is an abstract painting showing a woman with a large nose and the titles refers
to a backhanded comment about it. I’ve received some backhanded
comments in the past: “You look quite nice today – did you have a bath?” and
“Those cool corduroy pants will come back into fashion one day” and “A monkey
could do that job – even you could do it.” It was almost as bad as, “Just act
dumb – you know, just be yourself” Yeah…thanks.
The queen of
backhanded compliments is Chloe from the Chloe
& Co comic strip in the newspaper. She’s famous for her dizziness and
dry humour (she thinks cooking is a town in China.) She’s a twenty-something money-motivated single party girl and man-magnet.
Her friend is called Angela and is equally funny. She’s obsessed with fads and
diets and resents Chloe getting all the attention from men. Both have dished
out many backhanded compliments over the years. I remember in one of the
cartoons a man at a bar said to Chloe something like, “It’s terrific how you go
out in public with that nose.”
must have stuck in my mind and triggered this painting. I did it quickly. My
dad and Irene were out all day and I was minding Alfie
the hound. I propped up a canvas board on the easel and Goldfinger was just starting on
television. I’d been reading some of the Chloe & Co cartoons I’d cut out of
the newspaper. I wanted to get started and copied part of the cartoon. I’m
sure this board would like good in your bathroom and it can be on your wall for
the biggest nose I’ve seen was on a second-hand book shopkeeper in Ashton’s
indoor market. I used to take my mum shopping on Saturdays and when we split up
I’d say, “Meet you outside Conks at four thirty.” She’d know where to meet up –
outside the bookshop. Once I can remember being on a coach holiday and I shared
meals at the hotel with an elderly widow called Margery whose face features a
long large nose. It was embarrassingly long – she could have smoked a cigarette
while in the shower. As the days passed she told me she’d inherited her mum’s
sweet tooth and flat chest and her dad’s long legs and bad eyes. She didn’t
mention her nose thankfully but I remember thinking to myself “…and you’ve
inherited your parent’s noses – both
of them.” When she put some large glasses on to read the menu she looked like
she’s bought one of those clip-on glasses/noses kits from a joke shop (I’m sure
she could smell what was being cooked in the kitchen and didn’t need the menu.)
Margery is probably long gone but I still think of her when I read the Chloe
cartoons and see the long noses.
Here are some backhanded compliments I’ve read over
I’d meet him at night if I was you
then he doesn’t see all of you.
I really admire how you don’t care
how rough you look.
You’re so courageous to go out
You look really good when just the
lamp is on.
I’d like boobs like yours when I’m
older – only bigger.
I wish I could be as laid back as
you about big bits.
It’s okay for you; you so slim you
can get away with wearing cheap clothes.
If you were tall and slim that coat
would suit you.
It’s magic what you’ve done with
your bald spot.
You’re lucky you’re flat chested or
you’d look like a slut in that dress.
Your legs make up for that weird
accent you’ve affected.
I know you’re kind underneath…well
I’m guessing you are as I haven’t found it yet.
I’m glad you’re my friend. I
wouldn’t want to meet you in a back alley.
Well at least you’re a good dad.
It’s a good job you’re good at doing
You’re so useful – like a hammer.
Yes, it’s always better to be interesting
You look so healthy these days; I
hardly recognise you.
You must be really confident to
always have that “Just got out of bed” look.
The way you’ve covered up those acne
scars is great.
I wish I could be as direct as you
but I just try to get on with everyone.
At least your boyfriend doesn’t care
Your dress is lovely; it must have
been so difficult to get it in your size.
Your dress makes mine stand out so
I’d have my hair done like that if
it ever came back into fashion.
How early in the morning do you have
to get up to look like that?
Oh is this your baby….what a lovely
Try to be kind to grandma as we
don’t know how long you’ll be a live do we grandma?
You’re not a stunner but a good
I can’t tell if you’re just huge or
I feel better going out with you as
people will just look at your chest.
You look okay but you’d better just
eat celery tonight.
I like your dress. My boyfriend
would never let me wear anything like that.
I feel so classy when I go out with
You’re really lucky how your ears
diverts people’s attention from you face.
Half of your clothes look good.
I love your curves – like bends in
Finally you look as good as when I
first met you.
You look much better Instagram.
don’t look like you’d enjoy films where you have to think.
Not sure Daphne and Velma think…