I wanted to buy her Prosecco as a gift for my weeks stay but the supermarket had ran out. So I went to look for a bottle of Champagne instead.
Sketch house night. I could have gone out with my sister again as we'd had a great night out in events square on friday. I was onto my third pint of Porthleven when we met up once she finally put her children to bed. Gin and rum topped that night off. A chicken chow mein helped to soak up the wine and beers we bought after. I hadn't touched a drop of alcohol for a month. I soon made up for it. This is why I think I forgot about the twenty minute walk to Penryn..missed the poetry reading turned up late and forgot to go out with my sis.
This was a good time as any to evade the eurovision song contest though. Thankfully I ate well and had a good vegetarian curry care of Salvador Thali (And he can sing) Not at the same time whilst serving mind, but you know he's a popular food guy and the Indian flavours carried on a summer's breeze soon entranced the locals. Stuart Stephens Hall was packed earlier for chick pea heaven. As I was told. Remember I did turn up late and I tend to stay away from crowds.
Could it be the Cornish light that one can be mistaken for Colin Firth? I mean he lives in Italy right and can do proper alpha male stuff. He's suave gives off the air of sophistication which is a darn hard thing to pull off as a lad brought up on academia. (Colin Firth..not me) Anyway to Maddie..the pretty young thing who thought I looked very much like Colin Firth. However she was disappointed in me by my lack of talent in a) acting.. (when I said that I was Colin Firth's distant cousin) b) general conversational skills (I omitted to say I bet Colin Firth can't paint as well as me..I do tend to remind myself that my skills should always remain on canvas and not in conversation) and c) the fact that I was not Colin Firth.
This by the way is the second time it's happened and I've been twice mistaken for the Peep show guy Robert Webb. How this is possible is beyond me. There is a certain age difference and their taste in clothing is totally different. Penryn, a random place if ever there was to be identified as a film star..but then we do have Tim Burton filming here in Cornwall and also new Poldark. Any bloke with long dark flowing locks could now have the good misfortune (depending on your age) of being mistaken for a top director and/or actor. With a glance you can I suppose allude to that person just as easily as catching a view in a reflection of a mirror and thinking you look like someone else. But then these days I do try to stay away from mirrors...
As soon as I arrived at the Hall I was given flowers. Now I'm not sure if there was a general flower giving ceremony that night and I'm sure coming from Christina Romero Cross (installation artist friend) the intention was not so much 'have some flowers me lovely..more hold this whilst I get my camera (and wine) and film shadows from the last light of the evening. (Though It was more of a posy). I'd like to count that as the second time I've ever been given flowering plants. Technically the third time as my niece did bring a few picked flowers on the day on visiting the State of Play show but I thought this evenings event was a better segue into..the first time I'd been given flowers. It was from a young french girl in the late 80's whilst I waited in a queue for a London tube bus back to Oxford. (I was younger then too which I tend to conveniently forget nowadays)
For years I've always held onto that as a romantic moment as she said something in french to me and went away smiling. Plus it was a warm summer's day. Again it's the light. A crucial factor. Unless it's flower giving in the rain under an umbrella. The girl was french how more romantic can you get? Okay..well Italians. What could I do but graciously accept as it would of looked bad to have turned her down in front of all the other people waiting in the queue. What her name was or where she was going I'll never know. Common sense dictates she didn't need to take flowers with her. Or was she just getting rid of flowers because she'd fallen out with her boyfriend who may have given her the same bunch that very same day? I won't think about that for too long. It might spoil the moment.
Or I could talk more about the giri I sat next to on a train leaving for London during the Olympic year. She was carrying a bunch of flowers that I assumed were intended for her a) sick mother or b) grandma but it was more of a curve ball answer as they were intended for her boyfriend who she hadn't seen for a while. They had a date to see Taken 2 that night and the flowers I'm sure would have lightened the mood of the film. I'll admit I was taken in with her too but enough about her as I thought I wish my girlfriend had given me flowers years ago. But then Taken 2 wasn't out then.
Once the french DJ music came on we all stepped out of the Hall. I don't think that was anything to do with the DJ it's more the fact we had a clear warm summer's evening in May to enjoy. Standing out in the street milling about I almost felt European. And close enough to feeling that a Eurovision is no contest. These days that is a buzz word for FIFA induced clandestine politics and I'm not into farce. Just folly. Strictly business only..remember they can make the same Euro coins but not the same banking system! Now, what kind of a strange foreign policy is that?
I think I did quite well on my make do effort of looking sophisticated by balancing my wine on the back of a Landrover whilst tucking into a very well recommended curry. Fireworks from Tremough campus soon lit up the notion that they must be marking the end of the student term and the end of the evening was upon us.
After the goodbyes I wandered over to the Thirsty Scholar pub (academia is everywhere now that Falmouth has university status) A money spinner for universities who now charge students anything up to £9,000 in tuition fees each year. The best thing to do is spin a bottle and hope for the best. Granted I was a bit full from my meal and I should of stayed for another drink..yet I'm well mannered enough not to interrupt people's conversations and It looked like young Maddie and her friends were having a great time knowing that I was the man who was not Colin Firth.
Beyond the pail, just passing the King's Arms I had a nice compliment from a connoisseur of said establishment.
"You're looking all natty tonight mate"
'Thank you', I replied
"Good to see someone's making a ******* effort to scrub up nicely"
Ah, I thought it must be the clothes that have it .
One last bottle of Sol at Miss Peapods finally finished off the evening. Another DJ set serenaded my drink as I looked out upon the tranquil star lit waters of the harbour. I'm sure somewhere on Lake Como you can get the same desired effect. I recommend adding a lime to your drink for extra zing.