Saturday, March 29, 2014


It seemed to me that troglodytes painted the things they saw to better understand them. If they saw some kind of massive elk or boar in the forest they'd go home and paint it on the wall of their cave. Reducing the animal to a simple image might've made it comprehensible to a troglodyte's rudimentary cognitive abilities. That was my theory anyway. You see, I too found the world outside my flat to be an incomprehensible place and that's why I thought cave painting might be of similar benefit to me. As I said to the nervous looking girl who sold me the poster paints down the pound shop, 'maybe it is the purpose of art to make sense of reality'.

I decided I'd go out and do whatever it is I do all day and then come home and paint what I saw on my walls. Rather than sabre-tooth tigers and mammoths, I covered the walls of my flat with depictions of suburban life - things like bent bus stops, crumpled bags of Tayto, an umbrella I saw stuffed down a drain and a schoolgirl that gave me the spaz face from the window of a passing SUV.

However, I started noticing how the bulk of my work related to the gigantic shopping centre that towered over the leafy streets of my timid village. Almost all of the images were nothing more than replicated brand logos - Harvey Nichols, H&M, HMV, Hollister, House of Fraser, Little Hitler's Haute Hut - all the well known names. I realised that my environment was thoroughly colonised. A few questions occurred to me. Were these logos art? In my attempt to make art that recorded life, was I merely making art that was a record of other art? Was the ultimate aim of art, from its inception to now, to replace reality entirely? Is art the creator of reality and not its reflector? Trees, clouds, animals, even people (genuine living people, not people on billboards or people who may as well be on billboards) didn't really get a look in. My surroundings were a prescribed range of aspirations and aesthetic ideals. I found it all a bit alarming. In fact, I found it fucking shocking.

There was only one thing for it. With resolute determination, I decided to get pissed out of my mind. Booze had provided great succor to those before me who had lost their environments to colonial forces. Many Australian Aborigines and members of native American tribes spend their time staggering about the place in piss stained slacks so ...when in Rome.

I went to the pub.

I found Professor Isaac Delahunty sitting up at the bar. I was delighted. He was just the man to confide in. Isaac had been the head of an anthropology department before the university closed it down to fund more vocational pursuits. These days, Isaac could be found drinking away his redundancy as he scribbled notes for a study he claimed to be making on the life of the suburban sop (a study that I suspect will never be completed). Isaac jokingly referred to himself as as an anthropolopissed but he was the only one who laughed at this little joke. His was a terrible wounded laugh.

I told Isaac what I had been up to and what it had got me to thinking and he told me something astonishing. Isaac said that the troglodytes of yore weren't painting what they saw but actually painting what they wanted to see. Isaac said that the troglodytes were the 'ne plus ultra of solipsism' (he spoke in that fancy way you'd expect of an academic, albeit with a slight slur) in that they thought the world did not exist until they witnessed it and that the world was influenced by their expectations. That's why they only painted animals. They were painting what they hoped to catch for dinner. By meditating on it, the troglodytes believed they were bringing the creature into being. 'Why didn't they just paint the thing ready cooked and save themselves the bother of having to go out and kill it?' I asked. Isaac shrugged and said 'they may have been the precursors of those that theorised the Observer Effect but that doesn't mean they weren't a bunch of dopes. I mean they lived in caves for fuck's sake'.

I thought about what Isaac had told me and, after about fifteen pots of porter, I made it my business to go home and fashion a new reality, one free of consumerist colonisation. I staggered back to my place and on all the walls of my flat, every inch, I painted a jungle. A wild jungle, overrun with all sorts of exotic creatures from past, present and God knows when. I was working away for hours, accompanied by Krautrock classics on shuffle and several bags of carry out. I worked fast. I was in a frenzy. I eventually collapsed.

I woke up hours later and saw what I had done. It was quite a sight but it beat what was there before. My head hurt though. It was all a bit hard to take in so I got to my feet and left my place in search of Solpadeine and a breakfast roll. Once I was on the road I was, well, how should I put this? Taken aback? Shocked? Absolutely fucking traumatised? I think the latter sums it up best. Yes, once I was on the road I was absolutely fucking traumatised to see every inch of my suburban village tangled up in vines. I could hear the screeching calls of monkeys and the distant roar of lions. Pterodactyls wheeled in the sky above me and a couple of Triceratops were fucking outside Spar. When I reached the shopping centre I saw a pack of jackals chasing a zebra down an escalator and a Siberian god-bear futilely trying on a pair of slim fit chinos. There were people around of course but they were in pieces, scattered limbs and organs.

I felt bad. I could have painted an equitable Anarchistic society living in peaceable harmony but in my drunken state I had opted to create this feral barbarity. Many people had lost their lives. The army were probably on the way and the whole thing was bound to end in an appalling conflagration. I'd be lucky to survive myself. Worst of all though, the most tragic thing about the entire scenario to me, was how badly rendered everything was. It all looked like it was painted by a demented child. If this was to be the end of what passed for civilisation, it could at least have looked nice. All the creatures had bandy limbs and lumpy heads. The vines were scribbly and unimpressive. You couldn't even tell what a lot of the stuff was supposed to be. At one stage, I was chased down the road by something that looked like an enormous lobster crossed with an elaborate mathematical equation performed by Jackson Pollock. It all looked completely crap and it was all my fault. It all just amounted to so much sigil bullshit. Even the pub had been destroyed by, ...well I'm not sure really. They looked like musical notes, octave clefs I think, covered in fur and with fangs. Who knows what they were meant to be. Beats me, ...I never could paint pissed.

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