Following on nicely from my last misery post, I would like to talk about Grayson Perry.
So, first night back with my folks after, ummm, SIX YEARS, and I asked if it would be okay to watch the Grayson Perry documentary at 10; the one about art and class. Mum was all like “yeah sure as long as it’s cool for me to watch Eastenders then Holby then that thing about lawyers first” and then Dad came in and said “so, I might listen to a thing on the radio later if anyone fancies it”, at which point Mum and I barked our telly schedule at him and he remembered he was, once again, outnumbered.
I like Grayson Perry. And culture and taste and class and judgement is my absolute favourite thing ever. As it was starting I could feel my AESTHETICS BONER swelling in my pants and I started to garble stuff about Pierre Bourdieu at Mum in between my shallow breaths. And then I was just a bit disappointed by it. As a three-parter, he’s only covered ‘working-class’ taste so far, although it felt a lot more like a series of observations about identity than any real exploration. But then, what can you do with an hour of telly time?
At the end though, after I’d posted a few tweets basically saying “yawn football fake eyelashes blah”, there was a gallery opening that all the show’s participants attended. Grayson Perry had designed a tapestry which was inspired by them all; their ornament collections and nights out and working mens’ clubs. And everyone was just falling to pieces with happiness and emotion. I thought the tapestry was gorgeous, and infinitely meaningful, but these people saw themselves in it. The club singer just kept saying how moved he was by how Perry had portrayed him, and the girls in the little going-out dresses were reminded of all the fucking sweet times they’d had. And there was a mum whose kids had gone to university and he’d recreated their graduation photographs. That’s the bit that gave me a pang, if only because I’m going to be that girl in a few weeks. And I remembered that the reason I’m doing this, living back with my folks for the summer, is because I’m going to go and do an MA in Aesthetics and I’m going to articulate the feeling that those people in that tapestry experienced when they saw it for the first time. That connection and understanding that makes you want to cry a little bit. I felt it when I saw the Manic Street Preachers fan art in Jeremy Deller’s retrospective, and in the folk songs from the Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart by the National Theatre of Scotland, and in that final act of Love Love Love by Mike Barlett. It’s that “you’ve made this beautiful thing just for me” feeling. If it means I can go on to understand it better and explain it better and help people make connections with all the fucking beautiful things, then that’s more than worth a few months in your parents’ spare room.
Sandbach is hardly fucking Syria. Oh WOE IS ME, I’ve been woken up by the bastard HORSES trotting too loudly down the street AGAIN.