Other people eat to live......

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 13 October 2007

'The Frieze Art Fair' in Regents Park, was full of arty collectors, rich gallery owners, Richard E Grant and poseurs. Some of the work was good; I particulalry liked Evan Penny's bald man and Pam Ferris lookalike. They hung on the wall, as big as a Fresian Cow. The detail of their skin and hair, eyes and lips was uncanny.

But, there was too much art, too much noise, too much competition. If this is the way we sell our young artists I fear for their creativity. There was no time for reflection, it felt like a cattle market. One young Russian was drawing lines on a laughing monkey with a silver pen. He had flown in from the Mother Country and was completing his piece de resistance before our very eyes - a sort of Slavic Rolf Harris.

I was taken to the fair by my German friend who has started to collect Art. Funny concept, collecting art. She says, "its an investment." Those poor painters and sculptors; I wondered whether they made heartfelt pieces or whether, like the Eurovision Song Contest, they were looking for the acrylic version of 'Puppet on a String'. . Whatever it was I thought of TS Eliot's poem, 'In the room the women come and go talking of Michael Angelo.' We rushed from exhibit to exhibit like pretencious meercats.

We could have gone on a 'Frieze Talk' to find out about the galleries, of which there were several, to learn who the custodians of culture were and the theory and practice of cultural cartography or leave and find somewhere good for lunch. There was no contest our bellies were bigger than our eyes.

It was a pleasure to leave. Regents park was damp and misty. We walked down Marylebone Road, dodged the traffic and took a left down Marylebone High Street. Not a lot of supermarkets more a selection of bijou shops and eateries.

We finally found 'The Providores', Peter Gordon's fusion restaurant. Peter is a Kiwi. He had just returned from Paris where he had been preparing food for 180 guests in a huge inflatable rugby ball, behind the Eiffel Tower, for the rugby match today. They are probably eating his raspberry-rosewater and passionfruit ripple sorbets with Hokey Pokey ice-cream, Zespri Golden Kiwi fruit and nut biscotti as we speak.

The Fraulein and myself had a Bellini cocktail, a simple salad, cheese and biscuits and a deep and meaningful conversation about life, art and whether M&S thongs were better than La Perla. Then we walked for an hour and jumped into a taxi at The Dorchester.

And before you have a go about my decadent lifestyle, you're right. This week has been eating, drinking and wishing I were back at OHI with 8oz of wheatgrass and a clear conscience.

I drove us back to the country, it took so long by the time we reached East Sussex it was nearly Thanks Giving.
I kissed Jim, the dog, the cat and the walls, threw off my clothes and changed into my Cancer Charity dressing gown, the one with pink ribbons on it, when Fraulein K, invited us for an Indian take-away.

Faisal took the order, Jim drove to collect it - this is the country remember, we don't have home deliveries - and, even if we did, they'd never find us. I put three plates in the oven, ( to warm ) and after unloading three brown carrier bags of goodies we settled down to munch whilst watching 'Have I got News for You' and 'QI' twice. I am in love with Stephen Fry; he needs to know that.

The food was delicious. The tarka dahl was thick and gloopy, the tandoori chicken moist and chunky, the chapati and naan warm and doughy, the cauliflower barghee clean and crunchy, the belly, big and bloaty.

This morning I drove my German shepherdess to pick up her hire car and arrived back at the cottage in time to take coffee and toast with our ex bank manager who is so lovely I nearly took out an overdraught. After which Jim and the dog walked me on The Forest, after which I shopped for the papers and cat food, after which I watched 'Stricly Come Dancing', after which we ate a hot Harissa laden lamb stewy thing I had cooked whilst crying at Kelly Brooks' footwork, after which I came upstairs to write this.

I am now going to have a bath, climb into bed and read something that has nothing whatsoever to do with art or food and then go to sleep because tomorrow I'm on the wireless.

Do join me and Gino De Campo and an American Actor who is doing a show in London about Tom Waits, the gravel voiced singer who has a drunken piano. Hic

That's your lot cul8tr.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At October 14, 2007 10:23 AM Stephanie wrote:

The detail of their skin and hair, eyes and lips was uncanny.

Ooh, my ears pricked up at that. I'm doing a PhD on the 'uncanny valley' - where we get creeped out by faces that are almost but not quite human. One of the aspects I'm looking at is which features of the face trigger that reaction, and how almost-real they need to be to do that.

Were these paintings or giant photos? I've been working a lot with computer generated artwork, but sometimes painted faces can be extremely creepy: I think the whole 'eyes following you around the room' thing can be a good example of the UV effect, bringing the eyes of painting to life while the rest stays static. Eerie.

I ramble. Sorry.

2. At October 14, 2007 9:33 PM Giddy wrote:

Hi Jeni,

This will seem weird but I just wanted to send you a little note... I had no idea the plug was pulled on your show -- and I know there was always a guest chef but c'mon it was your show. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed spending my lunchtime with you for a good two years. I was a PhD student at the time and always watched as I ate my sandwich and surveyed the lint in my navel. Couldn't miss it. Anyway dear heart I've since moved abroad and don't have Sky or anything so obviously I was very surprised to learn the show got the axe earlier this year. I love your personality and humour, and even if a twentysomething student wasn't necessarily GFL's target market, you had me. I hope you and your family are having many good times and I hope to see you before the cameras soon -- even a video podcast to go along with your blog would be most welcome (write me if you don't know what that is). Didn't you say something about talking about "the art of presenting"?

Big hug from Amsterdam.
xoxoxo

3. At October 15, 2007 12:26 PM chrissie carcassonne wrote:

Hi Jeni
There is nothing wrong with a decadent lifestyle. Bring it on! Thats what I say!!
I am trying to shift a few pounds before the social whirl of Christmas and New Year. Only about 12 to shift but they just seem to want to stay with me.
As for art...I think you should buy what you like rather than buying to make a few bob in years to come. We might run the risk of artists being supported because they could become famous rather than supporting good artists...whatever "good artists" might mean.
Chrissie x x

4. At October 15, 2007 3:18 PM Chris :-) wrote:

I’ve just found this link about ‘Food Poker’ on the BBC Press Office site. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/tv/wk44/mon.shtml#mon_food
I’m looking forward to seeing ‘Food Poker’ because you are involved with the program. You would think they would have the decency to mention that you are doing the commentary. Never mind ‘We’ the ones who love & miss you know you are involved with the program.

Good Luck Jeni

Chris :-)

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.