My best friend Elton

Guido is my lover but Elton is my best friend.  Just let me make four things crystal clear right from the off.  Elton isn’t gay, doesn’t wear glasses, doesn’t own a grand piano and he’s never had a candle in the wind.  We met years ago when we were both at art college together.  In our final year I was majoring in textiles so spent eleven months laboriously creating a hand stitched and luminous abstract tapestry.  That particular masterpiece was supposed to reflect the magical wonders of the sea.  Unfortunately for me it ended up looking more like the creature emerging from the black lagoon.  Just three days before his finals Elton picked up six tins of paint and threw them randomly against a garage wall in Brixton.  He then filmed the aftermath with a hand held camera and called it “Wall With 6 Tins Of Paint.”  He got a first in his degree and I just scraped through.  I’ve never been able to look a sea urchin in the eye ever since.  Nowadays  Elton’s installations can sell for anything upwards of thirty thousand pounds each.  That’s art for you.  Go figure. 

This morning Elton came by and we sat outside the café because he likes to smoke.  When Elton is anywhere outside he is always smoking cigarettes. Absolutely no exceptions. When I think of him I always visualise him shrouded in smoke and when I am with him, so am I.    Elton always likes to talk for hours about things which are totally outside of his own personal control. Like a meteor hitting earth and the complete annihilation of all life as we know it – that sort of thing. I don’t know why he bothers worrying about it because, as someone who smokes around sixty cigarettes a day, the likelihood of him being flattened by a jagged rock from outer space is probably significantly less likely than death by respiratory failure.     

“So dude,” he smokes a lot and he says dude a lot, “You and Guido are going to come on Monday aren’t you?”  The opening of his latest installation has been in the making for about 6 weeks.  It’s been created in a gallery in North London and is entitled “Pool Party.” A whole team of people had to dig out the actual size of a swimming pool in the middle of the gallery, tile it and fill it with gallons and gallons of water.   Then Elton showed up one afternoon and, apparently with great precision, inflated several brightly coloured lie-lows and then threw them into the water.   It makes pickling a sheep sound like a piece of cake.

“We’ll definitely be there,” I said, “But will we this require Guido and me to wear Speedos?”

“Dude, the Press will be there so don’t wear anything you don’t want to be photographed in and then have it appear in a national newspaper the next day,” he said shrugging.  I pondered for a moment considering the benefits of all the exposure.  I thought about my hideously pale skin and Guido’s very hairy stomach.  No. On second thoughts, Speedos were definitely out. In between his next cigarette I told Elton about the exploding atom mobile I was arranging for the show apartment I was designing.  Unfortunately this got him onto the Hadron Collider particle accelerator underground in Switzerland.  He told me he thought the world would probably fall of its axis at any moment as a result.

“I just hope it doesn’t happen before the pool party on Monday,” I said. 

Guido and I don’t get out that much.



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