We are born and born as human bodies. Human beings. Tiny little creatures and totally helpless. If we are not fed, bad luck!' what a shame. And we are all born with a very fragile set of arms, legs, noses and believe me: Toes, 'tenen' in Dutch.
Some time ago I told you how accidentally Michael Angelo,our bigger dog, bit my left big toe and I spent time in hospital. A few days ago we were walking the babies and I slipped on some thin mud and fell flat on my face, and the rest of my front part. I protected my nose, a little sore but not broken BUT my toe on my right foot got a beating. Now it throbs and every so often a sense a burning needle is stuck in that poor pink and blue 'final extension' of my corpus ! Rub it with Arnica tincture and let the dogs have a go too.
Never the less, it is strange and embarrassing in a way to tell you, I have as far as I know, never felt hardship or real pain. And no bodily disfigurements accept one little thing: my little finger on my left hand.
I was playing as a 5 or 6 year old one afternoon in Jakarta,Indonesia, with empty bottles. My parents were having their siesta. Anyway I was walking with the bottles and tripped and all but chopped my finger off. I went screaming with blood dripping down my body saying I had been bitten by a snake ! What a lying thing I was. The baboes, young Indonesian servant women were also shrieking. But that was all.
They stitched it back on, bar the tendon, and 'till this day it is small and unmoveable. But it did stick out and that looked strange, like a lady drinking a glass of Champagne.
I knew and know how to take the little one back with the other larger ring finger so not to be ridiculed.
Of course every child has had disappointments and fears, if not from the dark maybe for a school teacher with a temper or a big nasty dog barking . Fear for being called a 'sissy' with a little pinky and a huge nose. Otherwise I cannot think of much except one thing:
I fear Man. Human beings. The ones I don't know. And there are many.
Sometimes on walking to the shops with the dogs, I worry if 'that small group of people' at the end of the road or hanging around the bridge, are ok. This has led to a certain kind of evasiveness and cowardice.
I have never ever had a fight that involved fists or boots or whatever. Too scared.
Or too smart maybe ?
After all, I had to protect my nose. Certainly no guns or knives in my life. Unimaginable.
I don't feel comfortable in a pub or at most large meetings. Yet I was a barman in my own artists club the Haagse Kunst Kring.
And loved it. We opened at 7 pm and closed around 2 am and walked at three in the morning humming home.
But I am not shy, not at all. An emotion painters can do without I think. In a way I am a bit of a show-off. An exhibitionist or is that expobitionist ?
I am very aware that the people I mix with are safe, as safe as the bank of England, some would say. And take me for what I am: a nose with a tiny finger who paints pictures, bodies and bodies. Always with large noses and bald. Tit for tat !!!
As a kid I looked at the other tiny ,'creatures' with some distance. And so many kids too !!!
But then I was the arty farty one in the class. And a funny finger. Must I repeat myself so often ? Finger, nose,finger, nose, finger....no, enough is enough! No, things in life are never enough. This had lead to wars and starvation.
Yes, my nose. It was also always blocked and had it cleaned up 3 times as a kid at the ear,nose and throat specialist!!! Now my nose loves Otrivin, an anti congestion something. Always to be found wherever my bed is.
Shit, did I suffer the nose thing.'Paul, you'll never die because the last breath will be sucked back in by your huge nozzle ! And 'oink-oink', later I realised that was the noise a pig makes, but they have a short nose, no? I felt for Pinocio. But he was a fibber, I never lie.
Shit, my nose is growing.
Also I was a little effeminate and most certainly not the sporty type. Again that bloody little finger, the one that needed to be held back.
Or was I that held back, don't know. Was I needed to be held back. No.
As hard as I did try, and try I really did, I couldn't kick a ball in the right direction.
Often in school sport matches I was the 'paper boy', the one to carry the towels or hand the chalk for the scoring board.
But the fact was, I truly wasn't interested. I always loved my art and my art teachers and as far as I can remember I had great teachers, not so much for the learning of drawing but the sense of respect and encouragement they gave me.
At the 1st year in High school, the Johan de Wit Lyceum in The Hague, my teacher was the famous painter Jan van Heel who once looking at a drawing I made of a little boy sucking his finger and staring at a clown with a little girl on his lap: 'Paul, you can draw better than I did at your age. 10 is for God, 9 is for me and 8 for my best student. However, I give you a 9......
I know I have written about this before but why not repeat the lovely compliment. It made me float through the school !!!
I most certainly felt great doing paintings and my drawing of the week was often hung in the main hall behind a frame. The rest of my school marks were absolutely shocking. 2 out of 10 for algebra, geometry, Dutch/French/German and just a 7 for bloody English, for Heavens sake ! The language we spoke at home.
So I went to a more simple school, the Hanny Schaft MULO and again a great art teacher who actually taught me some things, some tricks, I still use today ! Drawing with a bit of broken wood and black Indian ink.
I had come to accept I was a little 'simple', well that is what I thought anyway. Not any more but I can be very forgetfull and vague.
Then the Royal Academy of Art where with another kid we were the youngest. Niet waar Jos? Jos Tigges, we still communicate. 16!!!
I didn't shave yet and was a 'pure' virgin. The others were noisy, some bearded, beer drinking, mostly guys talking about sex and cars and politics.Once a guy in my class, Ernst Nagel, said to me I was their honorary fascist.
That had something to do with the war in Vietnam. I hadn't gone to the demonstration in front of the American Embassy in The Hague etc. And I flew 1st class to Iran for school holidays. For crying out loud, my father was a hard working aircraft engineer and Shell always flies 1 St class. What else. But he was 'working' indirectly for that fascist pig Shah Reza Pahlevi.
Clemens'd dad was a good looking pilot also flying for Shell. And my mother loved him. Both practising Catholics.My father was more a Buddist.
'Till this day I still cannot drive a car and shave only every so often.The very first time I shaved was not with a razor blade but with a lit match. I burntthe blond fluffy stuff off. I was then 17 I think. And just about to lose my virginity.
So one had to shave, look clean and mean and other things I hadn't a clue of.
But I am still totally amazed by the bodies I see. When I wait outside the supermarket with our dogs for Clemens to do the shopping I cannot help but stare at all the fat bums, huge backsides people wobble around with. I try to see what rubbish they have in the plastic bags. Often they are shamelessly chewing chips or something. But I am far from perfect. Why tobacco.........
Fatness is an enigma to me.But now I am skeletal. Oh dear, I know I should be more tolerant. In Dutch we call them: Vetzakken.
Surely one can lose the extra weight. Let's face it, NOBODY left the internment camps overweight, the ones we had during WW2.
( that part of history makes me sick to think about. Fuck, what people did to each other!) Sorry, but I often say and think: Thank You God, I am not German. I wouldn't know where to look. But that is a very Dutch hang-up.
My last most beloved wife was Dientje and she, as Clemens mother too, had a stay in a Japanese concentration camp on Java during the war and food was for her something nearly sacred. At first she had to get used to my slight disregard or lack of respect with food and my talking my head off when she was eating. In silence she ate and total concentration. But I changed that a little but never, never were any food rests thrown away. Dien was also a vegetarian, as is Clemens and son Casper and now me. More or less. Every so often I forget.
Clemens prefers the term herbivore.
Gosh, what have I come to ? No beer, no cigarettes (liar) and no meat and I voted for the first time in my life. I wanted to vote for a Greeny but made a mistake and voted apparently for a right winged Fascist.
I have never known hunger or thirst in any way. Oh, for sure I can be 'starving' for a Mars bar or a caramel milkshake. Earlier on in life, to my detriment for sure, I starved for a few beers to many.
Three times in a rehab! Loved it there as I always ended up giving assistance in art groups to other addicts. Still write to one of the councillors Tracy, now a friend.
Drugs one inhales through a water pipe or so have never interested me much. A puff here and there but always accompanied with a cool glass of frothy beer. Now a cool glass ofgingerbeer.
Smoko gives me a numb nose, talking about noses, and beer a wet one.
Cigarettes are my weakness and I know it. I give it up more often than I can count to One, two, three, where is the lighter.......?. Usually after every cough. Now I have given up cigarettes again: two weeks and counting, and changed them for cigars and I wrote before: I know, I know. It's still tobacco. I read tobacco is good for only one thing: the brain. For the rest it is a killer.
But I do smoke Henri Wintermans Slims and I went to boarding school with his great grand son at St.Louis in Holland. Surely that must make it ok.......
It actually has printed on the packet:...The taste of these cigars is best enjoyed without inhaling the smoke.. Bloody difficult !
I am obviously making a little fun but fun of a loaded gun pointed at my head. Or lungs.
So back to looking at fat people, big noses, people sucking cigarettes, shopping bags full of cakes and also with a great pleasure: seeing beautiful colours. And my wrincles. Well, let's face it. I am now an old man with a large 'bumpy' nose !!!
The world is colourful. Red, blue and yellow and all the mixes.The opposite colours are Green, Orange and Purple.
I love being alive and I know things are certainly not perfect. I don't have any issues with religions but please leave me alone.
Unless you can explain Infinity.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things as they are, courage to change the things that we can and the wisdom to know the difference...........