To the Foreign Correspondents Club for a hastily convened meeting of the Hong Kong League of Gwailos Not Related to Kate Middleton – a select group of just eight people who have successfully buried any evidence of third cousinship twice removed or similar genetic linkages to the supermarket checkout woman-lookalike getting married to Prince Whichever at whenever it is supposed to take place. In London, isn’t it? We are sure of that, at least.
To my delight, we find we have even more in common. None of us has ever seen the film Titanic, putting us in an even more exclusive club than the paucity of blood ties to the latest, sadly unappealing star in the soap opera that is the British royal family. And as if to further enhance an already unattainably elite status, a show of hands reveals that not one of us has ever visited either the Great Wall or the Angkor Wat, nor has the slightest desire to. Is this not the crème de la crème de la crème of discernment?
But wait! There’s more!
Out of courtesy, I give everyone a preview of the publicity materials for that exhibition, including invitations to the opening on the evening of Thursday, May 12…
Inevitably, my fellow members of the privileged few ask me who will be there. “Just about everyone,” I sigh, reeling off a list of prominent and distinguished appreciators of the category of work I like to call ‘this sort of thing’, and not mentioning a few less salubrious names who are planning to turn up. “But,” I add, “not me – I don’t think I’ll be there. Barely, at most.” The other seven all nod their heads in agreement. Wouldn’t be seen dead there, they all agree.
As part of the preparations I recently signed the works. These are prints – on very superior, heavy, glossy-but-not-glossy paper – each to be sold as one of a limited edition of 10. Thus they have 1/10, 2/10, 3/10, etc, written in the corner, allowing lucky owners of the first few of each work to add a scrawl of their own, such as “Must try harder,” or “See me after class.”
“One question,” an inquisitive non-relative of the royal sales clerk asks. “With all respect, aren’t you worried that when these collages of yours are on show alongside all the other Hollywood Road galleries displaying real professional artists, that they’re going to stand out as, well, you know… sort of, um…”
I look at her coolly for a few seconds. This did occur to me when the idea of an exhibition was first put to me. I show her a fuzzy photo taken just an hour earlier through the window of one of the various galleries in that part of town.
“Let’s put it this way,” I reply. “I didn’t the catch the title of this painting in a gallery near the Mid-Levels Escalator, but a perfectly literal description would be Man Contemplating Teddy Bear on Pile of Rubble, because that’s what it is. Possibly inspired by the magnificent Damien of Drop the Dead Donkey. That’s pretty much a random sample of the, er, competition.” If anything, the danger is that my creations will fit in perfectly.
At this point, the peace of the FCC morning is disrupted by the arrival of a crowd of plump, red-faced people sporting Union Jack T-shirts and loud shorts with black socks, clutching pictures of Princess Kate (if she isn’t in her 40s, why does she look like she is?) and munching pork sausages dipped in Marmite. Loudly ordering specially warmed beer, they sit down and turn to the large screen above the Main Bar, eager to see their distant kinswoman’s big day, walking down the aisle of… whatever cathedral it is.