Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bollocks to Caro


After a lot of money and a lot more effort, I decided yesterday that this block of sparkly, white, Thassos marble was not suitable for the job in hand, so I have rejected it and it now comes under the category of 'stock'.

Shortly before this photo was taken, I found myself trapped in an uncomfortable position having thought I could manage to get it out of the car on my own, and if I had lifted my foot from the board it was supposed to slide down, some damage would have occurred to either the car, the block, me, or all three.

Thank goodness for mobile phones, because I only had to wait for about 10 minutes before help was at hand in the form of my nearest neighbour, who happened to be reasonably close whilst walking his dog.

There has just been a radio program about the Royal Warrants that are issued to any 'purveyor' of goods to the Royal Household, and these warrants are given to trusted tradespeople by either the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or Prince Charles.

Some years ago, I was working for a sculptor who had been granted a Royal Warrant for supplying the only sculpture to have ever been commissioned by Princess Diana, and this was a birthday present for Charles, in the form of a stone fountain for Highgrove. The fountain now languishes in a garden on the outskirts of Bristol, but that's another story - albeit a good one which casts a great deal of light on the Royal couple's deteriorating relationship at the time before Diana's death.

I have since made a birthday present for the Prince of Wales, but because it was commissioned by one of his mates, I got no Royal Warrant of my own for doing it. That's also another story.

Anyway, one very cold and frosty morning when I was working for the honoured sculptor, I was alone in his yard and attempting to shift a block of stone which weighed over a quarter of a ton, when it slipped and trapped all eight of my fingers against the frozen ground, leaving me bent double and unable to reach a mobile phone even if I had one, which I did not.

I remained in this position - in quite a lot of pain - for about five minutes, waiting for a passer-by who never came, so that I could instruct him or her on how to use a heavy quarry-bar to lift one edge of the block without dropping it back down sharply again before I had a chance to remove my fingers - this takes quite a bit more experience to do safely than the passer-by might have had.

I knew that the sculptor would not be back until late that night, so I had two choices - die of cold, or lift the block up using my fingers only. I chose the latter - unsurprisingly.

Some of you may not have heard this story before, so may be wondering why I put myself in this situation over and over again by not either employing someone, or not using lifting equipment for items that I handle every day which one human being cannot lift on his own. Well let me tell you, it has nothing to do with forgetfulness.

I used to have access to a five-ton forklift parked close by, but the owner of this machine is a fool who plays at being a sculptor, and now does not let me use his Tonka Toy without him being the driver.

He once promised to sell me a large, steel lifting-gantry which is just the right size for my yard, but then he cut it into small pieces and turned it into a 'sculpture' which nobody wants to buy.

He was probably inspired by Anthony Caro, who made a lot of ugly girder sculptures painted in garish colours, but the difference is that people did actually want to buy Caro's - well corporations did anyway.

I went to the same sculpture school as Anthony Caro, but the fool with the forklift went to no school at all.

31 comments:

  1. Funny you should mention FLT drivers today as I'm contemplating the best way to eradicate one of the factory eastern laddies....and he hasn't even heard of Sterling Moss!

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    1. I would have thought that 'eradicating' him might be a bit on the harsh side, but you know your job better then me.

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    2. Of course I meant to say 'educate' him, how remiss of me.

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    3. 'Re-educate' would be just as sinister.

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  2. Caro was a fraud and a jokester. I hope he made lots of money like some of the current art heros who probably admired him terribly terribly.

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    1. Paolozzi was born on 7th of March 1924, and Caro on the 8th of March 1924. Two Brit sculptors whose careers ran almost parallel. One I admire hugely, the other I don't. I wonder which will survive history?

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    2. You see what happens if you don't act like Mr Angry; no-one leaves comments.

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    3. I used to work for the man who made all Paolozzi's sculptures for him too. Wasn't he 'Eduardo' Paolozzi? Was he British? I didn't leave any comment because I have only just arrived home - after a hard day making sculpture for someone else...

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    4. EP was Scottish (like so many Italians).

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    5. Ah good. That fits in nicely with my next post.

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  3. You do know "they" make a hand cranked hydraulic jack that would reach into your car for the block to slid onto and me lowered. Not that expensive; probably four or five hundred dollars. I think you just wanted to vent about Caro.

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    1. Yes, we call them 'engine hoists'. I use them a lot, but I have yet to buy one. I am a sucker for punishment.

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    2. I wish you would buy one. I almost didn't post for fear of a rebuke.
      I have to tell you, there is a perfectly good hoist in the barn. My brother broke down and purchased it to get the engine out of his stupid Jeep Willis when he finally concluded he could not lift it himself and would never find anyone dumb enough to help him.
      Between your lack of equipment and John's lack of American barns I suppose I should consider my life very easy.

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    3. Do you know, Joanne, I think you have persuaded me to actually buy one.

      The reason I haven't already is because they have very small wheels which don't work too well on roughish ground, but - what the heck - I can change the wheels, can't I? Maybe 20 years too late, but it can be done.

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    4. Your're kidding.
      Thirty years ago I had my brother change out the hard rubber tires on the cart I used to dolly into shows. I bought four lovely inflatable tires at the junk store and he put them on. I even purchased swiveling tires for the rear end. I don't know much about levers and fulcrums and such, but I knew how hard I didn't care to work.
      Some time later I noted artisans using very expensive dolly/carts, Mag-Liners. Nice. But I couldn't bring myself to spend the money when I had a perfectly serviceable cart.

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    5. You are a woman after my own heart, Joanne.

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  4. You must have very good rear suspension.

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    1. I was thinking the same about you, Rachel.

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    2. Oh were you. My little rear would never be able to take the strain that yours does.

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    3. I think you're confusing me with John.

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  5. The more I read about your life style Tom, the more I wonder that you have never suffered from a slipped disc.

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    1. Although I am quite tall, most of my height is in my legs - I am very disproportionate in fact, and that is probably what has saved me from recurring back problems.

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    2. Having said that, my neck and shoulders are completely buggered, and I am in constant pain with them - BUT I'M NOT GOING TO MOAN!

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  6. Aren't squished fingers a bit of a hindrance in your line of work?

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    1. I seem to have been very good at protecting my digits - I have friends in the same line who have spatulated fingers as a result of crushing, but all my hands show are signs of arthritis.

      Look on the bright side - I have never been a concert pianist.

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  7. I wil ignore the arse comment
    But I need to highlight
    The words
    "I have since made a birthday present for the Prince of Wales"
    Never on another blog

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    1. Sorry about that, but you know me - I can't resist a cheap joke, no matter how much I love someone, as I do you.

      Re the birthday present brag, I am so vulgar that I would mention it. I have no pride, you see.

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    2. The arse comment was cheap
      But I was impressed by the HRH gift
      X

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    3. Both vulgar and unworthy comments! X

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