Friday, October 19, 2007

And Whiteley So

House of Pants

This is more like it. As I was going to say some twenty-four hours ago - this is House of Pants as it has never been seen before and is never likely to be seen again. Enjoy while you can. I would like to live like this but it is not humanly possible as I would be cleaning all the time and I have other things to do. This is how House of Pants looked on the day that someone new decided to buy it. I don't get excited about these regular events any more as I have worked out that deciding to buy a property and actually buying a property are not connected in any tangible way. Given that all manner of media are willing a housing market crash to happen, it will be some kind of miracle if I can achieve my humble goal of packing my modest possessions and moving to the sub-tropics. The fact that somewhere out there a couple of lawyers are trying to chisel a tiny window of opportunity into the universe which will enable a change of personnel at House of Pants, occupies me for approximately five minutes a day. I can't worry about that shit now.

I like art but at the moment, I can't afford to buy any. My friend Mr P runs an art gallery and tonight I went to the launch of a show by two bright young hopefuls. I say I can't afford to buy anything but I would if I fell in love in that just can't live without this way. That hasn't happened in ages. In the absence of a personal purchase high, Mr P (who spends virtually all his disposable income on ceramics), and I amuse ourselves by seeing if we can get Mr T drunk enough to buy something. Tonight we may have hit the jackpot. I had to leave because I have a sink full of dishes to wash and a bag to pack for a weekend away but Mr T was on the verge of committing to not only a piece, but a series! I can't wait to find out how the night ended.

Many years ago, I fell in in love with the fine piece of wall adornment that appears prominently in the photo above. It looks like a single frame from a film. That was the first thing I liked about it. It's by Australian artist Brett Whiteley and it's called 10 Rillington Place, W11 (1965). The subject is the murderer John Christie, who created an elaborate device to dispense lethal gas to his victims. If I could ever have afforded one of Whiteley's exquisite landscapes, I would have snapped one up but he's always been well out of my league. Prints are affordable. Last year I went to an exhibition of Picasso and Matisse prints. The cheapest was around £500. Before anyone starts getting on my case about the poorest people being excluded from this cultural bonanza, I mean 'affordable' in the relative sense, i.e. hundreds and not millions.

The thing I like most about my print is that Whiteley hasn't just scrawled his name on the thing cursorily but has written out in painstakingly scratchy copybook italic script,

"10 Rillington Place W11" (Still from a Proposed 16 millimetre film) 53/70 Brett Whiteley

There is something very personal about this print. It isn't at all slick, like it was churned out in a mass produced run. It's a short series with only 70 made. The Tate has one (I think they have No. 4 but I've never seen it on show - not that I need to, obviously). The National Gallery of Australia has No. 39. House of Pants is in good company. But don't go getting any fancy ideas about turning me over. They're not worth that much. Now if it was a Warhol, that would be different.

So there you have it, my elegantly dressed wall. And so to the dishes. I'm off up north for a few days tomorrow. Try to stay out of trouble and I'll catch up with you next week...


Andrew said...

Your venetians aren't sitting straight Pants. :)

phil said...

That's nice. I look forward to the day that we exhibit Chateau VVB when it will, too, for one shining moment, look halfway habitable.

That's so pants said...


How VERY, VERY dare you!

Hi Phil

Ah, a slob after my own heart.



Reading the Signs said...

Swooning about the "distressed" walls, Pants, and the coffee table and that chair by the piano - so redolent of history, as Edna Everidge might have said (but I mean this most sincerely).

Buying art is good. But you need book-free wall space.

Annie said...

Good grief! Is that a grand piano? You are classy!

(I fell in love with and bought a painting at the Brighton Open House this year. Very exciting. But by the time I went to collect it, had actually forgotten what it looked like. I still do like it - but it is a nearly life size painting of a woman in a wolf mask and is a tad spooky, it makes me jump every time I enter the room. That's what impulse buying can do to you.)

Good luck with the house selling. I'm on the other end at the moment. The only ones having any fun are the estate agents.

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

Books have a room of their own!

Hi Slammo

Yes - well it's a baby grand actually. I will never understand why property transfer is so ridiculoulsy hard in Britain. I don't think estate agents are having too much fun as they have to complete a sale before getting any money. Lawyers obviously benefit because they get paid something even if the sale is aborted but mine is very nice and didn't charge me when that happened to me so I don't want to say anything bad about lawyers.



Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Good heavens, I can't imagine chez Glossop ever looking that tidy!

The last piece of art I bought was a landscape of one of my favourite places by a local artist. If he ever gets famous it might become valuable, but I don't really care. I just like to look at it.

My favourite work of art is Buster, a real masterpiece.

R.H. said...

I call that sparse, my place is packed. I had a piano too, an upright, but couldn't play it, the police saw it however and were very impressed. Who do you think you are they said, the Liberace of Newport? Yes, I said (only time I've ever pleaded guilty).

(All true)

trousers said...

What a wonderful place!

Interesting what you say about affordability: so many people question the value of art and "how much did that cost?" etc. Yet so many people pay £30 a week to see their favourite football team play: it soon adds up to a hell of a lot doesn't it.

Meantime, I've had some interesting word verifications before but this one is "viigra."

That's so pants said...

Your Dameship

Buster - a kinetic sculpture par excellence.

Hi RH - you old romantic you.

Hi Trews - £30? Who do you support, Leyton Orient?



R.H. said...

Romantic? Of course I'm bloody romantic!

Miss Baroque calls it 'getting too personal'.

Hell. Can you beat that! But what would you expect from some bird who reads poetry in a bath tub!


Wisewebwoman said...

How Zenny, Pants. I know what you mean, I zenned my Toronto place before it sold, it was a brief and shining moment of hygiene in the life of WWW.
10 Rillington Place, one of my very favourite movies, so well cast and so downright creeeeeeepy, David Attenborough stars, John Hurt, Pat Heywood, et al, all filmed right at the location of that appalling house of horrors.
I envy you your memento.

That's so pants said...


Do not mess with Ms B or you and I will fall out - seriously. There is nothing wrong with reading poetry in the bath, unless of course it's Plath and there's a two-bar heater in the near vicinity. That could be dangerous.


The film of 10 Rillington Place (1971)is indeed creeeeeeepy as you say. Please observe that Whiteley's reading (1965)precedes it. However limited in length - one frame hardly counts as a film - he did realise the horrific event before anyone else. To be fair to Whiteley he does refer to it as a 'proposed' film. Clever really, imagining stills from a film that does not yet exist.

Anyway, yes! HOP achieved temporary Zenith as a space - the less than pleasant pervasion of Cillit Bang! notwithstanding. For one brief, shining (thank you Mr Sheen) moment, no tat from Poundland betrayed its primary function as a transit lounge for the daily comings and goings of Ms Pants.



R.H. said...

Yes well I never correct her -on anything.

That's romance: she can be wrong.