Monday, 2 June 2014
Life before death
“We have almost no consideration for profit and that is probably why we are highly profitable. You can put that theory right into your corporate pipe and then smoke it. Some. In fact it's not even a fuckn' theory, it's a fact and that's why I've a Maserati parked outside the building doorway right now and for all I know I may have left the key in the ignition and the motor running. Why don't you go out and just grab yourself a free ride and see how far you can get? And while your doing that I'll have another glass of this fine French Brandy or maybe suck on a Cuban cigar. You see that's rock and roll and that's money.”
“ The thing about art is that it doesn't really exist, it's just stuff brought together, or other stuff taken apart and then along comes somebody and stands it up. Well once it's standing up, there in the public domain you have three choices really. You can ignore it, walk by and just deny it's there altogether, show it an unmeasured level of indifference. It'll fade away, into the background, some geeks might like it, there will income, low rents and crumbs from providers, recycling values, that's about it. Obscurity has it's appeal but it doesn't make you any real money.”
“You can hate it, throw things at it, criticize it, burn it down, run it out of town as the most dangerous thing you every seen, you could just say it's just a piece of talentless shit. There's a lot of it about. You might, if you've got some history get valuable publicity and that's ok, most likely you'll just be seen as a bad investment and then you'll be ostracised. Believe me to be ignored is worse than anything, worse than bullying or violence, but that's where you end. I reckon you get three chances, blow all three, they hate you three times in a row, three turkeys, three strikes and you're so far out you're not even in the same country anymore. That bad. End of that story.”
“But the third way is that for some inexplicable reason (or not) you really like it and they like it, it's brilliant. It's special and unique and work of certain genius and what's more it may well have some commercial value. It's worth money. Who'd have thought that the dumb ass idea of yours mister/miss writer, artist, poet, musician etc. would be worth something? Next thing you know big boys like Apple or Samsung or Ford or Exon want to give you support in your venture, use your sweet image, your sound, your association, you can smile all the way up there on the media free ride. They just come along and shovel you right up like you landed on the street from the ass of a horse and now they want to sprinkle you amongst the roses where they think you'll do them some good.”
“So what have you got to show me?” I sat down in front of his desk, laid back a bit on the chair and put both of my feet on his desktop edge and smiled. He grinned back and nodded. I grinned wider. We were going somewhere now. I took an envelope from my inside pocket, removed my feet from the desk and adopted a more gracious position as I handed it to him. He smiled and ripped it open. There was a folded note inside and a memory stick. The stick fell as he tore the envelope and landed on the desktop with a clatter.
“It's all you really need,” I said. “This is the work you've waited on. Push it forward the right way, bearing in mind profit isn't everything and...we'll make a tidy sum.” I sat back and produced my most winning, confident smile yet. Or so I thought. Ideas have value, even bad ideas, even good ideas badly executed and if he thought that it was all some kind of saleable art then I wasn't going to argue. We'll be dead a long time while the others discuss, write books and film documentaries about wether or not it all was what we said it was. History isn't a bother to me, I'm content to help make it happen because I know I won't have to live through it. That's some one else’s' problem.
“Damian Hirst designs a block of apartments, condos, whatever you want to call it, it's a holistic art and lifestyle project. We build it in Los Angeles, that's the first. He designs them inside and out, nobody can change things once they've signed up to our management scheme but they are there, living, breathing, sleeping and fucking in an appreciating artwork that's their home. Their piece of action, their share of the prestige, their investment or pension plan or whatever. Then we build another block in Miami, in Paris or in London, in Sydney. Wherever, but up to a limit...and we control all the business, all the ins and outs, all the transactions and all the media interest. The money will be coming out of all our ears. You need to phone this number.”
He read the note and put the stick into a laptop then dialled the number. I zoned out, my part was over for now. I stood and looked out of the window. I was in a dream. So I watched as the light began to dim, the sky was changing, the clouds running and stumbling, fading into the east as quickly as they were replenished from the west taken back up to some other bulbous, fattened place of fury. Soon the heavy air released the rain and the ground breathed in. I wanted to run out and get myself wet, soak my shirt, stick out my tongue and hold my head back. Do a kind of chicken dance to celebrate another day of rain. I smiled inside myself, I chose not to give anything away. Tomorrow would do, that's a different day and more my day. This day is too damp, too heavy for a show of emotion or uncontrolled happiness. This was all about art after all.