Velvet Kisses and Heartbeat Misses


Ste was my best buddy through childhood; we saw each other most days and sharing growing up with someone made life more vivid and colourful. At quite a young age I was allowed to walk back home alone from his house. This meant walking through two alleyways which were so scary in darkness I sometimes clenched my fists and added a sort of embarrassing “big balls” walk (which probably made me look as tough as scrambled eggs.)


Three or four times I passed a house neighbouring one of the alleyways and a couple were saying goodbye to one another via some hot snogging on the door step. They were old, dinosaurs, Battle Of Hastings - I mean ancient - probably about 25 years old - but it was the first time I had seen full frontal snogging. I has seen it a little on The Rockford Files or The Bionic Man but I knew it was acting. The man was taller so he stood on the ground and the woman stood on the doorstep. It was romantic stuff and I could tell by the way the big man walked to and got into his battered car he was the nice gentle giant type. Nowadays folk often seem to chew each other’s faces off like they’re bacon sandwiches but there was something tender between the couple. Even now when I pass that house I glance at the porch of that house and wonder if the couple are still together.


Romance didn’t run as smoothly for someone else though. I can remember exiting the second alleyway onto Kenyon Avenue and a man called me over. It was dark, cold, quiet, a late hour and nobody was around. “Could you do me a big favour?” he enquired. Oh no was he going to pretend he was bursting for a wee but his fingers were so numb with cold he needed someone to tug his manservant out of his pants?


Thankfully not. There’s a small cul-de-sac branching off the avenue and the man wanted me to walk up to a specific house and post an envelope through the letterbox. He had split up with his girlfriend and had written her a long letter. He mentioned the woman’s mother would go mad if she saw him walking up their garden path. I posted the letter and, even now, when I go up Kenyon Avenue I throw a glance at that house and wonder if the letter yielded success.


So, after boring you rigid for five minutes, I can only think this painting stems from seeing the couple kissing on the doorstep all those years ago. Once I went on a long weekend to Oxford and went for a walk one evening. I remember looking down into a basement flat and seeing a couple lying on a couch. The man’s top half was bare and there were chocolates on his bare chest. The woman leaned over and picked one off his chest with her mouth. I don’t think this would make for a nice painting so did the snogging one instead.


On the right I daubed a small painting on the wall. This is Mark Rothko’s “White Centre” which was bought by the Qatar Royal Family for $72.8m. If you like it I can spend twenty minutes doing you a copy for a paltry £5,000? Just let me know when you want it. I’ll even put a £9.99 frame on it for free.


No obstacles encountered painting this one but drawing circles freehand is difficult so I used a roll of tape.




Draw circle (using tape) and draw in lamp…









Who would have thought a couple kissing in the porch here would spur a painting over 30 years later?