May 17, 2018

6.45 am: A communion. 7.30 pm: Back to administrations: reports, emails, updates, and advice. 8.15 am: I’d promised some students that I’d be there early on this final morning of installation. They needed to maximise their time.

8.30 am: ‘BUNNIES!’ There were a great many young ones on the lawn in front of the School, with their white bobtails towards me, chewing and taking in the early-morning sunshine. They scattered and hid in the bushes as soon as my presence became known:

9.00 am: Fortified by my third cup of PG Tips so far this morning, I walked the studios. ‘Wrapped in plastic!’. Everything will be revealed on Saturday at 3 .00 pm:

My charge for the morning was to aid ‘Student D’ hang their work. They make art against the background of autism and dyspraxia. I take my hat off to them; they’ve never used their challenges as an excuse not to persevere. So, I went into manly mode and, with an electric screwdriver to hand, began mirror-plating. Beats report writing:

When I was in secondary school, woodwork and metalwork classes were mandatory from the age of 11 to 16 years of age. I learned to make a poker, a copper teaspoon, a knife rack, and dovetail and tenon joints, among other things. My father taught me to use electric drills and saws, soldering, respect for a blowtorch, how to correctly match drill, rawl plug, and screw sizes, and the safe way to wire a plug and select fuse amperage. This was my ‘key skill’ education. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity to acquire them. I asked some of the students today: ‘Have you seen the bradawl around?’ I was met by blank, dumb silence. One thought it was a Welsh word. (I can see how it could be thus construed.) Oh! They’re missing out on so much. ‘Turn off your phones, and spend an hour in a hardware store with physical tools and apps!’.

The end is in sight:

There was a moment of exquisite surprise: a sensual and beckoning vermillion in a pristine white room:

2.00 pm: After lunch, I wandered to and from my computer and reports, basking in the afterglow of the students’ achievement. This is a tight show. I succumbed to a ‘Zero sugar’ Coca-Cola. (I can already feel the waves of disapproval approaching.) ‘It won’t happen again, I promise!’ An utterly bland drink. I’d learned my lesson.

I made a final sweep of the studios and gallery:

I walked briskly passed the chair as a I moved from one studio to another, and thought I saw, in the corner of my eye, a young man sat slouched, wearing a short blue-black jacket and trousers, t-shirt, and light-coloured trainers, with his right foot resting on on his left knee. He vanished as soon as I turned around. That’s definitely no more ‘Zero sugar’ Coca-Cola for me:

7.30 pm: Back to reports, with Petula Clark’s greatest hits playing in the background. Happy Heart (1969), for example, summons so many memories associated with listening to the radio at home in the late 1960s, when I was young. For me it embodies, too, the spirit, texture, an sonorities of that age. There’s a sumptuous phasing of the strings towards the end. I had a crush on her in my early teens.





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