Friday, 17 February 2017

Jackson Pollock robot


There is an old, traditional paint shop here in Bath called Davies, where I think I might be able to buy some lime-fast pigment to colour some chalky white mortar which I will pipe into the joints of a tufa grotto with an icing bag. Yes, I really get paid to do this stuff.

If you don't use lime-fast pigments with natural lime, the colour can completely disappear overnight, and then I would not get paid for doing this stuff.

I was going into Bristol yesterday to get these pigments from a store which I have used for years, but because I was traveling in from the M4 side, I switched on my satnav to guide me through all the roads and roundabouts which have been built over the last few years.

It all went well until it told me to take a left to my destination when I was halfway over a section of M32 flyover which had been built after my satnav was programmed. That was when I gave up and carried on home to Bath on the A4.

My Garmin satnav is constantly telling me it needs an upgrade, and yesterday it made its point on the M32. An upgrade, they tell me, is simple. Just go to their website, plug in the device and download. The trouble is that it would cost £190 - more than a new satnav, and I always seem to have an alternative use for the £190.

The Davies paintshop is very Victorian in appearance, probably because - like the cobbler's boots - it hasn't been redecorated since 1890. Well not deliberately anyway. Some time in the late 1960s (I guess) it became fashionable to mix your own colours in-store, using a colour chart and various tints added to the can of blank paint.

The paint can is then bolted into the metallic jaws of a large machine which seems to be based on the 'bucking bronco' or bull-ride attractions that you sometimes find in Texan bars, because after the can has been bolted on, you stand well back and hit the switch. The jaws and can shake and shudder in an extremely violent, asymetrical, centrifugal paroxysm in order to mix the paint and tint thoroughly.

Over the years, it is obvious that there have been many occasions when the operator of Davies's machine has not made sure that the clamps have been properly and securely tightened, because the walls and floor within four feet of it are covered in thick layers of multi-coloured paint which has been spectacularly chucked around by the mixing robot before anyone could get near enough to switch it off.

You know that feeling of dread no-return as you start to enter an automated car-wash? I bet the paint mixing staff get the exact same twinge of fear when they turn it on.

27 comments:

  1. You surprise me that you've got satnav.

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    1. Modern gadget, old car, you, maps, I haven't got one. Take your pick.

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    2. You don't need one. There is only one road leading into Norfolk, and it's the same one you use to get out.

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  2. Do you have the posh lady or man directing you on your SatNav ? It's interesting to know which voice people choose ...... well, to me anyway ...... I think I need to get a life !!! I like the sound of your paint shop ..... so much nicer than Homebase. XXXX

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    1. I have an English slag doing mine. It cost, but it's worth it.

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    2. Homebase has been taken over and those that are left will shortly be renamed Bunnings. Oz co. They also mix paint.

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    3. I bet the Oz company doesn't name its tints things like 'Elephant's Breath' and all the other ponsy names that us Guardian-reading Poms do. Let's have a competition to re-name paints in the Australian style.

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    4. One of my wealthiest clients invented and renaned all the Dulux paints - the barley whites etc. He had been an art school professor but made his fortune from Dulux and retired from art school. This is a true story.

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    5. The Ozzies have a cold-start spray for cars called, 'Start Yer Bastard'.

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  3. I would love to have seen that paint machine malfunction - standing at a distance of course.

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  4. At the Peggy Guggenheim museum in Venice there were a few Jackson Pollocks - liked them in that surrounding.

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    1. H/I/ likes Jackson Pollock, but I - heathen that I am - do not see the artistry. I have a real problem with him, but I have problems with all painter's painters.

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    2. He was always pissed. He died pissed too when he flipped his car. Peggy wasn't convinced about his art either although she paid him to paint because she was persuaded to by others.

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    3. To pissed to hold a brush steady.

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  5. I just had a look at Davies on googles street view. Next to it is a restaurant called "The Scallop Shell" which has tables with the legs painted in all kinds of bright colors. Wonder if they popped in next door to buy the paint for that. Wonder also, if their food is tasty!

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    1. The Scallop Shell is now the best fish and chip shop for miles around. It has an almost international reputation.

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  6. I never thought of the paint mixer as a Jason Pollock automaton. The machine at Lowes is behind the counter.
    When my granddaughters painted their rooms, each room was three or four colors. Ceilings, different walls, trim, all that nonsense. I enjoyed watching them assort their paint chips.

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    1. It's either that or Magnolia throughout.

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  7. Now I am convinced for sure that we don't need a satnav.....creepy little beggers. I hope you found that exclusive limebased paint, and I am all in the shadows understanding what you where using it on, my lingual storage seem to have gaps. The paint mixer however, I really know. I've heard one and lived to tell about it! Great story, Tom!

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    1. I am glad you liked the story, even if you didn't have a clue as to what it was about.

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    2. At least not the first five or six lines, after that I kind of got the grip!!

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  8. Replies
    1. I think they also provide a service to first year Fine Art students, who take their jeans to the shop and place them on a rack next to the mixer.

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