Sunday, October 25, 2009
tomb it may concern
I have been walking amongst the dead today. In fact I walk in and around the dead most days. Oh I know what you are saying 'Philip, Stop being so melodramatic' or 'Please limit yourself to one martini when you write your blogs'. The truth is, I live amongst the dead. We all do in Paris.I live amongst the dead and it would be impossible to have it any other way. O.K. let me explain. It is impossible to get around paris or give directions without spanning at least 200 years of deceased historic figures. Let me give you an example (I know by now, with my long lead in, that you must be craving one) Today was the perfect Paris day to buy an English newspaper. Fresh air. Fresh thoughts. Fresh underwear,Fresh newspapers. The short journey began here. I walked up Theophile Gautier (1811-1872 poet critic painter) then I took a right on Francois Millet (1814-1875 painter), kept on going across to Ave Leopold 11 (1865-1904 king of Belgium) then I went left on Ave Mozart(1756-1791 composer) then took a right on Henri Heine (1797-1856 German poet, journalist) then a left on Rue du Dr. Blanche (1796-1852 Doctor Duh!) and then to my beloved paper stand (they were out of the Times and Observer,I left it too late.) On the way home ( disappointed and paperless but still fresh) I passed down Rue Michel- Ange (1475-1564 painter, sculptor) then down George Sand (1804 - 1876 writer, feminist). Well you get the idea (and also great directions to my favorite paper stand as well. But get there before 11a.m.)
On every street corner (oops! excuse me, Rue or Ave or Blvd corner) there is a name. Under the name is written the date of birth and death and occupation. This is a perfect history lesson, even if you didn't ask for one.I don't want to sound preachy, but in the states, its generally street numbers and avenues,59th and 1st doesn't sound as glamorous. Also, wouldn't it be more educational to have famous people as roads (o.k. I can hear what your saying, Im starting to sound preachy) Paris has a way of making the dead seem part of everyday life. It's romantic, historic and dare I say it, Alive! Yes I live amongst the dead. Apart from the Rue names there are also statues of a dead littered everywhere. Oh joy!
But todays story isn't about the 'famous' dead (yes I know.I have waffled on for 300 words already) No dear reader, todays blog is about my death. Well my eventual death. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. As an artist I am expected to die early (it is written somewhere) so my art will increase in value (I cant tell you the number of times my relatives have had that look on there face, that 'when are you going to die?' look) Just so there little sketch, I gave them one christmas, 20 years ago, might be worth something. If I die (or rather ) when I die, I have big plans, and I mean that literally. You see I have drawn out on a blueprint my tomb. Yes! you heard right, my tomb.I have designed a very simple but cosy tomb, where my body (lack of cremation, ashes etc) will be laid out. I have painted beautiful scaled renderings, to show the builders of my future resting place, how to execute (wrong word maybe in this context) every detail of my modest final home.(They will get the plans only if I suddenly die, you understand) My final digs, which will be situated somewhere on a slope in Paris. A 'Tomb with a view' if you will. I started working on this project when I was 16. I didn't quite have the location down, but the drawings were complete.I have made very few changes to them since. The soul (no real pun intended) of the project is still intact . The outside is made of sandstone, with very simple and clean lines. The inside is a little more complicated. The walls will be painted and there will be words, lots of them (I wont spoil the surprise now, There has to be some mystery even in death) I have put aside some money in my will, to have this little structure realized.I would and should leave this tale right here. But there is a little more to say. You see, I want to work on one more art project even in my death. My final work if you will.I'll explain. Above the door of my tomb will be a phone number. When you call that number you will get an answering machine( Yes! you will hear the phone ring inside the tomb) It will say 'Hello you have reached the home of Philip Brooker.Unfortunately I cant get to the phone at the moment, because I am very dead. Please leave a message, but I very much doubt if I will get back to you any time soon'. Then the beep, and then you leave your message.The best and most creative messages over a 5 year period will be made into an exhibition.I will have photographed and filmed the building of my final resting (ha! resting, What a joke ) place in every detail and every stage of the way. So it should be an enjoyable show. Im sorry I wont be around to attend.I love the idea of having a fresh new show even in my death. None of that retrospective nonsense.
Im a little busy at the moment with all my projects, but as soon as there is a little break, I will start looking for a nice place to be laid out. I will build my tomb and paint it while Im alive (like there is a choice) I need to see what it will look like.I will also take some of my favorite items to keep me company (these will also be featured in the exhibition) I would hate not to know where Im going to spend all my 'golden dead' years.
They say Paris is to die for. I say its to die in. I just hope I live long enough to pass away it in this great city. You can quote me on that, But not till I die. Which hopefully will be in a few years from now. Quite a few years. Who knows, maybe I will be a Avenue or Rue one day.