3 hours ago
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.
Posted by Tom Stephenson at 03:19