Thursday, 5 April 2007

Twice I Did Not Get To The Hogarth Exhibition

  • Probably the most exciting thing that has happened in a while is not getting to the William Hogarth exhibition at the Tate Britain. William Hogarth was a British painter and political satirist well known in the eighteenth century. I admit that I didn't want to go, I didn't find the idea of his work that interesting but twice it happened that I never got there, but each time I was going to go was because of a gathering of friends. The first time it happened, my friends Peter the Painter, Neil Arnewt , Pauline Smalline and Eamonn were all going to go, then Peter reasoned with the fact that he would be in Bournemouth that week at a conference, but could drive down from Bournemouth on that day, which might even mean that he could well miss the whole exhibition if there was a traffic pileup. There weas much discussion about this as Peter tried to work out what he wanted to do. However he decided to not go at all and to spend that day in a greater state of relaxation visiting a town between London and Bournemouth. With that I decided that I didn't want to go because the exhibition content itself did not interest me in the slightest, I felt that I was letting everyone else down but I had not committed myself to going anyway because the idea of seeing the Hogarth exhibition throttled me with waves of boredom from day one and without Peter's presence, there would be less insanity for the day. Peter did actually offer me his ticket, I further said no, and by the time I said no, he lost his ticket and I didn't feel so guilty.
  • The next port of call for missing the Hogarth exhibition came along last Saturday when my friend "Humus" Humay (named after the legendary great warrior Humayoun/Humayun renowned for his great tomb) told me that he wanted me to come along with our friend R*. R* was to get me into the exhibition for free since she had a members pass for the exhibition that allowed her to bring another person in with her. The previous day she phoned me up to make sure I was coming along. I arrived at Humay's house and hour early by mistake because I had misread the clock, so I bought him his newspaper at the local shop and had green tea once I got back, allowing him to get up and get going, since he was still in his pyjamas and dressing gown when i arrived at his door. I wondered when we were going to meet R* (I'm not giving the lady's full name but her first name comes from a Goddess featured in the Mabinogion of Welsh mythology) because he had earlier thought she would be staying at his house over night because of the train problems in order to get to the exhibition, but as it went, we would see her at the gallery building itself. I wondered how realistic this would be, since she was prone to last minute decisions that defied my sense of convention.
  • We waited endlessly for R* to arrive, we sat outside at the front entrance, she was late, we phoned her on her mobile and she never answered, we assumed she was underground. Humay found himself being approached by a beggar who claimed to have been on the street for six weeks, he wanted money from us, I had none to give and Humay showed some concern about what the beggar wanted money for, he gave an answer that he wanted it for the gas, water and electricity bill, Humay only had a few coppers in his pocket anyway and with that small amount of change, the tramp went off. We waited on and on for R*, we thought there would be perhaps some delay for her with the trains being replaced by buses up beyond Harrow-On-The-Hill station. Humay became worried with concern about what happened to R*, she might have been in an accident. We had a coffee in the cafĂ©, I drew a portrait of Humay as he read the newspaper , I invented more reasons for Rh* being delayed, maybe she was caught in the underground talking to a hari krishna devotee who was gay or something like that (I think she knew one about a dozen years back). The woman sitting beside us looked at me as I talked, and she burst out into fits of giggling, and then I stumbled on the idea that R* might still be home, and what if one of us phoned her there, and Humay did this, and found that she was still home unaware that she was supposed to come at all
  • What happened was that the two of them were going to another exhibition locally in the evening, and she told him that she would not be going to the Hogarth because of the other exhibition, and when she told him the previous evening, they were in a pub gathering, and he was on his fourth beer quite unconscious of much of what was being saidWell, by the time we knew where we stood in relation to R* , we went ahead to buy tickets, and we found out soon that we couldn't buy tickets to go in until about three hours later, so we decided to leave and go to another exhibition elsewhere which we both wanted to go to i could go to for free.
  • I did feel some sorrow for Humay because he really wanted to go, and he appreciated the fact that this was a favourite artist of the Private Eye editor Ian Hislop (who incidently I had walked past in a street about a couple of weeks back for the first time and this was also the first time his name was mentioned to me for many years since quite honestly no one had a reason to mention his name to me) and it also seemed that he would not get an opportunity to see this on another day, especially as it was close to the end of the exhibition.
  • Indeed the fact that I didn't get there for me was much more important than wanting to go at all.

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