The lovely couple for the month of May are Grayson Perry’s book ‘Playing to the Gallery’ and my good friend Sandra Moore.
I have known Sandra for a long time, but not as long as some would imagine. Before we met, over 30 years ago, people would say “You know Sandra.” At first, I would say “No, we have never met”. “Really? You would get on really well with her” they would reply. After I while I would say “No, we have never met” in a slightly grumpy way. A little snippy sometimes. Unbenowst to me the same was happening in Essex “You know Mouse” etc. Yes Mouse. My college nickname. It is pronounced Moose. As in “Wee Mouse” with a Glaswegian accent. But that is another story. Eventually we did meet and were determined not to get on. Of course we did. Very well.
Sandra is an artist. She is challenging and clever and brave and infuriating and kind and crazy. And I love her. We have been having early-morning-before-the-rest-have-risen chats. It has been a wonderful way to start the day. To share, to be honest, to be funny and a bit sad. Together.
‘Playing to the Gallery’, written by the artist Grayson Perry, is a great book. Many of you will have heard of Mr Perry, perhaps known as much for his alter-ego, Claire, as his art. Which is maybe a shame. He probably doesn’t mind. A couple of years ago, Sandra and myself visited his travelling exhibition at the Arnolfini in Bristol, where we met up with The Mantles. A lovely day indeed. The company was obviously excellent, but so was the art. A mix of textiles, ceramics, sculpture and motorbikes; my mouth may have gaped unattractively in awe. Did I understand it? Possibly not. Did I appreciate it? Undoubtedly.
Although no artist, I enjoy art immensely and often visit galleries and exhibitions. It can be a bit intimidating though. I am not well versed in the ways of the art-side. Once myself and OH stood on an installation by mistake, blushingly retreating when we realised our faux-pas. Well I blushed; I suspect OH was defiant. ‘Playing to the Gallery’ debunks the Kingdom of Art in a way that is not unduly cruel, it is affectionately critical. After all it is Grayson’s chosen world. Or did he choose it? Maybe there is no choice in these matters.
As can be said for many of the best books, ‘Playing to the Gallery’ is both hilarious and educational. And there are pictures. And it all made sense to me. Unlike many things at the moment. I am sure this month’s couple will get on really well. Just like Sandra and me. I do hope so.