He Wants to Make the World a Better Place
The place is filled with balloons. Occasionally one of them hits a pin on the wall or the ceiling and lets out a loud, unmistakable and satisfying balloon-going-pop big bang! People are milling about, clutching at the strings hanging down from the balloons and looking up, everyone is looking up, as the balloons rise up to the pin covered ceiling...
And in the middle of all this, all this popping and looking up, and while I am following Hector as he is running along with his video camera trying to keep up with Kiyoshi Yasuda (that's him above) who is talking into the mic which is connected to Hector's camera and I am also holding my camera, a plastic glass of beer and Hector's glass of beer, I run into Dave Hoyland who introduces me to Francesca.
'Hi, there,' I say.
'Oh my god,' she says, 'I read your blog last night. I've been standing on the other side of the room at practically everything you've been at,' she says. 'And I interviewed you once by email,' she says. And yes, I think, right, this must be Francesca Gavin. She did interview me, years back, about this. (The interview ended up, fact lovers, as a few lines in Marmalade magazine, issue 3). Anyway, how nice to actually meet her. I have to take her photo. The first shot makes it look like she is in a night club in Ibiza, so I ask if I can take more. 'You can do me as much as you like' she says. Nice quote, I say, might use that on the blog...
And just before she goes off to spend the rest of this private view on the other side of the room to me I have to notice and mention her necklace. It is a small gold chain with her name on it. Oh no, no it's not. Not quite. It says 'Frantastic'.
Ah ha. I like her a lot.
Someone else I meet tonight is Nooza. OK, that's not his real name. His real name is Steve Smith, but he started writing a blog a little while back about his arty jaunts around London and I started reading it and started noticing that I was standing on the other side of the room to a few things he was at. I'd actually been introduced to him before but never made the link. And then I did make the link and here he is tonight. We chat for a bit. He writes a very carefully considered blog, takes his time, makes some very nice points and I like it a lot. He did a course with Paula Roush, who was supposed to be in the Kitson Kaleidoscope I was in a while back, but arrived too late or something. I met her the other day and she remembered me from the pub after the kaleidoscope thing where we were first introduced. Needless to say, it being a pub and me being me I had no recollection of this meeting at all.
And talking of pubs I have to mention something about Seventeen Gallery tonight. I've already documented in a previous post the wonders of Seventeen Gallery's toilets (toilets so amazing, in fact, that the first time I came here with Lena Nix we went to our respective toilets and so impressed was she that she photographed the girls with her phone and sent it to me in the boys across the gallery), but tonight Dave has really provided something a bit special.
I'm very used to being in a gallery, dipping my hand into an old dustbin of cold water to fetch up a label-flapping green bottle of beer (very used to it, thank you), but Seventeen has gone that bit further. On the bar he's got mounted a proper pint pulling draught thing. It's huge. And magnificent. And I am in love.
'Mr 'Oyland,' I want to say, 'wiz zis big poomp, you are rilly spoiling us....'
It's such a piece of kit (I mean, how many galleries do you know that can pull you a pint???) that I think it might end up in the running for best barperson at a private view. Even though it is not actually a person.
So he pulls me a pint and then I'm running off after Hector and his camera and the very talkative Yasuda....
There are black balloons rising up to the ceiling, large yellow balloons tied to trays on the astroturfed floor of the gallery, little fabric men hanging from cotton, even smaller little paper men scattered across the floor and sharp pins all over the walls and ceiling. It's a party atmosphere.
And joining the party are Noah Sherwood and Graham Hudson. Noah has been building the bar at the Chelsea Parade Ground for the grand finale of Graham's residency next Friday. From what he says, it sounds like the bar will be built out of his own sculpture that he had in Spitalfields. I think next Friday will be great.
Hey, tonight has been great.
It feels like the first real show after the long quiet summer. It's pouring with rain for a start. And Seventeen is the start of the rest of the year.
Yasuda's show has been a blast. Everyone's in high spirits - though none as high as Yasuda - especially when he filled the girls toilets with balloons like some kind of mad Martin Creed thing gone wrong.
Loads of people had that look you get when you are so full of wonder, if only for a second, that your face goes all silly: mouth open, eyes wide, slight smile. That's a pretty good thing to pull off.
So, yes, you have to hand it to him. Yasuda says in the press material that he wants to make the world a better place. And tonight I think he has.
Except for the slightly sullen, pouty girl I almost bump into as I'm coming out of the boys toilets. As she goes in behind me, she gives me a look and says, 'sorry, but the girls' are full of balloons...'