A glint or a twinkle?
Whilst having a very pleasant dinner this evening with S, J, F and H (thanks to all for wonderful hospitality) the conversation turned once again (between S and I) to the the ‘cul de sac’ of irony. An issue, or plight, or predicament (thanks to Michael Phillipson for those terms) that some of us have been ‘struggling’ with (see, even here, I can't struggle with something unless I'm 'struggling' with it! ) in our various practices. There was a very pithy comment from S (I’ll project that one into the future and predict that S will return to this as a huge problem with his own observation as we have a coffee with E before a reading group tomorrow at the Lock-up at 10 a.m.) which was that he perceived, or felt a ‘vulgarity’ in a passion which didn’t have a glint in it's eye.
This struck me as profound for (at least) two reasons. Firstly, it made a terrible and disturbing kind of sense, it felt like a fact. Secondly (and this occurred to me a bit later) was that I found the application of the word ‘glint’ too steely and cold for my 'delicate' sensibilities (there it is again). I would have preferred a ‘twinkle’. Now, this thought reminded me of my late Dad, who most definitely pretty much always had a twinkle in his eye, especially when we were earnestly discussing pressing matters of art, sex, politics and/or Scrabble. The twinkle was the 'permission' which allowed us to move past 'ourselves' and enter the conversations and territories that as so-called 'normal' working class Mancunians (and lets not forget also men) might not have felt so comfortable negotiating. It allowed us to ask,"what does this feel like if I say this, or that, or think this or that, who do I feel like when I say or think this or hear this?".
As the default position of certain men of certain ages from certain areas of Manchester is to avoid at all costs any accusations of pretentiousness, this intimacy and openness felt (and still feels) like something of a relief.
Sometime ago in the studio, I had been thinking about this matter of the sincere statement
(through 'the lens of art' as S puts it) and I tried to think of what I considered to be one of the (probably pretty few) unequivocal sentiments in my life of which I could speak.
The simple declaration I wrote with a marker pen on an A1 sheet of paper was this.
I LOVE MY CHILDREN
At the time, I felt that although this statement was profoundly 'true' for me, it's very 'trueness' was put at risk by it's declaration from within the the realm of aesthesis. At the risk of totally overstepping myself, I figured that what might be at stake (for me) in this declaration within the sphere of art might be the very limits of language, that it marked a place of oscillation between ontological realms in which truth and art were opposed.
And yet, following on, thinking of the 'twinkle' in the eye, I'm now not so sure. Perhaps, I can declare my love for my children here and now through the lens of art, precisely because of a twinkle in the eye, and maybe, just maybe, that gives a possibility for a small path to be found at the bottom of the cul de sac, which leads down to the open meadow. If this were the case, considering this declaration of love felt between my Dad and myself, and my love for my Daughters, wouldn't it be really something if there had indeed been a cul de sac where I had lived as a child which had a path leading down to the playing fields known in local parlance as 'the Meds'?