Sunday, 8 September 2013


I have a friend who spreads panic, she is a panic machine, her panic is like Linus's blanket, she externalises the damn stuff. Me, I hate panic, I do everything to avoid it, I plan weeks in advance, and if I catch it, if it gets in, I'm paralysed, I literally seize up. Yesterday I panicked.
I blame it on the exhibition we got the other day. I was delighted, elated. Then I started thinking; mostly practical stuff to do with 'art' that is never a problem with 'words' - words do not suffer in reproduction (that's their point). This 'reproduction' stuff can cast a deep shadow. I mean, if I see a rock star (say) relaxing on Sky ARTS1, they are not relaxing, they are being filmed relaxing. If I watch somebody cooking on Come Dine With Me, they may be cooking, but they will be making a much bigger hash of it than they would if they were not being filmed doing it. These things are mediated by reproduction.  So you just tootle along making your bits and pieces and that's just dandy, but then you have to externalise them en-masse, you have to suddenly think of all sorts of shit; you have to be ready to dissect them, sometimes literally but mostly metaphorically, you are part of some other process, and since I am hard wired to panic (and dissection is what I do to other people as a critic) this is likely to blow circuitry. Too many problems beset themselves at the same time and I felt the beginnings of pain in my knees, and elbows, and ankles.
Of course, if you read the self help manuals, particularly those directed at corporate Californian architectural firms, they say this is the natural second stage of the process, following elation, and precursing something awful like 'attacking the problem'.
So, I am suddenly moved toward appreciation of those recalcitrants in the art world who have dealt with panic in their various ways; Lucien Freud never turned up, Keith Richards shot smack, but I'm hardly in their league. I found the best comfort (and ease of pain) in pouring myself a couple of large scotches and watching Dad's Army.
Above, one of my pieces, copyright me.

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