It’s monthly Visit Grandad day.
It ‘s so warm in his house, I feel faint, and he plies me with rich tea cream biscuits and twixes.
Deal or No Deal comes on. I’ve never watched this before. There’s a long haired man who is trying to win some money, but I don’t understand the rules. Grandad complains;
“He needs a haircut!”
I laugh at him not with him, but the irony is lost somewhere down the back of the sofa.
The man pulls out a wedding photo and says something about having to move his big day forwards because his wife was in a hospice and wasn’t going to make it that far.
I have to fight the urge to sob, and grandad says;
“Looks like a blummin’ social worker!”
I gulp down my tears and laugh at grandad again, the silly lovable bigot.
Get a call from mum,
“Harry Hill is showing people round David Shrigley’s exhibition tomorrow, got you a ticket, do you want it?”
I actually said “I’ll call you back.”
I am a fool.
On the way to the station, I ‘pop’ into work to send an email. Even though my train is due in 10 minutes and I haven’t got a ticket yet.
As I walk through the entrance at work, I hear a woman yell;
“Vienna! Oi! Come back here now!”
I swivel on my heels. Was that my conscience calling?
Nope. It’s just some woman summoning her libellously named child. Ha!
5 more paces inside and she’s at it again;
“I said NOW! Get here RIGHT now!”
I forged on ahead. How right she was. I didn’t send the email and got locked in at work and had to jump the station queue and finally made the train as the doors closed behind me.
But enough of that, all you really want to know about is Harry Hill. He is EXACTLY how he looks on TV. Big collar, NHS glasses, ageless face.
He took an overexcited group of 20 of us round David Shrigley’s show. They’re friends apparently.
He made fun of us at every available opportunity. And he had a doll called Jan Van Der Werk.
We wrote our names down on a flipboard, and he went through them like a surreal schoolteacher.
Someone had written “misunderstood” and “happy.”
“That’s very disappointing,” he said, “so early on in the tour. We’ve got another 40 minutes to go. Who’s next? Billy, who’s that?”
“Here” I say.
He just looks at me, one eyebrow raised. I start to blush.
A bald man with glasses asks for a photo with Harry and a woman says “I think it’s because he looks like you”, to which Harry replies, “In what way does he look like me? He’s completely bald. And he has silly glasses!”
“How did you start to notice that you were losing your hair?” he says to the man, “Was it like me, it started to take longer and longer to wash your face? Some people suit no hair. Roll on Easter, that’s all I can say.”
One of the funniest things about it was the infectious giggling of curator, Mike Chavez-Dawson. It was like the best canned laughter in the world.
After the endless japes, it was good to sit down and have some lunch with my dad. Quality patricidal time. No that’s not right. Paternal time. We were downstairs in the 8th Day, chatting over vegan soup when we overheard a bizarre phone conversation:
Listen, don’t touch the paintings!
Don’t touch the paintings!
Listen to me, Jan, don’t touch them, leave them alone!
No, don’t even look at them, Jan.
They’re not ruined.
Remember things aren’t always as they seem.
Listen to me, sit down, don’t touch them, I’ll be there in 20 minutes…”
Then he took off like a bat out of hell.
Was he on the phone to Harry’s doll, Jan? What had he done to David’s work with his tiny hands?