Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A gift, undelivered

This is such an awesome story, that I asked permission of my colleague, who told it to me, to blog it, because I thought it needed to be aired. He granted me that permission, but mentioned that the artist in the story might feel that confidences had been betrayed if she were identified by name without consultation, so I have taken pains to honor his wishes, and also not to be too specific about the artwork involved.

So, on Monday, this colleague of mine who is also very much into music, approached me first thing, with a big smile on his face, and said, "I've got the most amazing story, and I know that you, of all people will appreciate it." He had spent the weekend somewhere out in the great English countryside, and the place he was staying just happened to be the home village of an artist he really admires, one of whose pieces of sculpture he owns. He described it (generically, for your eyes, dear reader) as a small-ish sculpture of an historical figure of note. He had picked up on the fact that she sometimes does private viewings of her work at her home, so he contacted her, and she graciously invited him over to look around.

As he was touring the home, he noticed a drawing on the wall, apparently of the same historical figure of note as the one in his sculpture.

He enquired, "Is that a drawing of [historical figure of note]?" "Yes," she replied.

"Did you do it?"

Somewhat reluctantly, apparently, she replied, "No, it was done by a former boyfriend of mine, a long time ago."

She then explained the background story (the details of which I will shuffle, so as to preserve the surprise element of the narrative): it seems that the drawing had inspired the sculpture which my colleague today owns, and she had created it with the intention of giving it as a gift to her long-gone boyfriend from many years before. Except that he unfortunately died just days before she could do so, and the piece ended up being sold, and now rests in my colleague's home.

During the course of the back story, the artist apparently proffered a tid-bit of information, in that her old boyfriend had been in a band. "Which band?" my colleague asked. Rather sheepishly, apparently, the artist responded, "The Clash."

It would have spoiled the story if I'd opened with this line, but my colleague's opening line to me in telling me this story, in reality, was, "I feel like I'm living with the ghost of Joe Strummer..."


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