On Saturday evenings I'd often visited a pub which put on tribute acts on Saturday nights. There were the usual ones - Madonna, Freddie Mercury, Cher and Tina Turner (Tiny Turner as she was diminutive.) The Phil Collins ones stuck in my mind as being exemplary. If you looked away the man could have been the man himself singing (he'd even shaved his head.) I donít think Iíve seen or heard of a Phil Collins tribute act before or since.
One night I walked to the pub to see a police van parked outside. I ordered a drink and saw through the bar into the other lounge. It was a mess - blood on the pool table, smashed chairs and tables. The police were carting away a rangy bruised sweating man. Someone told me two brothers had been fighting. The man being carted away was the victor. The loser was awaiting an ambulance. I heard he was in the toilet cubicle. Being inquisitive I went to have a look and the police were trying to get over the cubicle wall. They asked me to come back later ďif you donít mind, sirĒ. I saw a leg poking out from underneath the door and some blood. I remember it shocked me - the way witnessing vicious fights in schoolyard did.
This happened over 20 years and yet I can still remember it. I thought Iíd paint it to exorcise the visual memory from my brain. Itís an unusual subject but Iím not one for painting dainty buttercups. Here it is, all blasted off quickly as there was little detail - a toilet door, a floor and a leg. I often wonder if the owner of that leg remembers that fight. Perhaps brawling was a regular thing between the brothers, perhaps he lost a couple of teeth as well as consciousness. Was the other brother charged with ABH? Were they so drunk they canít remember the fight?
Anyway, hereís the painting. I remember the man was wearing trainers and jeans but I painted a brown shoes and black trousers. I added a bit of shadow and dabbed in the blood and it was finished. For £6884 this could be yours. You could hang it on the wall in your lounge. You could bug the room, go to make a coffee for guests and guess how many minutes pass before they start whispering rather loudly, "What on earth is that THING on the wall?!". They may start calling round more to see if you still have it on the wall and this would enhance your friendship. Friendship is priceless or if it has a price it might be £6,884. I can mail it off tomorrow after my self-embalming class at college.