‘So we’ll go to the South Bank early.’ Were her last words to me on Saturday night. This from a woman who can happily stay in her pit until midday, yeah yeah I thought. Went about my business up at 6.30, having a Twitter shufti for five then email & Facebook for 2 then settle in to write while radio 4 talks of crises in the world – I will wait to get my reality check later with Aljazeera – I reckon to get the BBC and Aljazeera plus a little Russia Today and then believe none of it but with a definite bias toward Aljazeera. Mainly because the journalists question more and appear to take less bullshit and most of them are women. It’s a method!
When at 7.20 she appeared, and vertical I was stunned. She whacked the cereal bowls too close to my laptop for comfort, I stopped writing and took up eating stance and within fifteen minutes we were flying through a near deserted Greenwich, Deptford, Bermondsey and all the other beauty spots of South London – when I say ‘flying’ I mean it as a comparative term the chariot no longer flies but it goes well and looks terrifying so people don’t usually mess with us and she is an Italian driver with all the verve and nerve that this implies.
The South Bank was near deserted and the cinema fairly empty. I knew the project was called The Clock and that it involved film. She tells me I am culturally unadventurous – because she once took to some show where we were shepherded round a building and expected to be scared, excited, interested, on command. I just wanted to sit down and get a pint - I don’t do audience participation. Also she is not a great explainer – in fact I had thought we would dive in and out of this clock thing in a half hour but no – this was a twenty four hour gig that still had hours to run. The project is in real time and the time is always on the screen in various forms. Station clocks, alarm clocks watches; with people responding – they are late; they are waiting, rushing, getting fractious. Every response to time is represented.
The artist who created this is called Christian Marclay and he is a genius. The entire show is made up of thousands of clips of films .This sounds dull but it is riveting, funny, fascinating and totally absorbing, we stayed for three hours and if we hadn’t had a lunch date I think I would have stayed all through until 6.30 when it ended.
I am explaining badly. The clips of films came from all over the world, as far back as the twenties and the juxtaposition of clips was marvellous. Some clips lasted long enough to get engrossed in the story – a door would open and an explosion came that tore at your mind – which hadn’t had time to jettison the last image. There was one intriguing clip of Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren that we felt we should have heard about and there was Tony Hancock – gloom personified pulling a lever over and over and then… so it went on with no moment of boredom, no ennui just total engagement and then the market on the South bank for great cheese and ginger and fig cake.
On to lunch with some mates at their house – and me in me track suit bottoms and hair stuffed into a beret, no time to change. Brilliant conversation and a decision to all go to Sicily together, and lots of good wine and fabulous nosh.
I tell you I get a better class of Sunday since I took up with my bird!