7 Perhaps it was coincidence, perhaps not, but when Malcolm returned to London it was Frieze week.

To the uninitiated, this is the week when the majority of the worlds art glitterati, socialites, PWPJ’s people without proper jobs and collectors land in London. The Dorchester, Hilton and Claridges are filled to the brim with the travelling Nuevo elite many of whose life is one long party. After London they travel to Paris for Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, FIAC, then its off to Art Basel Miami Beach, which is a bit confusing as Basel is in Germany but they’ve already been to the real Basel in June. Cheeks are kissed, two or three times depending on which gallery or country you are from and how well you know the person. Special coffee is flown in and VIP wining and dining overflows with hopefully trickles of pounds, euros and dollars ending up in gallerists offshore accounts. Gossip focuses on who’s thrown the best party. There are champagne breakfasts; chauffer driven artworks (well, BMW’S spray painted with artist designs) branded give away gifts and gritty east end art tours. Organisations fight for the precious time of the art connoisseur. If you are really important you will be given a VIP access all areas pass which grants you entry into London’s finest and most exclusive establishments. This year however the Americans and many others are apparently staying away - blame it on the economy thought Malcolm. In the past, Malcolm had been actively involved in this weeklong melodrama after telephoning the organisers and convincing them he was a famous celebrity who collected art. The blag primarily worked because the VIP pack was being sent out to a five story seven bedroom Georgian period property that his friend had recently inherited. It’s exclusive address and £2 million price tag certainly made the VIP consultant’s ears perk up. Three years later and Malcolm wasn’t really interested in the whole shenanigans anymore, both he and his regular accomplice Thane were getting older and the fair itself had peaked; the artworld was now on a bit of a downward spiral. In fact most things were on a down ward spiral due to the sluggish

read Thanes email. She wasn’t as beautiful as her profile picture suggested but she was a contender for the best pair of legs that Malcolm had seen and slept with. It would be pointless asking Hilda unless he wanted to return by 9. Thane was jealous of Malcolm’s carefree flowing lifestyle.’ Her photographs were delightfully playful and in between temping as a Secretary for Shell she was an aspiring artist. petite with mousey blonde hair and pale skin.” There was an obvious tension between the two men.economy. “I’ve got an invite for a party if you are free. Frieze week 2010 had a new tie in partner. slim. “Cool. Mary was Malcolm’s first official myspace crossed over into real space friend.” That’s the spirit. only twenty minutes away. I’ll just phone in sick. Irish. Someone who appreciates the rarity of these invites. It was a Tuesday evening when Malcolm received an e-invite in his old ‘celebratory’ email account the one he’d set up with the famous celebrity’s name. She’d recently moved to the Wick. She’d moved to the capital from some tiny countryside village in Southern Ireland and was always up for a party. Occasionally Malcolm wouldn’t be available It would be a shame not to go. Malcolm was jealous of Thane’s money and structured life. and it was . Thane would take invites for granted. all that free alcohol and food. The postal service had unintentionally timed their strike to coincide with Frieze. I’m not really in a party mood at the moment. She was a social animal and almost everything was ‘grand. Malcolm would blurt. if it clashes. he thought. “The food alone would have cost you £80.30. He failed to acknowledge the detective skills of his best friend.” said Malcolm as he bumped into her one morning on his way to get a newspaper. the least you can do is pay for a taxi. Which was understandable. Okay I’ll ask Mary. It wasn’t Gucci or BMW but Royal Mail. when is it? I can make myself available. he thought.

“Bus it is then. She was casually involved with a tiny French lesbian called ZeeZee. He’d empty the contents of his Gant wallet . It could be fun. which he’d eventually found in a charity shop parallel with Oxford Street. Taxis home however had to be paid for. Everything was free at these events.purchased for half price because of a tiny mark on the inside of the leather. okay. he would travel light. Perhaps we’ll fancy the same girls? “My bike’s been stolen so we’ll have to get the bus. Mary however was a different kettle of fish. The principle was working. Email me the details. she said. an Irish stew or another hearty time filled dish. It was a mild October evening when they made their short walk to get the 388. At present she was going through a lesbian phase and Malcolm hadn’t really partied with her since she’d been into girls. The racer’s with Eric. Malcolm wore his new blue corduroy jacket. He’d take his Visa credit card and a £20 note. She would also offer to take photos of his art for him.” Unless you’ve got a spare one? No.to attend an event and Thane would want to use the ticket to impress some new girlfriend he was seeing.” “Oh. For a while she’d disappeared off his radar and was always ‘busy’ . The 27 year old had returned in her own words. as a fully-fledged ‘muffin muncher’. Malcolm thought. or £40 if he was going into central London.most of the time hanging out with “Annie’ the butch lesbian who lived down the corridor from him. Mary was made up with mascara and red lipstick bringing her beauty into . She was always grateful and would either cook him a thai green curry. The luxury wallet was purchased with the intention of attracting more money into his life.” If Malcolm thought it was going to be a decadent night..

Checking the date.anyway. If she were a picture in his iphoto collection then the enhanced button had been pressed. He put his hands into his trouser pockets to check for his ventolin inhaler. Malcolm peered down. If there were such a thing as European geisha’s. He checked his inside pocket. “What for?” “Blind Date. It must still be in my wallet. There on the ground next to his feet was a travel card. There was a big Andy Warhol exhibition at the Hayward and I couldn’t afford to go…. I remember when I was going to Thane’s birthday party….” he said “how cool is that? It’s todays. I received a letter in the post from London Weekend Television saying that they wanted me to come down for an audition. I’ve got some loose change if you need it. I’ve forgotten my oyster card. It’s like the universe is supporting you.” “Really?” “Yeah. He bent down to pick it up. It wasn’t there. They paid my expenses and the best bit was the metres away from the Gallery. a researcher visited my gym and she’d sent off a photo of me. Reaching the end of the pavement he pressed the small circular button of the traffic lights. said Mary. But the best one was when I was 19 and still living at home.” They continued walking.full focus. I love it when that happens. “Shit.” “Grand.” The lights remained red. They should do.” “Yeah. “Look. she was one. Do you think they will let me on the bus with this £20 note?” “I don’t know.” replied Mary. he asked me to bring him four quiches and when I went into the supermarket they had a two for one offer on. “ “So did you go on the show then? TV studio was .

one of which was housing the dance floor was yet another of London’s hidden gems. The party chugged along in second gear it seemed to be suffering from wet spark plugs. not as opulent or impressive as previous opening parties but the venue was still a place to impress. The creative workspaces were a marketers dream. Hilda would be impressed.” The lights changed colour. suffering from a minor headache. gin. found the venue and had their first round of drinks. She used it as a substitute for sugar and honey. . Their kitchen cupboards were full of agave nectar. White candles were flickering away. combined with the nearby draped material it was like the set of some 80’s romantic pop video. Fortunately Thane wasn’t present. tiny bacon rolls and as much wine. they wanted me to make an idiot of myself didn’t they. wholegrain and crusty breads. risk assessment character would come into play. Hilda loved nothing more than burrowing her nose in the plant after a hard days work on the children’s ward. “they’re all organic.a blend of peach. The restored Victorian warehouse with its ten metres high skylight studded ceiling and a pair of vaulted brick arches .” “Yeah. guessing that it was probably lighter than his usual full-bodied red. Malcolm.“Nah. There were canapés. They caught the bus. Mary had the cocktail . beer or cocktails as one could consume. French cheeses. opted for white wine. his Health and safety. Village Underground described itself as ‘an evolving project building’ Malcolm understood this to mean it was flexible and could cater for lots of different clients. It’s USP and what made it different was having ex underground tube carriages placed on its roof. something like that.” added the waiter.” “You were obviously meant to go to the exhibition though. Many of her raw food recipes demanded it and basil happened to be one of her first loves ever since her grandmother had helped her to make basil pesto and basil lemonade with herbs plucked from her extensive garden. agave nectar and basil leaves.

In front of him stood a fifty years old male artist he recognised. in his black designer suit.The DJ played mashed up versions of familiar songs. surrounded by female assistants and young starry interns.’ In his slick. There was the ex musician turned art dealer. ‘famous. A man. His drink was a chilled bottle of beer. witnessing people treading on eggshells and trying not to upset this mini diva. sharp fitting black suit he was coolly making brief staccato movements. as his daughter. Can you believe that?” “Really?” Malcolm was trying not to add fuel to artstar’s myth. twice her age was taking a shine towards her. Her presence would affirm he was ‘hip’ and ‘with it. I only talk about me. Artists were rich now so didn’t need to attend and the celebrities had moved on to another fashionable fad. It had been a while since he’d danced. It was only his dance that gave him away. She flaunted her jewels. Malcolm was simply pleased that there was space on the dance floor and that there was a decent beat for his feet. In the middle of the dance floor Mary swayed. He was dressed and dancing like he was being electrocuted. Perhaps he’d like Mary as his pretty party escort and hire her for the week. who’d admitted to Malcolm in one of the fifth gear parties that he was ‘winging it. logo free baseball cap and converse trainers looked like a famous gay popstar. When she noticed him talking to. artstar’ she decided to flaunt a little more. “Why didn’t he say I was an artist?” “Maybe cause she gets jealous? Or she’s the only one who’s allowed to be the artist?” He was tired of art world ego’s. “Perhaps it was so she wouldn’t suggest a threesome?” . His pores were dry.’ “Guess What? He introduced me to Macy……she changed her tone of voice before adding. The crowd was attractive but nowhere near as international or famous as in previous years. The more than middle aged American.

The 24 hour bakery was legendary. I fancy a beigel and a coffee. butted in Mary. Do you want to come?” “Nah… I’m ready for my bed.” No. Fortunately for Malcolm it was on his way home. two rounds of bread and cheese and three other cheesy bread things. and about eighteen dances later Malcolm tried to drag Mary home. said a drunken Mary.” “Well it does happen you know. The time was 2. Well I might see you tomorrow. Both offers were turned down.am and the show was over. He’d had his fifteen minutes of fame when a famous art critic had visited his exhibition and wanted to be introduced to the mature student in the black leather jacket and with dyed auburn hair. drenched in sweat shirt. washed down with a coffee and two sugars would help him on his way. People travelled from all the corners of London to get a salted beef beigel with mustard. A Salmon and cream cheese beigel followed by a piece of cheese cake. It was time for bed.“Is she bisexual. “A few of us are going for a drink at ‘artstars’ local. however the male critic had other ideas. I missed out because I wouldn’t bum some art critic. The 38 years old was getting cold. Eight glasses of wine. Ordinarily he’d buy a couple of croissants to take home for the following days breakfast but having overloaded on the carbs. But she wouldn’t expect him to sleep with his daughter. earlier. a damp.” This was Malcolm’s favourite story about why he was not an artstar. he decided not to. The heat of the dance floor had offered its parting gift. Polish style. six small bacon butties. They were ideal for soaking up intoxicants. “Ok then. would she?” “You’re gross.” Beigel’s were a late night ritual for countless individuals who happened to find themselves peckish at this late hour. Malcolm naively thought they’d discuss art. which was now clinging to his chest. said Mary?” .

He looked up again. I don’t believe it. sharing the networks with the odd night bus and taxi.” With no bike. Love was made for you. a canal pathway and then he could jump over the fence and take the shortcut through the park. He loved this time of the day .3.“ It was all so depressing. Have a beautiful day or I really like you or even something a bit more poetic. It was a time for thinkers and contemplators and alcohol certainly made the experience more fruitful. There was a silence and emptiness in the air. And watch you don’t lose your mobile again!” “As if. Approaching the pathway that led to the canal he noticed a banner hanging from a lamppost. fewer stimulants to distract the mind. If he were rich he would go full steam ahead with his idea of purchasing advertising space to say. it was probably because he spent so much time alone in his studio. Would it be possible to do an . “What a bloody waste.” For a moment he contemplated climbing up the lamppost to pull it down. The journey involved a long main road. “As if gcse ‘s prove anything. GCSE results are improving 4 times faster in this borough than the national average. “war is over.” Malcolm had a habit of talking aloud.“Play safe. Unhindered in his cycling movements there would be no one to correct or punish him. statistics and accountability. He could cycle wherever he pleased. It would be similar to what his birthday brother John Lennon had initiated with Yoko when they rented billboards to wish everyone in New York Happy Christmas.am when most people were fast asleep and the morning hadn’t yet arrived.” Malcolm would have no agenda other than being nice. a redundant travel card and a belly full of beigel and cheesecake Malcolm walked home. Whilst a student he’d regularly cycled back from late night parties and private views slowing down as he past such landmarks as the House of Commons.Tower Bridge. “Fucking hell. It was a time for poets and magic. the western world was obsessed with results. Buckingham Palace and his favourite . “God what will they think of next? He continued talking.

as there was plenty of stacked up flats. well . Leaves lay on the grass and the pathways.snow wasn’t guaranteed but autumn guaranteed masses and messes of leaves to kick around and run through. He sat down on a bench and stared at the leaves on the trees. they simply surrender to the unknown. Everything dies and we are no different. floating to their next chapter. They seemed to fall slower at night. Autumn was also a constant reminder of death even if it was packaged in a beautiful way. The canal was the best and safest place to do this. Malcolm had seen a rather scraggy looking fox walking with a limp. He liked this idea and tried to live by it. sprawling themselves out on the bench. they crunched and spoke and even reminded him of hand lotion after some advert was made featuring dry skin and falling leaves. summer focussed on the sun and sky. Malcolm fantasised about someone saying. One by one they fall. It looked as though a car had hit it. In this hour there were only one or two lights switched on. On the canal pathway he engaged in his hobby of looking into people’s homes. In front of him he could see another fox approaching. he thought. The growth of spring was subtle. And if they were that keen at least he would have a head start on them. they don’t fight or resist. One or two of them had stopped midway on their journey. They were everywhere.advert on TV he wondered? And if so. The owners were hardly likely to swim across and punch his lights out. As he’d climbed into the park ten minutes earlier. Autumn filled the park. He thought of how the season reminded him of the ground. as though they’d avalanched from the sky. His guru Osho used to say that leaves never ask when to fall. why had nobody done it before? That would be fantastic. The biggest leaves were from the conker trees. winter. do you want to come in and have sex?” But it never happened and if sex were on offer it would probably be with a man. “Hey. most of them on the opposite side. He loved foxes but it wasn’t until he moved to London that he managed .

It was too slim and graceful to be a dog. Initially. It was like when he’d had his first flotation tank experience and his senses had nothing to attach themselves to. It didn’t match with stories of them biting off the heads of chickens. This was the closest he’d ever been to a living fox. Perhaps it had never been so close to a human being before. For a few seconds his mind was startled. It began to circle him. And then he realised. it’s a dog. alert and fluffy. He couldn’t make sense of what he was seeing. Malcolm wondered if he should scare it away so it didn’t get the wrong idea about humans being friendly. . but much bigger. its a cat. nothing to feel. with his hounds and his horns at the break of the day. to hear . Or no.” he spoke to the fox. it was graceful. he wondered? It came closer towards him.’ since he was a young child. He knew this because he’d been ‘kenning John Peel in his coat so grey. The fox looked. That Thursday evening in July he realised how privilege d he was to be so close to a fox. He could hear it sniffing. It looked more like a cat. it must be a fox. “Ah.” He’d grown up believing foxes lived in fields. It glanced upwards. It was young and as clean and fluffy as any domestic pet he’d seen. He decided just to embrace the moment. It was about midnight and Malcolm had caught the last tube home back to Acton Town when he noticed an animal coming towards him on King Edward’s Drive. Its nose was moist. The fox looked back. Malcolm remained seated. Would a fox attack a human. He looked into its eyes. there. What was in front of him? Yes. Nothing to see. Malcolm was born in the land of the famous huntsman and sung the catchy song in each of his schools. obviously it wasn’t going to talk back. “Hello. The animal came even closer. he wasn’t sure what it was. would it bite me.to see one.no stimulus at all. a leaf was falling. He resisted putting his hands out as a friendly gesture. If only he’d bought those croissants. They lived in the countryside. The fox that was approaching him in Victoria Park was no different.

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