In The City Of An Artist Of Spanish Abstraction.


The Picasso museum in Malaga was certainly interesting.

Some of the old Spaniard’s work really appealed – some of it did not.

To be honest, if I want to see an impossibly twisted torso with a disturbingly contorted face I only need to look at Andrew laying beside me of a morning!

And I don’t have to pay ten euros for the pleasure.

I once had a London agent who often told me I had a face that reminded her of a Picasso – after experiencing eleven rooms of his paintings, I’m beginning to think this was not such a compliment.

No wonder she got me such odd auditions!

There I stood, in the Malaga house in which the painter grew up, between ‘Fruit Bowl’ and ‘Acrobat’ – most concerned! Lost between a somersault and a satsuma!

I felt, perhaps, I needed to be on the journey with Pablo to actually get it!

A bit like ‘Land’s End’ – if you don’t know how you got there, it’s a bit of a disappointment.

A puzzlement.

There were moments of undeniably riotous nuttiness which obviously impressed.

Almost ‘Pissed-casso’!

But for the most part I felt nearly as suicidal as most of the artist’s own family.

Luckily there was no bleach to hand!

During one encounter with ‘Woman With Flailing Arms’ I literally felt flailed.woman

The gift shop, however, was a true masterpiece – fridge magnets galore.

A Philistine’s paradise.

Just the antidote to all that abstraction. Something comfortingly tangible, like a ‘Guernica’ coaster!


A Mug !

Andrew showed more appreciation, but I think that may have had something to do with the herbal cigarette he smoked prior to entering the building.

In fact, I’m sure he saw an entirely different exhibition!


I would never be nearly naff enough to liken this body of work to ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, but I did have a sneaking suspicion that the old guy wasn’t wearing much in some of the paintings.

Still, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, sorry, painting.

In Malaga for a short birthday break with my beautiful sister, Tina and our gorgeous friend, Stella, the Barbra Windsor of the coast, Andrew and I had little idea of what to expect from the rest of city either.

Especially with two yappy Pomeranians in tow.

As one of those horribly ignorant Englishmen who assumes there is nothing much more than an aeropuerto in the Andalucian capital, I am delighted to stand corrected.

The city oozed an Iberian charm that was distinctly not abstract but as definite and sophisticated as a top notch Malaga wine. Heady and classy at the same time.

A style we could all understand.


We had a marvellous time.

Though I could have done without the orchestra of  wandering minstrels strangling their squeeze boxes and plucking their g-strings at every given opportunity, usually whilst one was eating alfresco and deep in conversation.

But hey, it did relieve us of our loose change.  And some of them were good.


Especially the Ken Dodd lookalike, who tickled his instrument goofily beautifully.

filename-100-0886-jpgWe stayed at the ‘Abyss’, I mean, the ‘Ibis’.  A mustard monstrosity adjacent to a storm drain on the edge of the old city.  Charmless and cheap, but as clean as a pair of nun’s knickers,  so we had no complaints.

They even allowed dogs, which was great, as Andrew so often has to sleep in the car. Joke! It is my birthday so I’m allowed ……

Yes. Another birthday, another show.

I can almost hear half a century beckoning me from the distance – the far distance I might add. Still, I think it maybe time to start having them bi-annually from now on – like a Hollyhock.

It was a quiet affair this year.  Like a small family funeral.  A few gathering to mourn the passing of my youth as I now roar, precariously and precociously, into middle age!

I am not planning the transition to be dignified.  Quite the opposite.  I intend to shock – much like Señor Picasso. I’m preparing a palette to arrest – maybe even get arrested.

His blue period is gonna be nothing on mine!

I plan to make hay til abstraction, or destruction, whichever comes first!

As Pablo’s Acrobat comes into my mind once again – I can’t help but feel a yearning for a time when I could get my limbs into such unnecessary postures – well, almost.


A twisted sense of loss for an acrobatic past.

Maybe that’s what he was getting at.

Maybe I get it!

Maybe I’m getting old.

Maybe I was in there too long.

Which way to the gift shop?



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