Monday, 4 January 2010
Recently I attended a party, held by my close friend G. The party was entitled ‘Christmas Leftovers’, but could more accurately be named ‘Crap Presents Swap.’ Each guest was asked to bring (re-wrapped) something they had received that had disappointed them. Each gift was then given a number, and guests picked corresponding numbers from a hat.
Once each person had their allocated new gift, the opening commenced one at a time. One or two people actually liked their new gifts, but either way the results were amusing. Teenager O got a pair of slippers with ‘Old Fart’ emblazoned on the top. The hostess received a far too heavy for the Christmas tree hanging ornament, and the foul mouthed swearing turtle toy amused everyone with its inappropriate comments. Someone got lucky with a Harrods perfume gift set, although it was agreed by all it smelt like toilet cleaner. At least the box was pretty.
I am hoping it will be a regular event and was the perfect antidote to the after Christmas ‘eaten too many chocolates’ slump.
At the party I bumped into an artist couple I know. The wife is lovely and the husband is quite eccentric. We had all exhibited at a Christmas exhibition, as members of a local art society. Innocently I mentioned that it was horrible weather on the day we had to collect our work, talking about the horrors of the snow on the notoriously bumpy track leading to the venue. The wife then said dreamily ‘Oh dear, were we supposed to pick up already?’ I assured her the date was several days past, whereupon Mr Artist swore volubly and said ‘for god’s sake, how are we supposed to remember this stuff?’ I tried to arrange my face into an expression that inferred vague sympathy that he should be expected to remember to collect his own work.
For the uninitiated: Pick up days/times for exhibitions are non-negotiable. Try telling the organisers it’s your kid’s sports day; you have a dentist appointment, whatever. They are not interested; you will have to make arrangements. And to be fair, with so many artists and artworks to organise, you can’t blame them. Failure to collect on time can result in charges for storage or even destruction or sale of your work. Yet many artists risk this, when all that’s needed is a note on a calendar.
It reminds me of my teenage daughter, whose current excuse for everything is ‘I forgot’. ‘No,’ I tell her, ‘you chose not to bother to remember.’ But that sort of remark just gets me the Look, the one that says ‘Die evil witch.’