Tag Archives: UK

Proof that people can learn to fly

As people walk down a quiet street in Headington, Oxford, the UK they get the shock if not of their life, then of their visit to the cradle of modern science that Oxford represents in the eyes of those whose children didn’t go to Cambridge.


A local radio host mounted it on top of the roof of his house almost 30 years ago to protest against a number of things that intrude into our lives without our express consent.

For the following 15 years, the radio host had to fight the local council, who wanted the shark to be removed because they hadn’t issued a planning permission for the damn fish to be installed.

The good cause behind the shark has been largely forgotten and only a huge fish puncturing the roof remained. It became a work of art without a lengthy explanation of why it was art.

Finally, in 1992, Art won over Legal Matter. It was legally allowed to stay.

Really, in the UK gravity and planning permissions are basically the same stuff. 

They can’t be defied. Never.

Yet, a simple piece of inexpensive art did the impossible; and implications of this feat are many and stunning.

For instance, it means that with enough determination, people can learn to fly. Perhaps, Douglas Adams was right when he wrote that the important bit in mastering this skill is to learn to miss the floor when you fall.

To sample this blog, click on About at the top. It has links to some of my best or typical posts. There’s an Art & Fun shelf if you feel like in need of a laugh.

United Kingdom does not want you

I thought I wrote about Francis Bacon, his genius in portraying evil but creating some moral good in the mind of the viewer, and was done with it.

No. Everyday evil is not letting me go.

Two months ago my elder son (21) went to the UK to study for his master’s degree. His younger brother (17) has been missing him so much he was writing poems about it. No-nonsense poetry. Now, do you often see 17 year olds writing poems about their 21-year-old brothers?

And today my younger son was refused entry in the UK to see his brother, because a minor bureaucrat made a major judgement error, assuming that the boy travels unaccompanied (even though tickets clearly showing the return date for the whole family were submitted).

It may mean we’d have problems getting a French visa for the boy in December. It may also mean our NY holiday plans will be screwed.

This makes me revisit the Bacon painting of yesterday but this time from a very personal perspective.


It is me, screaming very polite words of amazement in a wounded high-pitched voice at the abstract face of the UK Border Agency which is so maddeningly effective in preventing unwanted men and women from entering the country.

I need to jot down my thoughts on what I would like to do to the clerk at the visa centre before I forget them. My career in the horror movies would be guaranteed. Just saying.

Also, a bank that operates salaries in my company went bust today with a loud bang. With the salaries, of course. 

We, as the owners (and I am not referring to myself as “we”, there are more owners than one) are giving our people cash out of our own savings, with the promise that they will return the money after they get compensated by the banking insurance agency. This is borderline legal, but I don’t think any of our employees would report us.

Now, I am finally in London, and my son (21) is across the big dinner table from me, writing something in a little black book.

Game theory lectures are scattered on the table.

That changes my perspective. 

Not the game theory, but seeing my son. Though, I must admit the game theory helps.

We may lose a lot or a bit in the game of life, but the game is still on. A simple but effective entertainment, as the infamous Rock, Paper, Scissors. Unless played against an old mill hand with two fingers left (who is rather predictive at this game), it may be even exciting.

It is rather a lot to happen in one day, though. I have a feeling that the angel tracking me down in his celestial blog has been rather active during the last 24 hours. If he reads me now, I’d like to say it may be enough for today, really.

I don’t know the celestial blogger’s plans (I just hope he’d give me a few happy days off), but my plan is to get back talking about art soon. The Chinese art exhibition at V&A, and Paul Klee at Tate are two big events that are worth writing about.

P.S. Sometimes, I suspect people thinking up Daily Prompts read my mind. 

P.P.S. Today’s news: the Bacon triptych I wrote about earlier was indeed bought by a princess sheikh of Qatar. Do you know a betting shop that takes bets on identities of anonymous art buyers? I guess I could win back my losses at the capsized bank.