By Teigh-Anne Toast 

Last Friday evening I went to an art exhibition on the seafront with my good friend, Crystalle de Canta. It was the opening night of a group show called ‘Fresh Wind’. Crystalle explained that a group show is when a collection of artists who detest each other mount a joint exhibition. They do this to share costs. For safety reasons, Crystalle advised me to describe the artworks as either ‘great’ or ‘interesting’. We ventured into the gallery and the hostility was palpable. You could have cut the atmosphere with a chisel. We immediately helped ourselves to a plastic cup of turpentine laced with battery acid. Or ‘complimentary wine’.

Wafting around in my favourite kaftan and turban, I soon fell into conversation with Roger Bundle, one of the exhibiting artists. I say ‘conversation’, but Roger had clearly indulged in a few drops too many of the free vino. He was tighter than a pair of Speedos. His eyes roamed erratically about my tunic and darted in multiple directions. Roger was attempting to explain his oeuvre but most of his discourse was unintelligible. I caught the occasional word. Something about a blouse? He moved closer and called me ‘Tina’. There was a long pause before his final pronouncement: “mmmelons!” Sensing the need to move along swiftly, I assured Roger that his art was fascinating, and left him swaying next to a wood carving.

Meanwhile, Crystalle was engaged in a deep conference with the sculptor, Helga Rotten-Weiller. Helga had created an installation involving a long drainage pipe covered in undulating, pink foamy material. It was called ‘Rights of the Passage’. I wondered if it represented an intestine. Slipping past with utmost discretion, I overheard Helga expounding her personal philosophy; “Yah, yah… I am not a positive person… I don’t believe that existence is positive. In fact, I despise positive persons!” Crystalle nodded. “Ha ha ha” laughed Helga, “have a nice life!!!”

By this time, I was rather enjoying the exhibition. There were pots and paintings, drawings and dabblings; it was a good show. I was on my second beaker of booze and, throwing caution aside, I wandered into a darkened room to watch an art film about clouds. But oh, dear reader! I had failed to notice Roger right behind me. He lurched forwards. “Ooooooh Tina!!” he slurred. “I want to bake love to you!” I realised we were quite alone as the air thickened with wine fumes and desperation. Roger pressed on; “I’ve a lovely shausage you know…” I panicked and edged away. What could I do? I tried to warn Roger of my strict vegetarianism*, but he was undeterred. “Hmmm… whaddabout my big cu cu (hic!) cucumber?” he asked. I had an idea and said brightly,“heavens! Isn’t that a lovely sofa?” And as he turned to look, I shoved Roger face-first into the cushions. Apparently, he slept like a baby for several hours. Which was more than he deserved, in the circumstances.

Escaping back into the main gallery, I heard raised voices. There was a big kerfuffle over Helga’s artwork. An unfortunate visitor had strayed too close and dared to touch it. “You’re molesting my vagina!!!” Helga shrieked. All things considered, this seemed a very good moment to retreat, so I marched up to Crystalle and told her that I could absolutely murder a crab stick. She reminded me that it was happy hour at Just For The Halibut, and if we hurried, we’d still be in time for some cut-price potted mackerel. Needless to say, we ran for it!

*with the exception of crab sticks and potted mackerel.

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