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Mr Rooty Tooty


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I had a bit of a slow witted response the other day to the whole "Artist" thing. I mean- first off most of them are miserable sods.

David Bowie was on Radio 4 and he really reminded me of my mate Arthur.

This is often very expressly a bad thing

I mean, he's my mate. Art (not Bowie, I met him once but he was busy) Probably about 15% of the time. The rest of the time he's pouting or shouting at me, some bad noise about something I did that I can't be arsed to remember.

"Oh this is typical! It's just like Oxford 2001 all over again. Well I haven't forgotten you know..."

Arthur got bummed once. In the bum, by a man. I mention it a lot, like when we're shopping in Asda for beer.

"Hey Arthur! Remember that time you got bummed!"
"Tsk! Hunh! Will you stop going on about that?"

And he wrings his hands and sheepishly looks around. And pouts. And then buys some ale which I absolutely know he'll pronounce the finest thing ever to happen to the internal surfaces of anyone's head.

Back in the day I thought Bowie was a fairly smart guy, and he is, but he's obviously spent his entire adult life interacting with people who will tolerate him, so he doesn't seem to have an internal twat filter.

Tbh I've never been talented enough or good looking enough to be allowed to take myself that seriously.

Arthur, I think, just has some form of personality disorder that allows him to pontificate on book binding and Triumph Heralds (undercoating, or lack thereof) for Fucking Hours, regardless really of whether anyone seems interested. Without getting all upset that they are yawning, fideting and casting wildly about with their eyes.

Or in todays world- producing a smartphone and loading flappybird. Which I think is a reflex action.

I can't bore in good faith. I notice things. Sometimes I become self aware and abruptly curtail something I was saying since it is apparent it is dull. I'm nice like that. I kinda figured people preffered you to do that.

But I think this undeserved sense of the importance of one's output is probably the foundation stone of any artistic dispersal. It's not something I find difficult to isolate in individuals, I can think of about 50 pretentious nobheads I know from writing, music and photography who plouw on despite nobody being interested in what they are doing, because usually what they are doing is prosaic and uninspired.

I don't know whether to admire them for their resolve or to feel emabarassed for them about their egotism. again, it usually comes down to success, which is the lens through which we can resolve between two pieces of identical merit based upon who lives in the bigger house.

And I know the odd few who are both talented and bashful. And unsuccesful. Always universally unsuccesful...bumholes

The other thing that shook me was the inherent survivorship bias when hearing of these succesful artists. Ie - the more succesful the more you are likely to hear about them. And therefore the less representative they are. As with any field of human endeavour really.

It struck me that to even get from here to there you can't compare their methodology with what I have available to me in my blighted little creative existence. People only write in isolation, resplendent in some annex, when they've earned the space and money to be able to do so, or else if they are propped up by a relative or circumstance. Or, I guess, the DHSS. But it's an enduring image, and it becomes internalised. You make excuse because the perfect opportunity is never available, and as a result nothing ever gets done.

I think I need to be able to develop a capacity to write under any conditions. And to just chuck shit out there and see what sticks. It doesn't help being a perfectionist, and it doesn't help having high aspirations.

I would not have found much worth accepting in ideas of self sabotage, because it conjures up an image of a conscious and willful descision to fail. But it's not, really, because the mind is amazingly adept at making excuses. In fact, it makes them so quickly that the awful, unmissable grotesque is often whisked offstage before the lights have even come up. As such, not detectable by the conscious mind under normal circumstances. Only inffered, by proxy.

For instance- the writing of about 100 complex plotlines, each with their own paragraph of actual prose ("I've done the difficult bit! I wrote down a list of what happens! The rest is just padding"). And probably also, not actually letting anyone read ANYTHING.


Except this shit. Which serves as an outlet of sorts, hopefully not pink and furrowed.

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  1. Editor's Avatar
    you're preaching to the converted** I love a good idea or a situation. But can I make it into a good story? I'm hopeless at telling jokes which doesn't suggest that I can or at least the tradition of oral story telling is prob not best suited to me. And then there's my own internal thresholds, which know oh so well that the actual crafting, shaping, editing, & tidying of the piece is about 90% of the work & 99.999% of the time involved. The boredom level (easily distracted by a dictionary..) & the final gut twisting own kick in the balls when you realise that, actually, what you're just created was done years ago by someone else, better. Plus the nuke to the crotch-it's not interesting enough. Pair that with my cynnical ex-buyer's hat & it's a wonder I even bother to even make a note of anything. BTW I had what I thought was a brilliant idea last week. Couldn't think of anyone who'd done it before. And then, over a coffee I realised that what I had 'invented' was the concept of a museum. That pissed me off.

    And directed writing. Recently I wrote a piece for someone who I had thought had done me a genuine & generous kindness. As ever it took ages to get it right. Then I learnt that no such kindness had happened, my mate had paid for it & that matey of the favour was a bit of a scally anyhow. So I took the piece to him on a tablet when he was busy, showed it him & then scarpered with the view that if he wants it badly enough he can approach me. Fuck giving it to him. And, get this, the truth of the whole episode is a far better story anyhow in that I was dirty, pissed, and a tad lairy when I met him for starters. But sadly it can't be told because he is a name.

    The only real art for art's sake self-sabotaging properly personality fucked up paint artist I know can afford to be. Mind you I suspect he had a rare moment of survial clarity when he met his now wife, who supports him. And their child at Eton.

    ** and, yeah, the idle.
  2. Mr Rooty Tooty's Avatar
    I absolutely adore oral story telling, it's my stock in trade. I sometimes get deffered to by people who want to tell a story but suddenly worry they lack the requisite delivery. Mind you, I can't beat my mate Corporal Vickers

    (to my colleagues)

    "I was driving home one night and this bird was walking down the road crying so I pulled over and she'd had a row with her boyfriend so I emotionally manipulated her hunh hunh herrr! Told her what she wanted to hear, made the right noises, anyway I fucked her over the bonnet of my Punto and then dropped her off at her fellas still crying...and I went home to me wife"

    This is a 3 minute segment of what was possibly an uninterrupted 4 hours soliloquy filled with identical horrors, delivered unbroken and unrehearsed, on the back of two grams of decent coke and half a gram of gritty m-cat. He dropped it without missing a beat. I mean really it's got everything, a complete potted story boiled down into a few sentences replete with misery, regret, an Italian hatchback and enthusiastic sexual mismanagement.

    And they loved it!

    I managed to spin out fifteen minutes of material about a bottle of piss I'd seen on the M1 on Friday, fielding questions from the assembled crowd, and it had a very familiar cadence to it.

    Which was: at first everyone was glowering and looking between each other in a "I don't subscribe to this" or "This guy is talking shit" way that people do*. They thought they had the better of me, they thought I'd gas myself. They thought I'd come up short

    And then they started flinging grief at me, and technical questions, trying to shake loose my whole paradigm.

    And I fielded them with finesse and incorporated them to build the story. And people started laughing and began to loosen up and buy into it. And in the end even bystanders were laughing, and I believe I've created a mythos around a 5 litre mineral water bottle half filled with yellow liquid going southbound near junction 17.

    I was in the zone. I stepped out of my body and watched from on high. It was a moment of grace...

    *When you're talking shit.

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