Archive for category Sport
This week the enormous sums being offered to football stars sparked outrage across the UK.
In these harsh, cold, dark, smelly, unattractive times with our failing economy and only one Royal Wedding to pin all our hopes and dreams on, the anger is not surprising.
Many Brits feel that these giant sums are unjustified to young men playing sport. Young men such as Andy Carroll who are then perceived to spend the money on extravagant nights out and court appearances for drunken behaviour.
I decided to show the world who we should really be appreciating and treating with respect and awe.
I collected a group of carers, charity fundraisers, lawyers who work pro bono (once I found out that this wasn’t a sexual thing) and doctors and nurses working for Medicins Sans Frontieres.
I then told them the great news; that through one of my generous art benefactors, I was able to reward them for being the real heroes in our world! Their salaries would now be the equivalent of Premier League footballers!!
Some of them would even be paid as much as £50,000 a week (the ones who were better football players got slightly more than the less skilled players because I still hadn’t figured out an alternative way to grade their pay).
Their joy at this news was wonderful. And yet, to my horror, I saw them quickly become used to the idea and begin to squander the cash immediately!
The ink on the cheques was barely dry (none of them had internet banking which was also a hassle I won’t go into now) when they began throwing their money around. Suddenly they were buying large houses (with adequate disabled facilities for the people they were caring for) or splurging on drugs (for the underfunded Medicins Sans Frontieres) or even settling court cases (for the pro boners)!
They were behaving just like the immature footballers we had all judged so harshly.
And it didn’t stop there. When two weeks later I gave them the news that the salaries I had bestowed on them was less of a real thing and more of an artistic idea of a salary, a metaphor if you will (please say you will), they became enraged!
I can’t even begin to describe the spoilt behaviour as they shouted and used foul, offensive language (eg. ‘this is the worst art I ever heard of’ and ‘no one cares what you think’)!
As a final act of appalling aggression, they trashed the sculpture I had made to represent this whole idea of removing the divide in professions. It was a beautiful, giant statue of a footballer groping a nurse and made out of beer cans.
This was a metaphor for the idea that no matter what our income or level of fame, we’re still actually all equals who can touch each other’s souls or, failing that, each others’ naughty bits on a drunken night out.
I called it ‘When souls touch/rub up against each other in the toilet queue because the queue for the womens was massive after one of the toilets started overflowing and then we got chatting’.
This is all that is left of my art, along with the lesson we have all learnt from this, that large sums of money change even the most noble of person or profession and make them act like jerks who don’t appreciate great art.
England and Australia are currently at a draw in the Ashes cricket series. This is about as far as my understanding/interest of cricket goes and I’ll be quite amazed if I got that fact right.
But as it still tis the season and the cricket seems important I thought I should make a Christmassy artwork about this event before the holidays arrive.
Due to a current overabundance of snow in London I thought I would do my bit for the country and gather up some of it into this snowman. I’ve used him to depict what I see as the English attitude to competitive sport.
In the UK they have this children’s Christmas movie they watch every year. I was recently introduced to it. The film is called The Snowman and it is incredibly boring, depressing and disturbing, all at once.
What I can remember from the bits I managed to stay awake for is the following…
A small child makes a snowman who comes to life. He (the child) then sneaks this adult (who has had no police background checks and refuses to even speak) into his house. He tries to stop him waking his parents, almost as though he instinctively knows his parents would be disturbed to find them alone together.
The snowman then abducts him from the home, takes him (on a motorbike!) to a party with other snowmen of unknown backgrounds and character. I then fell asleep but apparently Santa was at the party. Maybe some other things happen, though I doubt it.
They then return home and the boy wakes to find… that the snowman has melted to death!
It ends with the boy standing silently weeping over the corpse of his new friend. Credits roll. Merry Christmas!
The English find this tale of death and loss FESTIVE!
A story of a boy hanging out with a friend who has melted to death within a day of meeting is not happy. I think the English are the same about their sport.
They hope that they will have many days of victory and joy and happiness with their national sporting teams. They even let themselves begin to get excited occasionally.
But when they then fail everyone immediately says they expected it all along. They stand with their shoulders slumped in the snow, staring at yet another corpse that was once their dreams of victory, and they sigh and say ‘this is just how it has to be’.
They resign themselves to the philosophy that it was to be expected; the English team always loses and the snow man had to melt before too much fun could be had.
All that is missing from the usual English cricket match is a sorrowful choir boy singing ‘I’m walking in the air’ to accompany the team walking back into the changerooms.
Whereas while the English are watching this fun cartoon of death over the Christmas holiday, Australians watch the yearly Boxing Day cricket test. Hence we are less imaginative or musical in our cricket support during the festive season but at least we get straight to the point.
So this artwork is a snowman to represent The Snowman who represents England’s melted dreams of success in sport.
And my main point is, if the English win the Ashes then they’ll be happy for a bit but eventually they will go back to being depressed and standing in a cold puddle of dead hope and lost childhood. And also it’s just a game so let’s not get worked up about it and I don’t even watch it so who cares.
On the other hand, if Australia win then cricket is awesome, as are we and our non melty snowmen, and in your face England!
Anyway, Happy Christmas. I’m going to spend it surrounded by snow and making snowmen friends who I then play cricket against. Let’s see you grip a bat, melty! One nil Australia!
*Oh, I forgot, the most annoying part of the Snowman is there is NO talking throughout. It is all to music. How long do they think a child’s/my attention span is?!
Oh and also the cartoon is unrealstic because even a magical motorbike-riding snowman would be unable to get around amidst the transport chaos Britain is swamped in at the first signs of snow. For shame Snowman!
Debate continues to rage over the guilt, not-guilt or unguilt of three Pakistani cricketers, accused of involvement in an alleged betting scam.
Cricket has always been viewed as a gentleman’s game (because gentlemen are great at sledging/your mama insults). If these allegations turn out to be true then it is a sad, sad day for the sport.
I made an artwork to represent this. I arranged for these two performance artists to dress as knights and do battle against one another.
They were a clear metaphor for the battle these cricketers had fought between their personal integrity and their greed.
In this artwork the knight representing Greed beats the knight representing Integrity and honour to within an inch of his life, to show the moral consequences of corruption in sport.
Unfortunately, as the crowds to the art exhibition became more and more excited by each performance, the performance artists began enjoying the attention too much. The Integrity knight decided he much preferred it when he was winning and had the crowd cheering him on. He began to fight back, against the script of the piece, and beat the Greed knight each time.
Eventually, to keep the intended meaning of the piece, I had to pay the Integrity knight double the original agreed fee to get him to promise to lose. This fee was demanded for each performance and I was soon in severe financial difficulty.
Luckily for me, I discovered that many people in the crowd had begun betting on the outcome of the artwork/fight. I made a small but unlikely bet that the knight representing Personal Gain would shout a swearword beginning with ‘c’ in the third round and paid the Personal Gain knight to do this (we went with ‘crumbs’).
This was unlikely to affect the overall outcome of the fight and earned myself enough money to continue paying the knight representing Honour to lose. So the overall meaning of the importance of integrity in sport was maintained. WIN!
This might surprise/upset some of you but I am not a psychic octopus. Hence I do not know who will win the World Cup and had to work around this as I began constructing my artworks BEFORE the final results…
News Art – PAUL EXPOSED AS FALSE PROPHET!
Paul the Octopus was wrong. Spain has lost. All talk of his psychic, almost god-like abilities has been proven meaningless.
But it is far worse than that, it has embarrassed a world who embraced the possibility that this Octopus had other worldly powers. It has shown how incredibly desperate we remain to have some kind of order to this chaos that is life. Despite all our advances in science and evolution and iPhone apps over the years, the moment we see some evidence of possible magical or religious powers we jump at it. And so we put our faith in a sea creature that was too stupid to not be charging huge amounts of cash for his ‘psychic’ predictions.
Is this the behaviour of rational adults? To worship these false idols?!
To MOCK this behaviour I made this golden statue of a random animal. I then put it up on a street in London and asked people if they wanted to worship this elephant and trust its opinion on great sporting events. They all said no. Some even laughed.
However I then surprised them and challenged their perception of the world by asking how this elephant was in any way different to an octopus. I was told that instead of four legs octopuses have eight arms (or tentacles) and can swim very fast. This was most interesting! I researched more about octopuses and found out that they have no internal shell or bones and have a hard beak!?! I began devouring books on octopuses and found, to my surprise, that this is a very poor way to learn anything so I soon switched back to reading.
After several hours of this ‘reading’ I concluded that octopuses/octopussi are awesome, elephants are average and man is a foolish creature who will not only seek evidence of the divine at every opportunity merely to comfort him from his fear of death and the unknown, but also only has two arms and can’t even squirt black ink as a defence mechanism. LAME!
ARTWORK OPTION B- PAUL IS OUR NEW GOD!!!
Paul was right! Spain has won! All hail Paul!!
I have made this sculpture of the child I would be willing to have with Paul to honour his extraordinary powers. It’s half human (me) half octopus (Paul). I apologise for the slight lack of focus, I was so excited at the prospect of becoming Paul’s first earthly concubine and giving birth to a demi-god with tentacle legs that my hands would not stop shaking. Wouldn’t be a problem with tentacles!!
With the eyes of a nation on him, Andy Murray plays in the Wimbledon semi final tomorrow. Commentators say he looks more comfortable then ever. Will this be the year he maintains his confidence and focus to finally make the final?
Andy Murray is a modern day warrior and he can win this easily. All he needs to do is follow the philosophy of the greatest warriors in history; the Samurai. They followed the rules of Bushido and incorporated Zen meditation into their beliefs in order to calm the mind. They also valued honour above all else.
Murray is already far along this path and I like to think it is thanks to my art teaching.
I constructed this Samurai costume and for the last two years I have attended all his most important matches to send him an important message through art metaphor. I wear the outfit and sit silently in the crowd, just in the corner of his eye, as an ever present reminder of the calm and focus he should be aiming for.
During his quarter final match to Nadal two years ago, when I sensed him flailing during the match, I stood up suddenly and violently to show Murray he was not alone. Sadly, he faltered soon after. He must not have seen me.
Last year, as he battled Andy Roddick, I stood in his line of sight and performed several manoeuvres from ‘the way of the sword’, inspiring him to draw on their ancient strength. Disappointingly something seemed to distract him in the crowd and he was defeated soon after.
This year I have decided to prepare for longer and more subliminially, appearing and then disappearing suddenly at Murray’s training sessions, restaurants, bathroom window etc, in the hope that he will be in a constant state of alertness and this will have him prepared and calm come match day.
We can only wait to see if he is as composed as my art should have inspired him to be. Oh and also, during the match, I think I might perform fake Hara-kiri, the Samurai practice of ritual suicide, if he is looking too unfocussed and to also serve as a nice reminder that death is preferable to a dishonourable defeat.
I might not have mentioned this enough times but I have left for the Glastonbury festival. So as to not deprive the world of my art while I am away being inspired by and, more likely, being inspiring to musicians, I have prepared news predictions and accompanying art for each day I am away. This is the first.
Last night England’s vital match with Slovenia ended in shock when, in the last 5minutes of the game, as the score lay at 14-14, a small child suddenly ran onto the pitch. Seeing that he was in danger of being run over by a local rhinocerous who had charged onto the pitch after being frightened by the vuvuzelas, team manager Fabio Capello ran onto the pitch to pick up the child, despite all players being determined to play on. The rhinocerous was then tackled by a roaming pack of English football hooligans.
Capello’s action forced a penalty shot to Slovenia and they won 15-14. The decision earned Capello widespread condemnation from the British public and media.
I was very moved and quite surprised by this news/prediction of mine. I have sculpted this replica rhinocerous to remind us all of the message that sometimes there are more important/immediately-dangerous things in life than who wins and who loses. Most of them are to do with escaped wild animals.
This is something England seems to have forgotten… in my scenario.
Tiger Woods continued his return to golf coming fourth in the US Open yesterday. This follows even more sex scandal controversy after a porn star last week claimed he is the father of her 9 year old son.
The revelations of Tiger Woods’ many extra marital affairs highlighted the fact that he had built a fortress around his true self to protect his image from hungry media and fans. But this has left him isolated and disconnected. He is like Superman in his fortress of solitude except instead of saving lives he makes Nike commercials and instead of being able to see through walls Tiger is able to see through non-profitable clauses in Nike commercials and instead of wearing a giant S logo on his clothing whenever in public Tiger sleeps with lots of women he’s not married to.
He is now back in the game he loves but has he learned anything? The real question is, have we learned anything? Or even more importantly, have I?
Do we as human non-golfers also build fortresses around our true selves and feelings, scared of being hurt or hounded by paparazzi? I know I do. I decided to build this fortress in the middle of London but I then invited people to come inside my fortress. The hope was that it would make people stop for a moment in their busy lives and think about human connections.
The results made me, on the whole, more fearful for the human race following conversations such as the following;
ME: “Hello, would you like to come into my fortress?”
ART CRITIC: “Pardon?”
ME: “Oh it’s nothing weird, it’s just a metaphorical fortress of emotional walls. And also this actual fortress behind me”.
ART CRITIC: “Uh, no thank you”
ME: “Hello, would you like to enter my fortress?”
ART CRITIC 2: “Yes!”
ME: “You would?!”
ART CRITIC 3: “Leave the strange lady alone, Timmy”
ART CRITIC 2: “Waaaah”
ME: “Hello, want to come inside my fortress?”
ART CRITIC 4: “Yes I do pretty lady. How much you charge?”
ME: “Nothing, art is free!”
ART CRITIC 4: “Free? Very giving. You all clean?”
ME: “It’s very cl- oh, uh… actually, I think I need to close the art fortress now sorry”.
The failure of this artwork taught me a lot about emotional defences, the danger of pride and masonry.
When I heard about the World Cup I was so excited! Finally I would be able to barrack for football teams as I could now simply transfer my various prejudices and stereotypes of nations onto their representative teams! I knew I had to create an artwork in tribute to this glorious game.
I decided to make a musical instrument that represented the glory that is football.
First, I gave it the same amount of musical notes as the usual fascinating game has goals (anywhere in the range of zero to one). I then made its length correspond with how long a game feels (very, very, very long). Finally I gave it the ability to lure women with Louis Vuitton handbags in the shapes of shoes from nightclubs all over Essex.
After making the prototype I wondered to myself, “what is the only thing more fascinating then a person talking in a long, dull monotone about Fabio’s late announcement of team lineups?” The answer? “Everyone at work and the pub and on TV and on radio and on the bus talking in a long dull monotone about Fabio’s late announcement of team lineups!!”
Hence I realised I had to make not just one of these instruments but thousands and thousands and thousands. As their long drone sounded across the world I realised I had successfully conveyed through art the magic of football.
However, as often occurs with all brilliant, ground breaking art, there are now people who want to silence its message. And its honk. In one way I am happy because you are not a true artist unless you are causing controversy and upset but on the other hand I’m worried I’ll have to give my £200 funding grant back to Hackney Council.
So please, if you value expression and beauty and permanent ear damage, send a letter to your local Minister for the Arts asking him (or her) to demand that they (or them) keep these art installations in place in South Africa.
The press today has been filled with recriminations as it reviews World Cup action so far. In England keeper Robert Green has been ridiculed for the goal he allowed against America and in Australia the press have attacked the Socceroos’ 4-0 demolition from Germany.
The British and Australian public are disappointed. I thought about whether they will forgive their teams. Thinking the word ‘forgive’ made me think about ‘forgiveness’, much more so then the other words in the sentence did, and I decided to explore this issue.
I realised that to receive forgiveness, as these footballers seek to do, you must first learn to forgive others. I decided to constuct an artwork of the place most associated with forgiveness to look into this.
I set up a flower shop in Liverpool St Station. I would deduce with each customer if they were purchasing the flowers with the aim of receiving forgiveness from someone (I could tell by their gait) and with these customers I would not give them the flowers until they had first forgiven me for something.
They didn’t realise it but I was cleansing their soul to make their forgiveness more attainable.
Many were confused and walked away when I held back the flowers and asked them to forgive me for a lie I had told or a homeless person I had ignored or a fake personality I had assumed for benefit fraud. But sometimes they understood entirely and interacted with the art, such as in the following exchange:
Customer: Hi can I have the geraniums please?
Me: Forgive me, I don’t know which are the geraniums.
Customer: They’re those ones near your foot.
Me: Are you saying you forgive me for not knowing?
Customer: Uhhh… sure.
Me: Then take the Geraniums my friend, they are yours.
Customer: No these are daisies.
In conclusion, I learnt that if Robert Green were to answer my email asking him to forgive me for not bothering to walk my diet coke can up to the recycling bin then he would probably find the press a little lighter on the jokes about his ball dropping issue (which made me think about the issue of when boys reach puberty).
This is a wonderful moment in not just South Africa’s history but also Africa’s. It is time for them to make the world forget the stereotypes and generalisations of this beautiful and diverse continent.
When this tournament is over we will all know so much more about this land and its people and no longer pigeonhole it with the two dimensional imagery of safaris, deserts and lions that we have always lazily called upon.
I felt I was well positioned to help portray the modern Africa, due to my ability to immediately see to the heart of an issue and discard all media-informed assumptions. I wanted to pay tribute to this great and courageous risk they are taking in order to present the new Africa to the world because ‘sometimes you have to be like a giraffe and stick your neck out to get what you want’. These wise words came to me as I once again remembered the wisdom of Mufasa , the Lion King, a great leader and a great man. So I have sculpted Mufasa here as inspiration for the great continent as they strive to make us see the real Africa.
I then thought about how South Africa must battle the many doubters who have questioned their preparedness. I wanted to tell South Africa to keep their confidence, because ‘If you doubt yourself, others will doubt you too’. This advice was originally said, I believe, by Mufasa the Lion King, who I have sculpted below to remind South Africa to stand strong.
But in the end, I know South Africa will be fine, even without my art. They are going to give us not only a wonderful and enjoyable World Cup but a completely unique one.The world is about to be blown away by the many sides to this great continent we never imagined existed and it will never again be merely a place of legend and half remembered childhood stories to us.
This is going to be a World Cup unlike any other and they are going to do it their own way because, as someone once said, ‘No lion ever became great by being a copycat’. I forget who it was but I have sculpted a lion here as a reminder of these words. Obviously I realise there is more to Africa then lions but I figured just one couldn’t hurt.