To the North London gallery on Monday where Elton’s swimming pool installation was being unveiled. Boy, what a hoax that turned out to be.
We arrived unfashionably late because Guido had a last minute crisis with exploding Monterey Jack on his panini grill. Elton was far from the madding crowd, sensibly sitting outside with a journalist and smoking a cigarette. There was a big poster above them with Elton’s smiling face on it. As usual he appeared to be having the last laugh. He called us both dudes and waved us enthusiastically inside the gallery with the end of his cigarette. Guido went straight to the bar. There’s nothing quite like a Monterey Jack crisis to work up a raging thirst. Disappointingly he came back with two vodka shots and, even more disappointingly as I hadn’t eaten, hors d’oeurves the size of specks of dust.
“The sundried tomato paste in this crostini makes it taste like chlorine,” he said. Bearing in mind we were standing next to a swimming pool at the time, cross contamination was a particular worry.
Just so you know the installation looked just like, well, a swimming pool. There were two hot young guys in swimming briefs standing next to a diving board. I wasn’t sure if they were part of the installation or not as they didn’t seem to be doing much other than looking cheesy and holding a beach ball each. They appeared to have just climbed out of an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial so, sorry to sound completely shallow, suddenly I felt the evening perk up a little.
The guy standing next to me was dictating into his telephone. I definitely think he was from The Guardian. In all seriousness, it sounded something like this.
“Essentially I would describe the installation as a damning indictment of the kind of juxtapose we are all forced to face in our social and leisure activities, and how we see money as the ultimate driver to procure our pleasure.” Let’s just say he didn’t look like he relished small talk.
As usual, Guido got lumbered with Elton’s agent Mikki who made a beeline for him as soon as he saw him. This is not unusual. He’s been sexually attracted to Guido for years in a – if only you’d dump Jean-Paul and sleep with me your life would be so much better – sort of a way. He’s like a big slippery octopus with hands for suckers. Thankfully getting hold of Guido proves logistically difficult for Mikki as he has an afro which has the circumference of your average fully extended golf umbrella. This means that when he stands next to you, you have no option but to stay at least four feet away for fear of being consumed by his hair. I could hear Guido saying what? and pardon? every time he moved ever closer with his tentacles. It was frightening to watch. The nearer he got the nearer Guido edged to the poolside. It was as if it was all happening in slow motion but no one could avert the inevitable. Yes, Guido was going in. Amazingly there was no terrifying splosh but Mikki’s tentacles had to mercifully recede all the same.
When Guido stepped into what we all thought was the deep end, the water only reached just over the top of his boots. There was an audible gasp from the crowd. Guido stood completely still for a moment in disbelief. Everyone stared. He appeared to be levitating. It was a fantastic illusion and I still have no idea how Elton did it. Then, realising he wasn’t going to sink after all, Guido took a few tentative steps across the middle of the pool. Who would have thought a simple chef from Southwark would turn out to be the next messiah? I felt like somebody should be speed dialling the Vatican to whip up the bishops. The assembled Press took photographs for posterity.
“What you did tonight? Frankly I think Elton should give you a cut of the proceeds of any future sale,” I said to Guido in the taxi home. “At the very least he could buy you new boots.”
Watch this space.