Life in Brexitstan

“We are a little constrained at present. You could meander your way through the system of course. It may take some time. Or you could, (an embarrassed cough) go (whispers) private.”

So there we have it. An NHS GP’s advice is to forget it and go elsewhere. If, that is, I would like my knee fixed before the universe ends. Ah the joys of being back in Brexitstan. This morning it came to me in a flash. I know the answer to the question vexing so many of us: what does “Brexit means Brexit” mean?

Well Brexit is essentially the same as Remain but with a slap of lippy on it. Years of poorly synchronized treacle wading will see us emerge with a victory trumpeted, a triumph to rival Agincourt, Waterloo, Trafalgar and El Alamein all rolled into one. Except that nothing will change.

On that bright and uplifting note I need to update you on the artwork saga. The solution was to buy two paintings. We dribbled carelessly over budget but ended up with a rather large pair of canvases, one 60”x36” and the other a tad smaller. If you glance at that quickly it fine. If you translate it into feet it is 5’x3’ and it is slightly more challenging. We have wall spaces that will take them but not where the light is optimal. We shall be housing works by Henderson Cisz and Maya Eventov. HC is Brazilian and ME is a Russian living in Canada. We seem to be building an emerging markets collection. And if the worst comes to the worst I can resell one to pay for my knee operation if the NHS does not come up trumps.

Today I received a call from Vodafone. A jolly nice girl, who is genuinely trying to help. She has taken it as a personal challenge to solve the mystery of the missing direct debits. Since March Vodafone has debited my account with varying but always alarmingly high amounts. I sent them my bank statement to prove it. Sadly Vodafone seems not to be receiving these payments, as my Vodafone statement shows nothing since March. No calls. No data used. No payments made. And they don’t seem to know why. They agree it is wrong and a ‘system error’. But after nearly six months they have not cracked the mystery. I have suggested closing everything down and going elsewhere. But “No!” they cry, “Don’t do that. We will fix it”. The tearful caller today pleaded for more time. She labours on my account daily and does not want to be beaten. I wrote to Vodafone’s UK CEO and he didn’t reply. So as you were all so full of good suggestions for solving the artwork challenge I am sure you will be brimming with ideas for sorting out Vodafone. I have a theory that the same people running the NHS are running Vodafone and some may even be negotiating Brexit behind the scenes. Progress is similarly glacial on each front. One solution might be for Vodafone to fix my knee, for the Brexit team to sort out my billing problems and for the NHS to surgically remove us from the gralloch of the EU. I think it may work.

 

Art for art’s sake?

Fakes

I don’t know how it started. I do know that art and I parted company in the mid eighties. Some dear friends of mine, culture vultures to the core, took me to the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf, which is not as bad as it sounds. It hosted contemporary, modern art. I offended my friends deeply when I observed that an entire room of ‘art’ closely resembled the potato prints we made at primary school. I just didn’t get it.

Art and I almost became reconciled when I was taken round the galleries of Hamburg and encountered Kokoschka, Kandinsky and possibly Klimt. I was convinced then that artists had to have a name beginning with K, just as composers had to begin with B (Buxtehude, Beethoven, 37 Bachs, not now, I’m Bizet etc. etc.) By definition that meant Pablo was not good. I went to a gallery exhibiting his work in Luzern and came away convinced that Klee was better.

In recent years I have ventured into some rather impressive galleries in Florence, Venice, Madrid and Vienna. Established readers may recall my insightful piece in which I noted the strong correlation between the quality of the old master and the presence of a dog or indeed dogs on the canvas.

Recently I watched a fascinating documentary about van Gogh’s ear and found he was rather good, if a little bonkers much of the time. Then I watched a documentary about Picasso on a flight from Sydney to Hong Kong. Just to be clear, it was I on the flight, not PP. I don’t think he ever flew Cathay between Sydney and Honkers. Now I am watching a doc on Georgia O’Keefe. Previously the only Keefe I knew was Keef Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Which leads me to the latest marital challenge. I have seen a painting I like. Indeed I am willing to buy it if it is still in the gallery. The trouble is Mrs. Ha doesn’t like it. I know that because she says there is nowhere to hang it – this is a 4,000+ sq ft house. I know I can squeeze it in somewhere. And she claims it would be hard to keep clean. I wouldn’t bother. Paintings are supposed to look grubby and dusty – just look in the Prado. Then there is the small matter of price. I think it is about £3,500. I regard that as an investment. So I have to tread softly. The work is by Maya Eventov. I want it. What would you do?