Aug 282014

Picture by Patricia Wakefield
Artist: Patricia Wakefield (see movie here)

What John does for a living (listen here)

She is already on the podium, her long tee-shirt discarded, the artists already in front of their papers or behind canvases on easels fingering charcoal or poking at their paints when the new model, John, comes out of the toilet where he went to change as though shy. John who seems nervous and a bit excited, who she found out does not paint in his spare time or even have an interest in art; who is not at all creative (what would the point of her life be if she were not creative) but works for Ellison’s all round Harrogate.

Even though her toilet needs mending she makes it quite clear with her body-language that she does not have the remotest interest. Derek is setting them up in the pose he wants; he likes to book a male and a female together sometimes. Some esoteric idea in his mind’s eye. He was always like that. For the first half-hour she is standing and John is sitting and she has her hand on his tanned back. The second half-hour she is sitting and he is standing with a hand on her shoulder and she feels his weight shift, he is moving a bit. He is rubbish at it. They can’t get the younger-end male models says Derek.

In her head she is working on a poem (one of a series about being childless) because that’s what she does, she’s a poet, which is why she has always gone for creative types who do not have conventional day-jobs but who live in garrets or on houseboats and don’t have tellies or tattoos or sun-tans; pasty-white skinny artists with whom she feels like-minded, who are penniless and utterly incapable of commitment (though intense and passionate, and she insists she would do it all again), who live at an oblique angle to life because life – and this is her hobby-horse – life is not Pizza Hut, is not stag nights in Ibiza or pubic hair cut into shapes or a powerful motor. Three times in the last fortnight this man John has texted her (Derek gave him her number) despite being half her age, wanting to take her for an Indian and discuss poses. Derek, to give him his due, proposed marriage until the miscarriage. He used to sculpt ballerinas when at art college (he said he had a lot of fun with them, something about clamping their nipples with a measuring implement). Her response to John was blunt. John, you’re a plumber.

Scuffed wood of the podium. Yellow paint-spot. Their skin making very light contact. On the periphery of her vision, the heap of her black tee-shirt, someone’s thermos, the parcel of John’s scrotum, Derek a ghost with a twitching brush and oh for god’s sake, John’s pink adder-head becoming alert.

Though he’ll have a high sperm count. And she thinks of the puddle round her toilet. Derek wanted this to happen. You’re a bit Pizza Hut yourself, aren’t you Derek, a bit Ibiza.

[published in KUNST]


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  8 responses to “Page 16”

  1. Inspirational ‘Life Room’ [see movie of Pat Wakefield’s Life Room here – ADMIN]. Was just sitting thinking about making my large cows more cowlike, rather than a magnificent mess, when I saw this your latest page had appeared online, Suki. I wanted to leave them as scruffy, vague cows, but something kept urging me against my will to tidy them up…
    Thank you Patricia. I’ll leave them.
    Great piece about the plumber too, Suki. Enjoy your current trip.

    • Suki sends her apologies for the delay in your comments on this page appearing online. This is because on her current jaunt she finds herself, with horror, unable to access her emails (as yet) by which she is notified of your responses to her serial.

      We hope, before Suki spontaneously combusts, to sort out her techno problems for her. In the meantime, sorry for the time-lag when you write a reply to this page, before you see it actually appear. ADMIN

  2. When ‘A Small Life’ was serialised, I remember there was quite a discussion about various bits of life-modelling etiquette – little tell-tale blue strings, etc – which, for me, a non-attendee, was really quite thought-provoking. So reading today’s page made me wonder, what etiquette is around for male life models? What happens when someone’s “pink adder head” becomes alert? At the least, the image being drawn is no longer the same for the artists! Is there general discomfort, embarrassment? Are such events seen as “bad form”, which Suki’s comment seems to hint at, or is it just accepted that from time to time this will happen, and everyone continues as normal?

    • Some groups take a male model’s erection in their stride [It’s so difficult to stop one’s brain from seeking innuendos, isn’t it, when this subject is being discussed… ADMIN] while other drawing groups will never ask that model back again. It depends on attitudes held by particular individuals in the group, in my experience: how laid-back or uptight or judgemental they are, and/or whether they are of the opinion that the event was deliberate…

      Re ‘deliberate erections’: hum. I know of a model who is notorious for this. If I were an artist-witness myself, I would definitely find it tiresome.

      If you scroll to half-way down the thread that ensues from my ‘Is the life-model getting off on it?’ discussion, there is more on this subject.

  3. why is everything so locked down and out of reach?
    said a solitary person.

    Dear Solitary Person,
    Suki has taken herself off to a place where internet access is VERY inadequate. We are getting sick of her moaning about this, since she has only herself to blame. Ongoing attempts to alleviate matters are underway. ADMIN

  4. The Solitary Person was not referring to erections per se (and one should READ THE WHOLE TEXT BEFORE BLUNDERING INTO INNUENDO) – but to the sentence “In her head she is working on a poem… because that’s what she does, she’s a poet” – and gone with that thought. Sod the plumber.

    • Dear Janey
      I am with you on ‘sod the plumber’.

      I am always gratified when readers are inspired by my poetry content. Thank you. I think Admin misunderstood your earlier reference (“everything shut down and locked in”) to be a comment on my current retreat to a far-flung place to write, because it’s a country where internet access gets blocked. Sorry – he has such a literal mind.

      and it is Admin who has problems with finding innuendo in everything, not I. Is that because he’s a male person?