Ed Young's Diary
Wednesday, October 3
Upon my return from various dentists, oral hygienists and a single jaw surgeon appointment I am called in for a pint at Jo'burg bar. I make it to the bar. I have a draft and a smoke, reinstating the nicotine stains that were so painfully removed from my sensitive teeth. I am happy. Suresh Roberts says: 'Come to my talk.' I say: 'What talk?' Andrew Lamprecht says: 'The talk at Blank Projects.' I say: 'What talk?' They say: 'For Carrie Timlin's show'.
I break into a violent fit of Tourette's. I am dragged off to the 'Inchoate'. And yes, my suspicions are confirmed. How I long for the oral hygienist's drill. There were no invitations sent out. A small piece or two by Emil Papp was on display. Most of the walls are filled with the curators' individual works. I am at a loss for words.
But Jonathan Garnham should catch a wake-up. With the plethora of ongoing substandard exhibits, this project should have been nipped in the bud as soon as it aimed for a downhill. At least Carrie's mom made some snacks. And Garnham's wife is hot.
I am not going to go into the problem of Suresh opening yet another strange exhibition (although his speech was funny and witty and he wanted to get out of there as soon as I did).
We leap into my car, slam on the gas and head for greener pastures. Suresh and Linda Stupart have some sort of conversation about gag reflex or something. Shocked at the level of discussion, I virtually get us killed in a violent and unnecessary epic car accident entitled The escape from the Inchoate. Suresh says: 'But if I... (hesitates) ...die, how will I explain this to my mother?'
Bridget Baker's show looks super slick... refreshing. João Ferreira looks chuffed. But people are not very friendly. Not even Bridget. I am approached by attendees arguing that they don't get it. Some say they don't like it. I explain that you need to know the history and the context to fully grasp the work. They say that I am full of shit and leave. João produces another box of wine and I stay. Unfortunately I am left with an extremely inebriated Jake Aikman, whose only concern in life is my parking skills. The night goes bear-shaped. Some theorists get sensitive. I go to a bar. I end up with an even more inebriated Barend de Wet, who explains to me how much he loves urine.
I make my sweet escape.
Thursday, October 4
Avoid getting fired from ArtThrob and finish my overdue articles, pay the bills and comfortably sidestep people I owe money to.
Friday, October 5
I awake up at 5am. Go under the knife. The anticipation makes me realise what must have gone through the mind of a young Jesus Christ while carrying a piece of wood up a steep mountain. I stay with my mommy for the remainder of the weekend who lovingly feeds me a healthy diet of KFC mash and gravy and J&B whiskey. The week goes to a delicate waste.
Sunday, October 7
Dive to Bruce Gordon's house to watch the rugby. I can't remember who played. I get a bit tipsy and the Myprodals are not helping. I end up in a karaoke bar with all my friends. Crazee is there and seriously annoying me. I am sending a text message when Crazee makes funny gestures at me. I snap and launch the cellular telephone across a crowded room. I was always bad at cricket but this one hits her in the mouth. She runs to the bathroom. I am shocked by my actions. I run to the bathroom. There is blood everywhere. I ask Sam, the bartender, for ice. It's not working.
I take Crazee to hospital and a few stitches are applied to the mouth area. I have limited funding and spend my last cash on medical issues. Crazee and I move back to the karaoke bar and sing happy songs.
Wednesday, October 10
I leave with artists David Scadden and sensitive theorist Andrew Lamprecht to go see the opening of failed artist Colin Payne at 34 Long. The doors are closed. It was yesterday. We book a table at KFC for an 'Extreme Burger Meal'. We are all very happy.
Mr. Scadden and I go to a bar and the rest becomes a blur.
We end up at my hotel room and some insensitive individual invites Zavick Zaroff Botha - the hippy artist from the Scalabrini Centre who has moved into the studio next door to us. They really irk me. And I really don't want them in my space - and really don't want him in my hotel room. I ask what he does and he says he just moved into a studio next door to me in my building. I laugh and ask if he is from the Scalabrini Centre. He says yes. I ask him politely to get the fuck out of my house. He gets angry and leaves. David Scadden has my back. And then we spoon.
Thursday, October 11
Teaching. Day job. I see my neighbour. She laughs and tells me that Zavick wants to fuck me up. We have a chuckle. I take my photography students to the Labia. We discuss publishing and professional behaviour. We all get a bit trashed in the first African sun of the season. French actress Melodie Abad has just moved down from Paris, for good. We have a beer. Artist Dan Halter just got back from Brazil. And he is speaking like a Mexican for some reason. We go to the 2666 studios for a Caipirinha party and the whole thing gets out of hand.
Andrew Lamprecht gets stuck in our staircase and gets rescued by a hard-working Zavick Zaroff Botha. Zavick asks Lamprecht to please tell Ed Young that he is going to fuck him up - so much for Christian hippy morals. I think he is just a bit on the not-so-bright side.
The Caipirinhas run dry.
I go to dinner with two hot actresses but am only able to suck on some slap chips as my mouth still hurts from jaw surgery. I grab a cheap cab and drive Melodie home. The cab driver thinks that we are French and takes me on a bit of a detour. My accent is a bit funny for a South African and the cabbie does not believe me when I tell him he took the wrong route. I ask him to let me out. He tells me that he will take me to the cop station if I don't pay. I say sure. We get to the cops' place and they want to put me in a cell for the evening, over ZAR50. I laugh. They get more angry. After an hour or two they realise that the cabbie has been lying and that I should not be imprisoned. All the pigs are on the 'phone in the office to the cab company and I am alone with Mr. Cabbie. He threatens me. I say to him that he did not just do that. I tell Mr. cop and he asks if I want to press charges and put Mr. Cabbie in a cell for the night. I say no. But the cops advise me not to leave immediately because of the threat and offer to escort me to my studio. I say it is fine and walk to my studio.
Arrive there at 1am. Have a little chat and beer with musician Felix Laband. Doug Gimberg wakes up from his slumber in the residency unit. We wallpaper a 666 logo onto Zavick's door. It's juvenile and childish but lots of fun. It is promptly removed the following morning.
Friday, October 12
Wake late. Go to studio, procrastinate. Run off to Early Friday. This week's theme is 'The Most Chilled Early Friday Ever'. It is. There is no one there. But we take full advantage. Dan Halter and I run off to Bob's Bar and Bistro, for some bangers and mash. We spot failed conceptualist and painter Matthew Hindley. He is with painter Pete Eastman. And Pete is looking boring as usual.
David Scadden arrives. He brings my lost car keys. I also realise that I had lost my house keys. Dave walks up to Matthew Hindley to say hi. Matt gives Dave the up down and asks him why he is speaking to the 'High Rollers'. Good one Matt. Dan and I join the conversation and Matt gets weird. I think he should stop speaking to Pete. Matt looks a bit silly. Dave refuses to hit him. I take notes for my new book entitled What Is Wrong With Peter Eastman.
I leave Dan. My 'phone is dead. My keys are lost. I try and consummate my love with my ex-girlfriend. I get ditched. I have nowhere to stay. I walk to her apartment but she is not there. I walk to Dan's flat. His roommate opens the main gate for me but refuses to open the front door. I have a seat on the staircase and contemplate my loneliness. A second year student neighbour offers me a bed. I take it. They are very sweet.
Monday, October 15
It's my birthday. And not a very happy one. A bunch of friends come over and chill on my balcony. The day is nice and sunny. The combination of alcohol and heavy painkillers proves very interesting. I nap later and head off to my party at L/B's lounge. The art world is there. Apart from trying to pick up Emma Bedford I have little recollection.
Back at my hotel room I am rudely woken by the rave ring tone on my Nokia 3210. It is painter Trasi Henen. She is drunk again and shouts at me but I remain calm. Apparently she was shouting at everyone at my party and made one first year student year cry. I finally get her off the 'phone and I sincerely hope that she moves back to Johannesburg.
Friday, October 19
We are privileged to have UK theorist Jean Mathee in our studio. We work on a presentation for an inaugural lecture series happening in our studio. It's a hard day's work but worth every minute. Jean delivers a groundbreaking and extremely personal talk, based on Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida. Some interesting questions are raised. Following the talk, we make a braai for the guests. We round up some cash and as usual people are reluctant to contribute. I slave away in the studio kitchen making some pap - a delicate procedure. Many hungry mouths lurk and I tell them to fuck off. They do.
After eating, everyone leaves. I sit in the lounge with Kathryn Smith, Christian Nerf, Linda Stupart and a first year student who will remain anonymous for legal reasons. We have a very interesting conversation about this particular diary, discussing what the consequences would be if I had to tell you everything. Smith and Nerf leave as it is getting late. Stupart and unnamed stay. The conversation gets intriguing. As usual, the artist formerly known as Crazee arrives and demands access to the studio. She finds her way in. She glairs at Stupart. As this has little effect she starts crying. I get irritated. I had a long day.
Crazee asks me to tell her to leave if I don't want her here. I tell her to leave. She cries more and tells me that I don't understand her art. Stupart and unnamed leave the studio. I tell Crazee that I need to be by myself and that I am tired. She says no. I lock up the studio in any case. I get physically abused in the street and the rest is embarrassing... The sun says hi.
Saturday, October 20
SA wins the Rugby World Cup, though I was shouting for and betting on England. It's almost as exciting as Penny Siopis' new exhibition at Michael Stevenson. Prior to this event, I was seen having a pint with Bruce Gordon at Jo'burg bar. Gordon invites my artist friend Kitty to join us for a braai and rugby at his place. Kitty is pretty trashed and I decide to drive.
Andrew Lamprecht and I make a braai.
Sue Williamson is back from her travels to far off lands. The stories sound amazing and she has made her famous chickpea salad. The kick-off sets a pace and South Africa is looking good. Kitty decides that she does not like rugby and causes a scene. I feel a bit embarrassed and go see her outside. I decide that I will drive her home and go watch the rest of the game at the Kimberley in town. I am parked in. At the risk of the embarrassment of asking everyone to move their cars during the World Cup finals I plead for Kitty to stay for the duration and just have a few drinks. She storms out. I decide not to care.
Kitty decides to walk back to town from Newlands, and though it is a bright idea to jump an SAB truck, in the section between the motor and the carriage, in the hope that the truck might be heading to town, it might need rethinking. Luckily she misses. She gets robbed of her mobile phone while speaking to David Scadden, who is attempting to VJ at a strange party. Scadden gets worried. Kitty is picked up by the cops and they offer to take her home. After a few minutes in the cop car, Kitty thinks it wise to jump out of a moving vehicle as the cops are 'evil'. She proceeds to attack the closest car in sight. Tyres screech. Kitty somehow manages to locate a cab nearby and gets dropped at home and is unable to pay.
I finish the game; have a drink with Mr. Gordon and Sue Williamson. I drive my car to the Kimberley. I get bored and leave the party around 2am. During my short stroll home I receive a 'phone call from my neighbour asking for Mr. Scadden's number. I say that I will be there soon. I arrive and they tell me that Scadden is concerned about Kitty. I explain that she had been with me and that I let her go on her own. Everyone freaks out. We drive to her house and no one is there. We decide to drive to Jo'burg and ask Gypsy the bar lady if she has seen Kitty. The streets are chaos and blocked off by the cops. I manage to find a way through and park. Patriotism suddenly turns into a riot of pickpocketing. We leave and find Kitty's car. I am in constant conversation with Mr. Scadden but unaware that he is also involved in a violent barfight in which a friend was beaten with a plank and left bleeding on the pavement.
We track down Kitty, asleep in her room. It could have been bad. I need new friends.
Sunday, October 21
I rise late and get a call to go to Lola's café. My artist friends are there. I arrive and am called gay. Fine. Only to find out that artist Dan Halter is shouting at everybody and calling them gay. This carries on for a few hours. I film this for my and Christian Nerf's No Problem in Africa project. We finally have our Rhodesian subject. But after a while it is not funny anymore, and after Halter has insulted Scadden's girlfriend a number of times, he decides to launch a glass of G&T into Scadden's face. He has obviously had a stressful evening and rightfully smashes Dan's head into the table. The mood turns sour.
Monday, October 22
Arrive at an opening at the AVA for good Spier wine. I can't remember what the show was. We end up at the bar and Crazee glares at us. I decide to sit at the bar rather. I eventually end up at the booth next to the door with Linda Stupart. I hear a loud bang. I turn around and see that an old friend of mine has rammed the door and the bouncer is holding her by the arm. I have not seen her in years and exit said bar to see what the commotion is about.
I try to speak to her, this only to be reciprocated by a heavy blow to the stomach. I collapse onto the tarmac. I recover and re-enter bar. Within minutes we see a considerable number of cop cars trying to arrest my friend. I remove myself from the bar... again. I first speak to my friend. It turns out that she had escaped from a mental institution where she had been treated for the last few months, and she had modified her ward gown into a fantastic skirt. The cops threaten to arrest her as she makes little sense. I explain the situation and the cops reckon I should take her home before they lock her in a cell. I shove us into a taxi and head home. After a shower and some tea and discarded clothing over my balcony, I offer a T-shirt and a pair of my panties. I am woken up with a five-hour monologue and eventually lose it. My friend has no clothes so I dress her in a pair Levi's and send her on her way. She used to be a fantastic artist.
If I had to tell you the truth about this week I would have to kill you.
Friday, October 26