The Value of Damien Hirst's art has fallen by 30%!
At last there will be room in the modern art circles for me to forge a career! In celebration of this long awaited and overdue news I am posting a celebratory piece of my own artwork which I think far exceeds anything Damien has produced. It is called Sunset over pail of shit.
Sunset over pail of shit by J A Turley. Price on application.
On the news this morning I read that the actor Larry Hagman, the evil villain of the Dallas TV series, has passed away after a battle with throat cancer.
I've never been a fan of soap operas or long running TV series but Dallas is one the very few that I have watched more than most. Mainly this is because Dallas and its glamorous counterpart, Dynasty, were very popular with my girlfriends at university. We would often meet up in a friend's room (she was fortunate enough to have a television in the days when it was still considered a privilege) and watch the weekly episode. It was a communal affair where relationships were built over cups of coffee, cheap biscuits and berating Larry or Joan for their latest misdemeanours.
They were good times.
Larry Hagman 1931-2012 (Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)
Life has changed a lot since my college days with access to TV shows available to anyone with a computer or a mobile phone. I suspect it is much easier for students - or indeed anyone- to fall into a solitary existence whilst on the surface being in touch with perceived normality. I think that's quite sad because I don't think an emoticon is quite the same as shared laughter or tears. I also feel very fortunate that during my university education I made some wonderful friendships and whilst I don't see those friends as much as I would like, I know some of those relationships hold strong to this day.
So today when I read about the sad death of Larry Hagman what struck me most was the news that along with his family both his Dallas co-stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray were at his bedside when he died. Isn't that just marvellous of them? That surely must be the greatest test of friendship.
So I say: Well Done, Larry. You had a lovely family, a smashing career and true friends. You can't do better that.
I'm getting Mr T a carpet cleaner for Christmas for all those nooks and crannies that somehow I just don't manage to clean very well. It's a statement present.
The unfortunate thing is that Mr T will probably like it.
Apparently this Bissell machine is great for stairways and pet accidents. I am looking forward to Christmas afternoon where instead of singing along to the The Sound of Music we will be arguing over how to fix the attachments.
Do your remember Miss L? Miss L is my friend with whom I had a spat with over the actors Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins of The Professionals. Well, Miss L in response to my post You Are Kidding Me? Some Women Wear Onesies? emailed me to advise me that onesies for men ( a hideous concept) featuring Wally from the Where's Wally book series are on sale in a department store in the UK. What's more, Miss L even offered to go in and make a purchase on my behalf. Naturally, my first thought was to de-friend Miss L on Facebook but then I came to my senses and remembered that Miss L really is a good friend and would not intentionally want to upset me with ghastly imagery of Mr T wearing a Where's Wally onesie.(Although I still haven't forgotten that Miss L has actually met Lewis Collins. And at some point there will have to be payback.)
Children love the Where's Wally book series which has highly illustrated pages featuring a character called Wally. The idea is (I believe) that children are supposed to have "fun" finding Wally amongst the crowded scenes. However, from an adult perspective, this book series is not "fun" at all. It is truly mind numbingly boring. Indeed, many a time whilst reading a Where's Wallybook have I wanted to shoot myself in the head. Unfortunately (or fortunately) as I live in the UK I don't have access to a gun. I pity those poor parents who live in the US whose temptation to shoot themselves in the head whilst reading Where's Wallymust be very real and tangible. Anyway, on my boredom scale for children's book (and I've read a lot) Where's Wallyis a top rated performer. It was even more boring than Thomas the Tank Engine during which I at least got to make the peep-peep noises. Needless to say, I am so glad my kids are now reading joined up writing. It makes my heart leap with joy knowing I'll never to read (or should that be "look") at another Where's Wally book.
So back to my story - Miss L advised me that Mr T and I could have a lot of "fun" trying to find Wally on his onesie. I must now counteract this claim for the following reasons:
1) It would take days, possibly years, to locate Wally on Mr T as he over six foot tall. In my youth this might have constituted "fun." However, those were the days before I wore glasses for close up reading - these days I could spend about sixth months looking for Mr T's Wally and still not find it. Besides, experience has taught me that glasses don't make anything look good, especially a Wally.
2) I fear there would not actually be any Wally onesies big enough for Mr T; the leg and arm openings would probably be half way up his limbs. Thus, when I did eventually find Mr T's Wally and we wanted to celebrate we would have to take a trip down to casualty which would probably dampen the celebrations. What's more, that's the kind of embarrassing situation that junior doctors photograph so that when they become consultants they can put them on slide shows to illustrate to their students what horrific injuries they've had to deal with: I do not think Mr T would take too kindly to being immortalized in medical history.
3) When I see onesies it brings out the mothering instinct in me and I'd probably start talking in baby-speak. It would probably sound something like this:
Where's your cutey Wally my little baby waby? Mummy can't find the teeny-weeny fellow. Shall we play air planes instead? Now you open your mouth wide and mumsy-pumsy will fly this lovely- wuverly broccoli smoothie right into your mouthy-wouthy. Right here we go... Zooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........................................................................
So what, in effect, I'm saying is; I would sound like a idiot, Mr T would like an idiot and we probably both be locked away in a loony bin for safekeeping.
So to sum up: No man should wear a onesie. Indeed no man, woman or beast should wear ever a onesie. Except perhaps David Cameron but that's only because it would look good with his dummy. Which is not Nick Clegg (although I know some of you are thinking that's what I'm thinking) as Nick Clegg is a very, very, nice man and it's not his fault his name rhymes with Egg. Cameron's dummy is obviously the one across the floor. Yeah, that's right. Milipede. Or whatever his name is.
I've been feeling a bit bored today. I have plenty to do though. In fact, too much to do which is why I probably can't settle down to do anything in particular. The laundry, the ironing and the general cleaning is screaming out at me as well as the possibility of a search and rescue mission for some old underpants in Master Jacob's room which smells distinctly of vinegar. Curious. There's also my book to continue which is now over 50,000 words. However, I just can't settle to anything at all. Nope. No can do. To use an English expression: I kinda have ants in my pants but due to boredom not excitement.
Anyway, boredom usually leads in my case to depression. Not bi-polar which is for the celebs but the kind of depression that lead to chocolate digestives and strong cups of coffee laced with whiskey. Maybe even a doughnut or two. Or if I'm feeling really suicidal - filing my nails and actually painting them.
However, I am now no longer bored today! Hurrah! This is because I have just received an email from George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to tell me I have inherited $16. 5 million dollars!!!!!!!
However, George needs to know I am not dead (hence the email) so that I may become a beneficiary of the will of Mr Fredrick Williams. Mr Williams is apparently an old business associate of mine. I can't quite remember Freddy but he might just be the old gentleman I sold some empty jam jars to at a car boot sale in 1993.
Anyway, George just needs to know my full name, residential address, nationality, date of birth, profession, age and status, my office telephone and fax, mobile phone, country of origin and copies of my passport and drivers licence and finally my private email address so he can start processing my transaction through Her Majesty's Counsel.
Strangely as yet George hasn't asked for my bank and tax details. I'm assuming that's because he already knows them as he's been sucking the blood out of Mr T and I for years and years.
I know - I'll write back to George and tell him he can just pay it all into the Treasury! I expect George will be over the moon with my initiative.
1. As a child E L James was probably obsessed by Batman. This has obviously left her were a life long legacy of writing like a comic strip author with an obsession for gimp masks.
2. You can write wholly crap and still sell bucket loads of books. This is excellent news for any unpublished author. I am currently practising my writing techniques by watching the complete series of Batman. I am going to follow it up with Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk and Thunderbirds. This will ensure that any racy novel I may write in the future will feature lots of oversized men in tights wearing quaint little hats who can contort themselves into all sorts of positions. Kinky.
3. Cable ties are not just for cables. I truss up my Christmas turkey with cable ties but I now know some people truss each other up with them. The last time I was at the garden centre and asked for cable ties the assistant gave me a querying look to which I replied: "The last time I trussed up my husband was in 1991. That was on my wedding night when he got caught up in my tights."
It looks sophisticated but inside it reads like my intestines feel after a bad curry.
4. When a twenty one year old virgin meets a twenty seven year old multi-millionaire heavy petting and whipping is on the cards. When a eighty one year virgin meets a eighty seven year old multi-millionaire it's just cards or, at best, playing Doctors & Nurses. Unfortunately, the doctors and nurses in those instances usually involve a trip to ER.
5. I am probably not the submissive type although for a small fortune I might reconsider. In fact, going with the latest trend I'm thinking of auctioning myself on Ebay to the highest bidder. I will be putting a reserve price of ten pence and a packet of cheese and onion crisps.
6. The latest rival to E L James is the author, Sylvia Day, whose novelBared to Youis apparently selling well. She said this about Fifty Shades:
"The Fifty Shades series is a Cinderella story, where the characters seemingly have no flaws." Well yes, Fifty Shades is indeed a rag to riches story but do Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele really have no flaws? What planet is Ms Day on? The two protagonists are totally screwed up: Anastasia talks like Robin and Christian acts like he's been shut in a wardrobe for twenty years with his penis caught in the door.
7. I should have bought Fifty Shades of Grey in paperback instead of on Kindle. We were short on kindling for Bonfire night.
8. The key to a heroine bagging a billionaire or romantic hero is to study literature, become a bookaholic and preferably work in publishing or in a bookshop. Working in a library will not suffice as billionaires do not visit libraries as they only buy limited edition or antique books - unless it's a contemporary sex guide in which case they download it on their Kindle.( A billionaire is obviously very clever so he can make do with just the text as, ironically, all the illustrations on his Kindle will be totally f**** up.)
9. It was not worth me reading the two later books in theFifty Shades series as I already knew what would happen. Indeed, after I read the reviews of the sequels I was so encouraged by my powers of prediction I thought about starting a career as a psychic. However, when I applied to take a psychic's diploma course I was told I didn't have the suitable qualifications to undertake such a demanding course. Apparently one must either have a degree in literature, work in publishing or in a bookshop.
10. I am still awaiting the release of a book about ways to improve my laundry skills under which false pretences I bought Fifty Shades of Grey. I would nominate Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson, to write this book only the thought of her making out with her bedsheets the way she makes out with Crème Brulee makes my stomach heave. On a final note: you can easily see from this episode of Batman how E L James was heavily influenced by Batman. In this episode Batman and Robin are trapped in side a box room full of spikes and subjected to the evil torture of the purring Catwoman. I can only thank god that E L James watched Batmanrather than Marine Boybecause I just don't think I could stomach an undersea version ofFifty Shades of Grey.
Forget Thomas Hardy. Forget Dylan Thomas. Let’s talk about the Thomas who has made more impact than any of his namesakes.
Let’s talk about Thomas the Tank Engine.
I want to make one thing clear first. Nothing would make me happier than taking a flame thrower to Thomas or blowing him up with a stick of dynamite.
You see, as the mother of three sons, over the last 18 years I've read every Thomas book and watched every spin-off video. I've even sat through that awful film starring Alec Baldwin which was like having pins stuck through my head. I've also trudged through countless engine sheds and had my bones shaken till I'm on the edge of a breakdown whilst enduring “fun” steam rides. In addition, I hold Thomas personally responsible for the time when pregnant with No 3 the miniature steam engine I was sitting on derailed. If that imagery isn't enough to make you queasy, let me tell you I've also risked my life by driving with one hand whilst pointing out the window and yelling “Look, there’s a steam engine whoo-whoo!” Yes, when you’re desperate to avoid the kids stabbing each other in the car even a steam engine becomes interesting. In fact I've been known to become almost orgasmic at the site of a puff of smoke or high pitch whistle when faced with the alternative of another rear seat punch up.
I’ll not deny too that my evenings reading Thomas books, which I found poorly written, repetitive and unimaginative, were sheer utter torture. Subsequently, after many years of agony, the day I took those books and videos to the school fayre was one of the happiest days of my life. Knowing I would never again hear that monotonous music or Ringo Starr’s uninspiring narration was like winning the lottery.
However, no matter how much I despised Thomas, no matter how much I wanted to read books with more interesting “puffing and panting”, I only parted with Thomas when my boys were ready. Why? Because Thomas the Tank Engine had given them heaps and heaps of pleasure and entertainment. Countless hours were spent reading, watching videos and building train tracks that would span several rooms. What’s more, when my boys were sick and incapacitated I could always rely on Thomas to spin a little magic. Thomas was a hero unmatched by any other preschool book or cartoon character.
So when I read a few weeks back that Shauna Wilton, a Canadian professor of political science had analysed 23 episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine and delivered her findings to a conference in a speech that included a number of negative anti Thomas statements and concluded that he “represents a conservative political ideology that punishes individual initiative, opposes critique and change, and relegates females to supportive roles…Any change is seen as disrupting the natural order of things” I was ready to fly to Canada, tie the woman to some train tracks and run her over at 50 miles per hour whilst humming a well known children’s television theme tune. (Yep, you guessed which one!)
Luckily for Professor Wilton, my eldest son, who despite his monstrous upbringing subjected to hideous Thomas cartoons with dark undertones of bigotry, racism and right wing ideology, held me back. Yes, unbelievably, despite his running around my house screaming “Peep, peep I'm Thomas and you’re the Fat Controller Mummy” (an accurate statement) he’s turned out to be pretty well adjusted and sensible. “You can’t do that Mum,” he said. “The woman is clearly a fruitcake. Just go to your study and chill out. And don’t forget to build that new bridge while you’re there, I want to test out Percy later.”
Look, what’s wrong with these left wing academics? Are they all nuts? Thomas the Tank Engine is about steam engines with silly faces! Do we have to take all this politically correct mumbo jumbo so seriously?! If so, I want to object to Postman Pat because frankly he spends far too much time in the company of sheep and I find that more worrying than one of my sons becoming a trainspotter.
Oh alright, I’ll be sensible for a moment.
Thomas the Tank Engine was written in the 1940s by The Rev W Awdry, a Church of England vicar. Of course it’s going to reflect the age in which it was written and the Reverend’s experiences but does that mean it should be singled out as a bad example to children of today? No, it shouldn't By all means, if some people want to use it as a learning tool to educate their children about feminism and social class, then that’s their prerogative but I seriously doubt whether any preschool child understands such concepts or is likely to be subconsciously influenced by conservative ideologies. In my experience, little children are only interested in the adventures, the colourful characters and a happy ending. And that’s the way it should be.
I agree with Professor Wilton that we should be concerned about what our children watch and read, but I'm afraid my concerns are primarily if they have access to unsuitable adult material. I believe that as children grow they have to learn to assimilate information for themselves and to differentiate between fact and fiction, past and present, right and wrong. Reading childhood literature from other eras is part of that process. It’s a way of opening up the world to them in an educative and creative way which allows them to safely explore new worlds both real and imagined. Forcing a child to see your own opinions, which may be invisible to them, undermines this process. It may even curtail their pleasure and be indoctrination of the worst kind.
The truth is I'm concerned that this wave of political correctness that started out as a well meaning intention to protect civil liberties, has now spiralled out of control. Children’s literature is becoming increasingly “inclusive” and many words and terms have now been branded offensive when there is no offence intended. Of course, I want to see literature that is representative of all aspects of society and of course I don’t want to hear genuinely offensive words but what happened to reflecting the interests of the majority and the concept of free speech? And where will all this ridiculous moral sanctioning end? When the likes of Awdry and Blyton are banned for being too sexist and middle class? I hope not, but Professor Wilton is typical of a new breed of academics and politicians who seek to assert their own opinions of universal equality and conformity on all. Their tolerance has become intolerance and to my mind that’s not political correctness or democracy. It’s fascism.
You know, I think there are a lot of good, strong moral messages in Thomas the Tank Engine. I don’t agree that the messages in Thomas “punish initiative” but instead offer clear definitions of what is right and wrong; naughty behaviour is punished and good behaviour is rewarded. These are simple, effective messages for a young child to absorb at the age when they are discovering and testing their parental and social boundaries. They are important lessons to learn for any child, or indeed anyone, who wants to live within a functioning society.
So should I be lucky enough one day to become a grandparent, like millions of other grandparents and mums and dads all over the world, I shall be reading Thomas the Tank Engine to my grandchildren. Possibly I’ll feel less vehemence towards him then and I’ll only remember the delight on my children’s faces as I peep-peeped and poop-pooped my way through all the adventures.
And as for Professor Wilton? What she needs is good ride on a steam engine with a tender behind.
This article was first published on The View From Here in January 2010
Earlier in the year I talked about an item of clothing that has now grown so huge in popularity it is featuring on the news, radio and in the national newspapers. It's called the Onesie. It's basically like a baby's sleep suit - only for adults. If you remember, I personally designed one for Tom Cruise back here. (Age 13- 14 obviously.) Just in case you forgotten this is what it looked liked:
As you can see, I made a lot of effort.
Sadly, this morning when I did my early morning peruse of the papers I saw a GROWN WOMAN wearing one of these here. Unfortunately, the photographer took the picture of her also clutching a large teddy bear -so not only does she now look ridiculously stupid but also mentally unstable.
Now, I have to say, I am not convinced that any woman in her late forties and who has had children would wear a Onesie so I think this article is possibly a put-up job by The Daily Mail. Here's why:
1. As anybody who has ever worn a jumpsuit will know - you cannot get out of them in a hurry. This means whilst wearing a Onesie it would also be advisable to wear a nappy. When I get up in the morning it's like a hundred metres dash to get the bathroom and if anyone gets in my way they are liable to find themselves either flattened or pinned to the wall. Wearing a Onesie would severely reduce my ability to pee in a dignified manner whilst at the same time increasing my laundry load.
2. Any woman who has ever a hot flush will tell you that you do not want to be wearing something that takes two days and a crowbar to get out of. Not unless you want to roast and feed yourself to cannibals. A woman needs nightwear that be removed in less than a second so that she can breathe easily thus avoiding a) a panic attack b) the onset of thrush or c) spontaneous combustion.
3. Any woman who wants to stay married would not wear a Onesie. I have worn many weird and wonderful outfits to bed ( I'm going to be short on the detail here as it's a family site) but I have never worn anything that makes me look a) I've just escaped from Rehab b) I've escaped from Rehab and wandered into Mothercare or c) Jimmy Saville.
To conclude: No woman should ever, ever, ever wear a Onesie. They should be outlawed and burnt in a large pile outside parliament.
And if someone could toss a few of those politicians on at the same time things should start looking up.
Yesterday we went as a family to see the latest Bond movie, Skyfall. I don't want to give any spoilers so I'll just say it was far superior to the last Bond movie which had kind of lost the plot. Well I lost the plot of it anyhow and I couldn't be bothered to revisit it either as I have done most of the Bond movies over the years.
So anyway, after all the trauma and excitement of a big Bond climax I had to go where all ladies have to go after two hours and twenty minutes with Mr Bond - the lavatory. So I rushed off to the Ladies, pulled open the big red entrance door with a queue of ladies behind me and started tugging at the next door that comes into my vision. I tug... I pull... I try to wrench the door off it's hinges with a muscular Bond vice-like grip but the darn thing won't budge. Eventually, a voice chirps up behind me:
"That's the broom cupboard, Love. The toilets are straight ahead of you."
Well how was I to know? You see that's what Mr Bond does to me. Stops me thinking straight.