Wednesday, 11 January 2012


I saw a great bit of graffiti on the wall of our nearest church quite a few years ago: it said, "99% is shit". That's it. I immediately knew what the artist was saying, and it has never been so true as it is today, about 20 years later.

It was scrawled right next to another bit of writing, and the other bit actually made it into a book of graffiti from all over Britain. That piece said, "I hate seaweed" and was written in a spidery sort of handwriting - the sort of handwriting you could imagine from someone who had been forced to eat seaweed since childhood, and was suffering from muscular underdevelopment as a result. I imagined the writer to be a sort of green colour as well as scrawny.

If I am sitting in the pub trying to talk or listen over some bloody bit of rubbish music and say, "God - this music is terrible" usually someone who ought to know me quite well responds by saying, "Is there ANY music you like at all?" If they bothered to read my late-night posts (usually made when words have failed me) then they would know that my taste in music is so diverse that it is extremely difficult to respond to their irritated demands to categorise exactly what sort of music I do like, so I usually say "I like good music", which makes them even angrier.

Maybe I am being picky, but you have to admit it is much easier to list the things we don't like than the things we do. I found myself listing negatives this morning over my first coffee, and was amazed to rediscover how many sorts of people I instinctively dislike - about 99% to be precise.

Of course, it is a very general, impersonal sort of dislike, but it soon becomes personal if you start to make the list verbally and in public, because it is only a matter of seconds before at least one of the company finds themselves on the list, takes it badly and accuses you of of being an arrogant and egocentric bastard. They are so blinded by rage that they fail to notice that I also include myself in many of the categories, and that I find myself just as useless as they do. I dislike roughly 99% of all my character traits, but I have - like every one else who is not in therapy - learnt to live with them.

Top of my list of people who I hate are artists - even successful ones - and top of that specific list are: musicians; painters (particularly painters); writers (particularly writers); sculptors (particularly sculptors) - actually, ANYONE who misdescribes themselves as an 'artist'. General Franco had the same sort of attitude.

Why do I hate artists so much? Because 99% of them are a waste of time and space, should just get out of the way and stop stealing the oxygen of the one percent that actually know what they are supposed to be doing. It is fine for them to mess about with art in the privacy of their own homes - a kind of personal journey, I suppose - but why should they have to have exhibitions all the time? Why should Anthony Gormley be allowed to defile some of the most beautiful parts of rural Britain? Who wants to read someone's personal and irrelevant scribblings? (Careful - I'm doing myself out of a job here).

It is around this point that I am usually accused of being a fascist, but I retaliate by saying that there is hardly a less fascistic notion than the concept of 'Art is for everyone'. It isn't - or at least the making of it isn't. Any fool can tell the difference between a good bit of art and a bad one, but not everyone can produce it. For this reason alone, I become extremely (probably stupidly) pissed off with people who go to see a crap bit of art, then come back saying how wonderful it is, when clearly it is not. They should know the difference and spend less time accusing the people who do of being arrogant.

Oh, I forgot to put 'critics' on the list above.


  1. Were BS's initials clairvoyance, or did his parents really know something we don't?

    I too hate most painters; and that includes myself.

  2. It's true: most people are awful, but I'm such an awfully optimistic sort that I like to put the percentage at round 80 rather than 99. Horrible, horrible chirpy me.

    Have you come across John Carey's 'What Good are the Arts?'? It is wonderfully amusing, not in an (awful) hilarious way but just through its relentlessly effective reasoning. You'd like it.

  3. I've never tried seaweed so it wasn't me.

    Concentrate on the 1% Tom, like, erm...

    ...hang on a minute, I'll think of something...


  4. Just a bit grumpy this morning????

  5. I didn't notice the kite-mark, Cro.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention fish-wives and interior designers.

    I like to try and find the worst in everyone. It's so nice when you come across the 1 %, though I am still waiting.

  6. I had not thought about it before Tom but you are quite right - I can make a long list of dislikes but find likes much harder. Like your blog though!

  7. I'll look up that John Carey thing, Mise.

    Oh, Weaver - you almost made me feel guilty for a minute. Rational (or otherwise) impassionate (or otherwise) dislike for abstract (or otherwise) human traits does not stop me from loving the individual, and that includes all of you lot.

    Some of the people who have done me the most good since I was a child have pointed out the simple fact that I was behaving like an utter c***, and I would like to pass this gift on.

    Later, I am going to post up a larger list of human examples in society that I despise, but I am going to counter-balance it with a list of humans or traits which I cannot help but unconditionally love - this will include myself.

    Let's face it (again) if you cannot love yourself, who can you love?

  8. Gee Tom, Did someone sh*t in your cheerios today. :):) I do understand the music don't even think of calling rap(crap) music. Smiles, Susie

  9. I don't eat Cheerios, Susie - I like them, but I don't eat them. There is quite alot of rap that I do actually like - some of those people are true poets. I don't like the racial, gansta, misogenistic stuff though - I get enough of that at home.

    As far as someone shitting in my breakfast goes, no. I feel this way all the time. I thought everyone else did too?

  10. Was this meant to be funny? Because I was very amused by it. In some ways I agree with you and in some ways I don't. Personally, I do dislike how everyone can call themselves a "writer" even if they've not published anything or a "musician" even if they just play their guitar at home. And I guess maybe they are, but I would never presume so much to call myself a writer, unless I actually made a living from writing (oh, I wish).

    1. Everything I do is meant to be 'funny', Chris - even the serious stuff. One day it's going to end with me shouting, "WOLF!"