Sunday, 30 October 2011

View From a Coffee Shop

There is being a lover of fashion, there is being a follower of fashion and there is being done over, stamped on and brutally murdered by fashion.  One such victim is wandering the shopping mall barely wearing an off-the-shoulder, 1980s shade of turquoise top which finishes just below her buttocks.  Beneath this top are footless tights which end betwixt ankle and mid-calf. They are black, the gusset part reaching mid-thigh, the remainder reminiscent of a trawler-man’s net. She clumps along in white wedged shoes that add three inches to her height, and are definitely plastic. On her head are plastic, white-framed sunglasses. I wonder if the man operating the remote control toys will be distracted by such a sight and send his helicopter spiralling out of control, to hit the floor with the sound of crumpling plastic and whirring motor. I have never seen him make a sale. Perhaps, just maybe, with Christmas around the corner, his luck will change. The pet shop has re-opened; dog chews are required.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


This truly is a random rambling being the recollection of an early morning dream.

I'd be interested in people's interpretation...polite ones of course!!

The watery sun has enough strength to cast shadows; the tombstones mirrored on the short cut grass. The yew trees stand, magnificently green, amid the carved marble memorials. The church entrance has appeared before me, worn stone slabs leading into the dark interior. I cannot see anybody else. The church is silent. As soon as I step into the church’s porch I am surrounded by priests. They fuss around me, their richly embroidered cassocks flapping like agitated doves. I am wearing a long white dress and the priests place me at the front of the group of people. They are there, behind me, but I cannot turn to see them.
 “It is not my wedding,” I tell the unhearing priests.

I enter the lopsided church. We are on the far right of the church; the altar curves away in front of me and a vast expanse of pews, endlessly stretch to the left, their limits lost in misty haze. A small set of pews, encased in a dark wooden frame, sit in the shadows against the right wall. And then the bride arrives to a growing background murmur. I can hear her marching to the front and she throws her bouquet onto the altar where it lands with the sound of a pile of heavy books. I look to her; she is wearing a trouser suit. I don’t understand why she is there, she clearly doesn’t want to be. The priests remind us as to the response we should give to the prayers but I can’t hear them.  Looking at the altar I find a bright yellow piece of paper upon which is written the response in pencil. I pin the paper to the altar cloth so we can see it when praying. When I look at it again the black ink is blurry and I cannot make out the words.

Turning I find I am alone at the altar, so I walk to my mother and father sat in the dark wood pews and tell them I do not know what to say, I cannot see the words.
“This is a fifteenth century Catholic church,” my mother informs me. “The response is still the same, look it mentions the king.”
“I didn’t know the bride was Catholic,” I venture.
“Nor did I,” my father concurs.
“A converted Jew, she is a converted Jew.” My mother seems to have all the answers.

An altar-boy moves me to the left of the altar, away from everybody else. The congregation is a faceless mass of murmuring bodies.
“This is wrong. I am more important than this. I have an important part to play in the proceedings,” I tell him.
It is then that I notice I am clothed in a long pale blue robe with sandals on my feet.
                “Are you the first lady of Christianity?” the altar boy enquires, stepping back.
So the altar boy leads me back to my original position. I feel better; in the right place. Organ music starts to play. It is as if it is being played high up in the church’s rafters. I look up but see only the church extending upwards with no pinnacle to the roof, just clouds. I look back to the altar where a black and white monkey sits. The bride and groom are standing silently beside me, unmoving, like living statues. I talk to the monkey; meaningless words to soothe it. The monkey moves about the altar picking his way between the candelabra. I pick him up and half-turn, hoping someone has a camera to take a picture of me with the monkey in my arms. Then I notice yellow patches on its fur, like sticky urine. I put the monkey back on the altar, careful not to touch the yellow stains.
                “What are you doing?” The monkey looks at me with sad eyes.
                “Putting you back.”
                “In case you wee.”
                “I won’t wee. I’m trained.”
The monkey lies on his back, wanting his tummy to be tickled. I oblige.
“I hope this ends soon,” murmurs the monkey. “I want to get back to my woman. She is waiting for me. She is from Tenerife.”
The monkey stretches and smiles. The monkey’s keeper appears at my shoulder.
                “Don’t do that; he gets too excited.”
I withdraw my hand and turn to look at the keeper. He is no longer there.

                Slowly, as if a curtain is drawn over it, the church recedes.

©Deborah Cater 2011
All rights reserved.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Picasso - Just a thought

A child sees the face of its mother, it sees it in a completely different way than other people see it, I am not speaking of the spirit of the mother but of the features and the whole face, the child sees it from very near, it is a large face for the eyes of a small one…Picasso knows the face as a child knows them and the head and the body.
Gertrude Stein – quote in Picasso museum, M├ílaga.

That is as maybe, but from where I am standing it looks like the child painted it. I know, I know this makes me sound like a heathen, unable to see art in different forms, unappreciative of different methods, movements, blah blah blah, but really, I think Picasso’s art leaves something to be desired. This is my second trip to the Picasso museum and I am still trying to fathom out how this is good art. Why does a man who can paint and draw an object so that it looks like that object (his early works are good in my mind), create pictures of ‘women’ that are out of proportion, contorted with monster feet and the most bizarre bosoms? I fear my mind is closed to the wonder of Picasso, but I will keep trying to understand. (Just as an aside, I don’t ‘get’ Rothko either.)
Have a look at different works on the Picasso Museum website
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