Ah, hi there friends. I’m feeling a little bohemian today. Long, swishy scarf; battered book of Keats on my sun lounger, jug of organic lemonade with ginger and mint in a retro little porcelain jug. Skin/hair/nails all au natural; only a dab of lip gloss. Hanging out with artists. You know me! Arty!
The reality is that I am sweating away in an M&S vest that began life as an undergarment; I am wearing a skirt that is now too short (chronically so) because I have persistently tumble dried it at the laundrette and a pair of gladiator sandals that are broken in three places. My skin has broken out in teenage pimples because I am refusing to accept that it is now too hot to wear make up and my toenails are chipped orangey pink. There’s no fresh lemonade; just a smudged pint glass out of which I am swigging purified water because I’m too much of a peasant to buy mineral water. I’m about as arty and bohemian as an IT technician.
But I did have a bit of a brush with art recently.
My housemate and her friend decided recently to throw a little art event here in Buenos Aires’ arty Palermo. They rented a space for the equivalent of about 60 quid and just basically made up some art. They called itarte asap. There was a trendy band; there were trendy people and some trendy finger food. Actually, that’s a lie, the finger food was terrible but I fear the woman who charged them for this horror-on-a-plate will read this so, having grossly insulted her, I will leave it there.
I had offered to be the event’s official photographer because my friend Katy recently brought me my long awaited BIG POSH DSLR CAMERA from Canada. I fancied the idea of drifting around in a long floral kaftan with a big cool camera round my neck, clicking away and chatting knowledgeably to the arty people. Why? Why do I spend my life thinking that I am something which I am not? I don’t OWN a floral kaftan! I have playsuits from topshop! I wouldn’t know a Klimt from a… from a… see, I can’t even think of another artist beginning with K! Oh and PS I’ve got bugger-all idea how to use my new camera.
Anyway, I arrived early evening to do some reportage of the event set-up. I was wearing a short tight dress (pictured) because I am a slapper. Lesson #1: Do not wear a short tight dress if you’re taking pictures, you fool. Unless you plan to be taking them all from a polite standing position you will flash your knickers at EVERYONE. This is exactly what happened. So badly so that the backing singer from the trendy band actually came and told me that the boys were staring at my clearly-visible crotch.
Lesson #2 came soon after: arrive with a charged battery. “Take a picture of me and Euge!” my lovely housemate exclaimed. The poor girl had not gone to bed in four days getting her art finished; it was the least I could do. “Sure thing,” I said, trying to do something cool and portraity with soft focus paintings and shadows. The camera was unresponsive in my hands. “Ah. No battery.” My housemate looked like she might start crying. “Er, I’ll get a taxi home.”
On the walk home I tried to regain composure. Doesn’t matter, Robinson, I told myself. Everyone flashes their crotch once in a while! Everyone lets down the event they’re meant to be photographing! I got home and realised that I could only charge the camera in my apartment because of plug adapter issues. I sat down to wait, yawned and…
Oh dear Jesus. Slept. For two hours.
When I arrived back at the event, it was dark and the band had just started. I tried to slot in without my housemate noticing. She did, but was too nice to say anything. After taking about one hundred really shit photos, I gave up and sat chatting to my friend while my housemate took my camera and took some actual photos. Needless to say she did a far better job.
Then the real horror set in. A Greater Dreadlocked Traveller came and started chatting to me about art. It turned out that she is here in BA to paint and to practice some weird sort of body awareness thingy. She asked what I was doing here. “Oh, writing a novel,” I said breezily. She looked impressed. “Wow! Gut!” I shook my head modestly. “No, don’t be too excited. It could turn out to be rubbish.” She smiled understandingly. “So art is your first love, ja?”
I nodded enthusiastically. “Yes! I LOVE art!”
“Do you take photographs at many openings then?”
Now, I should point out here that I mis-heard her. She had a thick dutch accent and I thought she said do you take photographs of anything then? So I said yes, I did.
And before I knew it, a group of ARTISTS had been called over and told that I was an art photographer. Unfortunately because everyone was excited and gabbling in Spanish (and a bit of Dutch) I wasn’t 100% sure of what was going on although I had a nasty suspicion. Which was confirmed when one of them (male, good-looking, although wearing clown-like trousers) grabbed my camera to inspect my photos. “I am holding an art exhibition next week and I need a photographer” he said in clear English. “I hear you are art photographer. Let me see.”
I blanched. “No, no, I’m not an…” I said, trailing off. I didn’t need to finish the sentence, because he already knew. Seriously, the look on his face made me want to throw myself into the River Plate. And believe me when I tell you that that river makes the Thames look like a pure mountain spring. He showed everyone my last photo – a terrible, shadowy shot of my friend drinking some diet coke, complete with red-eye and over-exposed skin – and then handed back the camera silently.
The group moved away. I was crushed. I took a cold, limp empanada from the plate and went to sit in the corner where I belonged. A few minutes later, one of the group came over. A peripheral member of the group who had clearly not been aware of what had happened. “I hear you are art photographer,” she said. “I am having gallery open tomorrow. You can come and take photo?” I shook my head. “Not art photographer,” I replied. “Writer.”
She looked confused. “Why you tell everyone you art photographer then?”
“I didn’t,” I said. “I told them I liked art. Then I said I like to take photos.” She looked confused. “Really?”
“Ah ha ha ha! That is why they are laughing at you then!”
It is the last time I will attempt to dabble in things I do not understand or hang out in places I do not belong – ie the bloomin art scene.
PS, now, about the man. There is no news. As I said, he is now incommunicado until just before xmas. Clearly I’ve decided, now that I cannot talk to him, that he is The One for sure and that we will be married by the time the year’s out.
PPS,NOW THERE IS NEWS! That is insane. In the last ten seconds my housemate has arrived home from work with a package for me. FROM THE MAN! My post all gets sent to her work because for some reason it never arrives here at our apartment. The Man has sent me a card and a present. He must have posted it the day before he set off up the mountain. I am whooping. And mad. And SMILING UNCONTROLLABLY. Someone help me..