My son has made a fantastic video of my performance, time to get that bootleg video editing software installed.
My daughter enthralled the audience by making weird noises into the microphone.
Simply having children has a dramatically soothing effect on audiences.
In fact this works on everybody: If I go into Boswells department store alone, all the assistants put on blank expressions, step a little back, keeping a wary eye on my activities. When I go in with the kids, it's all smiles and "can I help you sir?". Sir? People never call me sir. Well, they do when they see I'm a Dad. One of the perks!
At 9.00 pm, off went my partner and kids with a friend: school on Monday, the kids must get to bed. If they're late to school we start getting formal letters from the head, and unwelcome interest from the educational social worker. We've learned from experience.
Ex-army Czech neighbour made up for Saturday by staying behind helping me load the van 'till 11. "Naaahees Vun" as he would say.
Got home at 1 am after stacking glasses, clearing bottles, paper plates, screwed up napkins, etc., wiping up spilled wine, scrubbing the cream cheese off the carpets and hoovering up crumbs. By the time I got round to eating (after performance) there was no food left, so at home made myself a cheese sarni and cracked open a left over bottle of wine.
Daughter woke up crying. "It hurts, it hurts" … "Where does it hurt my darling?" … "The exhibition hurts …"
Yes, it always does, however well the event goes.
No matter how much people enjoy themselves, and what lovely things they say about my paintings, the press, arts council reps, local council arts officers, local gallery managers, etc. are always conspicuous by their absence.
People come to Oxford for the tradition: for the Christchurch collection of medi-aeval art, the 12th Century wall paintings and Tudor royal portraits. People don't come here for the fringe contemporary art, so why clutter the pages of the local press with it?
There's the cost too. I try to justify it as publicity for my business (teaching and offering ritual and ceremony). That's the year's profits wiped out … it might convince the tax man, but ultimately I have to justify it from a deeper motive!
And finally, there's the post-exhibition depression. The rapid disappearance of large amounts of adrenalin from the system, it's a kind of drug withdrawal. Combined with the sudden onset of existential meaninglessness now there's only computer work to do, always unpleasant.
So, up late this morning (7.45 – the days of a quiet lie-in after a late night ended with the arrival of children!). Son rushes out, shoe laces trailing, and leaps on bike with piece of toast stuffed in mouth.
Daughter, miserable, trails to school, late, in the rain, with partner.
I take van to studio. Now, how am I going to get this equipment back up those stairs?