The new Popart exhibition at the Tate Modern is a rip-off. It’s also misleading, sensationalist for the sake of it and expensive. It’s a cheap cash cow that doesn’t so much as celebrate what was the overt ‘consumerisation’ of art but jumps on the bandwagon and flies past the point. In one room pumped full of dreadful 80’s pop music and adorned with Keith Haring motifs they’ve actually opened a little stall to buy his gaudy t-shirts and badges. They think they’re being ‘knowing’ when in reality it’s just greed.
Having said that I enjoyed it in a perverted sense, it allowed me to fume-off the week and leaf through the pages of a past life as a budding art historian, a career murdered by a lack of funds and willpower, I suppose. Besides, it was Friday evening and IC and I were due to eat Japanese food in Soho.
We walked there past heaving pubs clustered with office workers drinking stoically in the faded light; the journey frequently impeded by a surprising volume of human beings stuffed in back streets and cut-throughs. We eventually arrived outside a little place, it looked a bit shabby from the outside but I was assured by various window adornments that boasted its credentials and lack of cost.
This place was a fucking revelation, huge plates of piping hot seafood in thick gravy adorned with noodles, fresh sushi, sashimi, tempura, toasted dumplings and cheap, cheap wine. The bill for 2, mains, starters, wine, came to under £30 and my cold-stopped nose had given way in delicious head clearing streams. Perfect. We made our way home back to Hackney on the bus, which took a while, and watched Peep Show on catch-up after a long big piss.
On Saturday morning I popped out to get some plants from the likely lads by Hackney Central. It may seem a bit silly to buy anything horticultural in the East End when one has the Columbia Road flower market every Sunday, but these chaps are very cheap and are in a position to dish out advice without the throngs of potential customers bearing down on them. I bought 5 little, er, plants and took them home. As luck would have it someone was chucking away a couple of blue pallets so I nabbed one and sat it down on the gravel handkerchief of the garden and set about planting my pots. It looks right nice in there now, it was jolly nice to sit on the pallet, read the paper and have a cup of tea in the cool autumn sunshine.
At lunchtime we took a couple of friends off for a late breakfast in a place by Regents Canal. IC used to work with some of the staff there and they’ve subsequently become actual pals, this used to result in free drinks but this compliment is dependant on the presence of owners. I had the Eggs Benedict as usual, one of my favourite all-time foods and this place makes the best ones in my limited experience. We wandered home past Broadway market for a cup of tea and to pick up some kippers for Sunday and drifted the afternoon away.
At 6pm IC and I took a packed DLR to Queen’s Park to visit Patti. The journey was shit so it was good to get some wine down my throat on arrival. Patti had made some Italian food that was of restaurant quality; we spent the entire evening eating and drinking which culminated in Patti’s homemade chocolate liqueur, which was fucking lethal, and delicious. But mainly lethal. The journey back is a bit of mystery but it seemed relatively simple, I have to say even by my standards I was pissed rotten. I’m not sure what time we got back but I went to bed at 4-ish, IC having passed out some time before this, and I woke on Sunday lunchtime feeling like I’d been given an organ transplant. IC had been long gone but there was a message on my phone asking if I wanted to meet her, Mary and Mike for a coffee to which I responded as positively as possible.
The walk to the market felt as if I’d been dislocated and reassembled in a Chinese sweatshop, I was fully aware that things were far from sober. After a coke Mary suggested we have a Bloody Mary in the local which I though would be a good idea to necessitate a cure. Sadly it didn’t really help. I was destined to spend the rest of the day crashed in front of IC’s TV feeling like I’d been dredged up from the Thames.
This wasn’t all bad; I was in a position to watch Jenson Button win the F1 world champion and, despite a visit from Swineshead and his missus, spent the remainder of my weekend in a state of sorry-ness. Not even the kipper and a re-visit to the excellent Spaced could help me.
I was feeling so bad I didn’t even feel like doing this.