Saturday, February 27, 2010

With friends like this...

On the way to the Biobank experience yesterday (no I am really not that fat you got your sums wrong!) we decided to go to see the Bridget Riley exhibition which is on in town at the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery and to feel like real pensioners able to do exactly what we feel like doing each and every day. The Gallery has taken over a couple of old Victorian buildings that I remember going to with my Mom to pay bills (can you imagine those days, no cheque books, debit cards or anything and banks were just places that kept your money and didn't go around paying revolting people, revolting amounts of money to be more revolting still and all in the interests of destroying the economy).

The exhibition was small but beautifully formed, I loved her sketches and stuff but immediately got a raging headache as her visual tricks played out on my eyes. We were given an even bigger headache by a particularly nasty woman who was guarding a group of grey arties (nothing like ourselves of course, I am a trendy coconut after all). They were apparently the "Friends" of the gallery but this was the sort of friendship you have to pay for as we discovered as this woman shooed us away from the picture the "Friends" were being talked to about. We went back later to see her shushing two other non-Friends who had the temerity to be whispering about another couple of pictures nearby.

We left but I was very close to putting on my manager's voice and asking her to come outside for a moment while I put her right about rate payers' money and public galleries; and no thank you I would not be joining her gang.

We scuttled over the road to the proper gallery. I used to come here almost every Saturday with either my Dad (he trained around the corner at the Municipal Art School) or more frequently with my friend Lorraine Wilson. Lorraine like me had artistic pretensions, she saw hers through later and went onto Art College but in those days what we were really after were chaps. It had to be a particular sort of chap, older of course, intellectual and maybe a tad Bohemian so the Art Gallery was the obvious place; we tried the same at Dudley Zoo, I'm not quite sure what we were after there. We were all of 13 or 14 so don't let them tell you that the young girls today etc etc. We probably giggled too much or something because despite our obvious charms we never succeeded in picking up a single hairy prospect.

We did make lots of friends however and yesterday it was like going back for a reunion. It's literally years since I have walked around the pictures and sculptures and I wanted to hug each and everyone of them. There was the early Degas of the old lady; my old favourites the Epstein Lucifer, the Modigliani and the one with Jesus in the temple. Loads of Pre-Raphaelites of course but mixed in with Braques and Bellinis I immediately recognised and warmly gazed at just like old mates.

So another metaphor my patient followers, as we have found since September, real friends are always waiting for you, they will always charm and inspire you and you don't have to pay them a penny.


  1. We share some friends there Jean, never did find my older intellectual bohemian, although 2 out of 3 isn't bad!

  2. re the dudley zoo blip - you were looking for a bit of "rough" - admit it! lol Trudie x