The last couple of weeks have been dominated by joints. Not a joint you may well once have enjoyed in the back of a punt on the Cam! This is a joint you travel to Rennes to collect, courtesy of a very smart French surgeon, Professor Thomazeau. I must confess I was only the chauffeur and general factotum. Where would I go for a joint, well I would go first to Bernard Meadows.
Now Bernard doesn't do it for me, not that I have anything against the Geometry of Fear, like spots, scabby bronzes were part of my adolescence, Kenneth Armitage rates highly with me and I enjoyed my time at Lypiatt Park. Meadows spent his life in the shadow of Moore and there were worse places to be. I have the same problem with Meadows that I have with Ted Hughes, none of it sits right, the imagery is so predictable, and a little bit borrowed. But it's worse than that, it's unreasonably personal and petty, but then in my experience that makes for the best kind of opinion.
The endless charming small wax sculptures that Bridge modelled, when not being cast in Fulham were bronze poured in the department's basement foundry by Roy, the Morris Singer trained technician, brilliant times.
Bridge also gave the gift of the wax to a young sculptor, Phil Kelly, who became a master of the material. I assisted in an artistic ram raid with a very nervous Bridge and Phil Kelly at the wheel of his Landrover. We liberated one of Bridge's sculptures from a large suburban garden in Birmingham, an unpaid bill I believe. This involved the inexperienced driver, Phil, tearing across lawns, careering through box hedges, ripping up flowerbeds, lassoing a poolside sculpture and making a sharp exit. It was almost an adventure too far for gentle Bridge, he was so out of his comfort zone. A bruised Venus lived out her days at Ufton.
But back to Bernard. He was Professor of Sculpture forever at the Royal College of Art. On the day of my interview his piles were playing him up. Anyway it was going to be fine because I had the magic wax all over my portfolio. To be fair my wax offerings were slightly more gothic than the St. Martins fare the other applicants were offering up. I might still have survived if Bernard hadn't suggested I was born out of my time! He thought the sixteenth century was about the mark. He took umbridge when I enquired if he and the great Henry had felt particularly Florentine when they had poured their little lead sculptures in Henry's kitchen? It didn't go down well, like a little lead sculpture really, and that might have been the end of it but for Bob Clatworthy.
AGED AND AWKWARD