There was an item on my To Do list that I had been hitching to tick for a while: the one to one with Mimi.
I often get to spend some time on my own with her hooligan brothers, but it had been far too long since the Mimzer and I had had some quality time together.
So we parted ways with the rest of the tribe. Mum took the boys to Seapoint. She was delighted. No really, she was.
And Mimi and I took the Sleeper train into town (town is any of the following stops: Pearse Street, Tara Street, Connolly Station)
Taking advantage of the fact that Mum and her southside bias were not part of the expedition, we went on a bit of a wander on the side streets of the northside, slowly making our way towards the Hugh Lane gallery.
Slowly because dad was taking photos, and many streets were dug up for the water, or the gas, or the optic fibre (in regular rotation and no concertation).
We saw some old style shop in the vicinity of the Amateur Cathedral (or was it the Pro?) The fact that they were closed on a Saturday afternoon was not a good sign. Business is tough in the clerical tailoring field. Particularly difficult now that the nuns all buy their frilly underwear online…
And gentlemen are thin on the ground these days, so not much outfitting to be done in that department either.
As for most cultural trips meant to leave an impact on an artistically-minded child, I am quite sure that what Mimi will remember most in years to come is the supersized can of Pepsi Max I let her have when coming off the Dart (or the sausage that the woman from FX Buckley offered her).
The fact that there was a whopping 33% extra free in the can did not make her extra generous and I had to literally beg to have a sip from time to time (that she qualified as being huge greedy gulps)
Once in the Hugh Lane gallery, she was very good. And we had the place almost to ourselves. We talked about the evolution of styles and tastes across three centuries.
She asked my why there was a lot of painting of nude people across the centuries.
The only explanation that I could think of is that for a lot of artists a boob is a boob, and painting a nude is a legitimate and arty validation for ogling boobs all day.
She was surprised to see a rather big painting of a horse that looked like it had been painted by a five year old.
I tried to explain to her that the whole point was the fact that it had not been painted by a five year old, and that when you are an adult, it is extremely difficult to recapture the freedom and immaturity and total lack of self-consciousness of a five year old, and that it takes years of discipline and exploration of the inner child to recapture this.
Or else you have to be extremely immature, and get atrociously drunk, to let go of all your inhibitions. Which a lot of artists do, because they are immature, and they love to drink loads after a long day of ogling boobs.
In the end she declared that she liked the painting of the horse, so some drunken immature boob-ogler did get something right (I liked it too, my second favourite behind a nice nude of a nice curvy girl with lovely boobs).
We saw a guy who seemed to be totally absorbed by what was going on in the Bacon Studio and I must say it really wetted my appetite (quite literally).
I wondered how many different techniques for making rasher sandwiches we’d discover in the Bacon Studio.
But first we spent a bit more time checking other paintings from the second half of the 20th century (the best, the one that saw me being born)
Her favourite was the one commemorating the Star Dust disaster (seen here in the background). She loved the colours and shapes. And all the coffins in the foreground.
We talked a bit about abstract art. How it is not meant to represent anything. That it is mostly about a sense of balance of shapes and colours that the artist found pleasing, and we found that some of them were oozing a satisfying sense of balance. And others were utter tosh.
She asked me how one became an abstract artist. The only reply that I could find was that they mostly had to be well connected, and that their parents have lots of friends who know people who know people.
We finally made it to the Bacon studio, and quickly got over the disappointment that not a single rasher sandwich was to be sniffed or drooled at.
We both totally loved it. I smiled at the idea that some poor bollixes had to photograph everything, and label everything, and box everything, and transport that artistic chaos to Dublin to recreate it there, perfectly identical to the original back in London.
Or they just shovelled all that shite in cardboard boxes, shipped it off, and then emptied the boxes on the ground once they got to their destination (somehow I’m quite sure that the more soul-destroying option of labelling everything was used…)
Anyway, Bacon loved his mess. Like me.
And he loved his Krug. Like me.
In my dreams.
I must say that the empty boxes of Krug thrown on the ground had me particularly captivated.
After the creative chaos of Bacon’s studio, we saw a great short slide show in a darkened room (I had a quick peak before bringing Mimi in, a bit of boob ogling is all fine but I have seen some more disturbing scenes in video installations in modern art museums – I’ll never be able to erase from my memory that video of hedge fund managers clinking champagne glasses after the signing of a contract).
Anyway this particular slide show was inspired, both in words and images, and the voice actor was brilliant. A lot more pleasant that the shite-in-a-loop that far too often gets undeserved exposure.
Back out in the real world, well… the north side, we took a quick wander to Moore Street, walking by the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, where Mimi breathed for the first time almost 8 years ago.
I love Moore Street. The noise and the colours and the mix and the banter.
And the very cheap lamb chops, oh yes, the cheap lamb chops.
Back through the side streets and dark alleys of the north inner city and we were back at the train station, after a couple of very pleasant hours. We’ll have to do it again Mimi. You were a great, interested, interesting little companion.
Pity you are so incredibly protective of your Pepsi and sour rings.
And we then caught a southbound sleeper train just in time to avoid some major agro from mum.