Privacy, Peace, Paper - Perfect


When my mum was ill with cancer I ran her down to The Christie Hospital on the outskirts of Manchester many times. Often there would be patients standing outside the main door in their pyjamas and nighties with a bag and drip on castor wheels - sucking on cigarettes as though they contained chocolate-flavoured oxygen. Smoking while receiving treatment for lung cancer treatment – can you believe it.


Once I visited some toilets and emanating from one of the cubicles came a sound like a walrus with bronchitis in its final death throes – someone snoring. As nobody was around I bent my knees and shot a look under the door. A pug looked back at me quizzically – its owner sat on the toilet asleep. I wasn’t that bothered about him but – being nuts about animals – I thought the pug looked bored. I ran a tap or two and flushed the toilet in the neighbouring cubicle but the man still didn’t wake up. Again I put my cheek on the cold floor, looked under the door and made some tutting sounds. Immediately the pug lurched forward, started barking and ruined the man’s slumber. I rose and exited the toilets quickly.


Perhaps the pug inspired this painting….not sure. I’ve done three toilet-related paintings so far and cannot understand why they don’t feature more in paintings. Rich, righteous or royal you have to deal with waste every day and unchanging toiling terrific toilets take it all away. Why paint potted pert primroses when there’s a pounded porcelain to capture on the canvas?


I was going to paint a pug looking up but I look after my neighbours Shih-tzu dog Sam occasionally and took some plan-view photos of him. I was out walking him one day and got chatting with an old lady with an aroma of talcum powder about her. I must have mentioned the dog was a “Shit-zu”.

   “I think you’ll find ‘Shi-zoo’ is the correct pronunciation,” she corrected. Good on her.


Anyway here is a plan view of a man on a toilet reading a newspaper. It put up little resistance; no disaster to rescue. I’m not sure what the thing on the windowsill is – a jumper, cardigan – not sure - the man is wearing a robe so he wouldn’t need any clothes. I don’t understand nightclothes; you undress and flop into bed and dress the next morning after a shower. Nowadays you see people in supermarkets in their nightclothes. I saw one woman waiting at a till with an overhanging belly on show under a loose robe. She could have buried a Swiss Roll under it there was so much overhang. I would have taken a photo but the lady may have seen me and knocked me unconscious.






Okay here goes…



Need to pay my model…