Having very much enjoyed writing about living with a bike enthusiast, I feel it is only fair (being a Libra and someone whose name actually means fair*- they don’t get much fairer than me, whatever bike enthusiasts would have you believe), that I launch a light-hearted attack on the other half of this residential pairing. Here’s how to cope with living with an artist:
- Accept that every available surface that isn’t taken up with bike bits is covered in arty things, including things that are waiting to be transformed into something beautiful, such as my collection of eggshells that recently got thrown away because I failed to do anything with them and apparently it was unhygienic… (may they rest in pieces)
- If you care about your technology, don’t leave it out. Nothing is totally safe from the reach of jam jars full of water or turpentine
- Understand that you have no input over the decor. Every wall has a painting- usually of someone you don’t know but who had an aesthetically pleasing nose or an interesting expression that had to be captured, and you really have no choice about whether they go up or not because the artist is happy with them and wishes to be surrounded by their work whilst they create new and exciting masterpieces. (What’s that? You want to put up a bike picture? Nonsense. Let’s have a watercolour of a fox eating out of a bin.)
- Consent to living in inappropriate places. The flat you live in will have been selected for its large south facing windows despite having no central heating or even double glazing which you definitely decided you would never do again after last time, and even though the neighbour might not be your best friend and you have to carry your bike up and down the stairs and store them in the bedroom because there’s nowhere else for them to go, you keep renewing the contract because the oils on that canvas are still wet and can’t be moved. It’s just bad timing.
- Accept that the layman’s trash is the enlightened one’s treasure. There are strange objects everywhere that serve no purpose other than to look good/ interesting/ thought provoking. (-You: ‘Can we throw away the beer bottle with the string around it now…?’ -Me: ‘ What?! No! It’s there to lend a specific sort of laidback charm to the windowsill and that is wool not string by the way.tsk.’)
- Don’t be scared by mannequins. There will be a headless human figure hanging out in your bedroom with three legs and an adjustable bust (Hey Diana) that some might consider to be as frightening as a python look-alike in the bathroom cupboard… (Ok so at times she scares me too but then I turn on the light and it’s all ok. It’s not her fault she’s sort of peely either. She’s a relic)
- Stop trying to tidy ‘mess’. What’s that under the table? Oh an unfinished project. What’s that under the chair? Just an unfinished project. What’s that on the (you get the picture). But what are we meant to do?! Ignore our creative urges to embark on new exciting projects while the inspiration is fresh, in favour of finishing what we’ve already started? What are you- mad?!
- Do not query the fact that the bin contents appear to fluctuate without being emptied in the official way. Before anything gets put in the bin (or even after sometimes) it will be judged on its reusability credentials and possibly removed to an alterations/ craft project pile instead where it will sit for many months until it is sneakily removed and disposed of- but I DO NOTICE when things from my hoard get binned. Just so you know.
- Fully expect to have to climb over a paint covered chair and a precariously tilted easel before you can get into your wardrobe (ohh touché)
*I actually just checked what the name Jenny means and contrary to what I said earlier (and therefore contrary to what they told me at Brownies), it actually means ‘woman of white magic’ which I find equally fitting but not quite as useful for this particular point.