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.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! ~ Nik

PHILIP BROOKER said...

thank you...........thank you.....

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope you are joking about your family members! So where among the dead have you scoured for a locale? Pere Lachaise might be hard to get into (no jokes about dying to get in)? I wonder, if you managed to locate an answering machine (do they exist anymore...or will they exist that far into the future). May it be very far into the future...
A great image (the photograph and not your death).

Even in death, you will be art.
M

PHILIP BROOKER said...

I have a few places picked out...not joking about my family...There will be some sort of machine to take my calls............Thank you for your comment..as always ...p

Anonymous said...

I love it ... what a great idea!!! I am already thinking about what my recorded message will be if you go first. Will there be room for a small martini bar in your tomb, or should we just bring our own (and one as an offering)?

Lesley

PHILIP BROOKER said...

oooo a martini bar...great idea....

Aaron said...

Sorry to be repetitive but . . . Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant!!

I hope you live a very long life happy life full of martinis and fun, but I also hope I outlive you and remain healthy enough to experience your final masterpiece.

I expect it will take some of the edge off of dying. You will have something to look forward to.

Leesa said...

Don't you have to have loads of cash handy to be buried somewhere grand in Paris?? I'm not familiar with all of the smaller cemeteries in Paris, but it just seems as though it would be INCREDIBLY expensive to be buried in the big ones...

Great post... When I was a little girl visiting my aunt and uncle in NJ, my uncle would creak the joke... "People are dying to get in..." every time we drove by a cemetery... I still remember that to this day!

Leesa said...

"crack" the joke-- Gosh, I hate typos... It's the teacher in me, I suppose!

Anonymous said...

Whenever a celebrity dies I remember this post and I reread this at the end of the year, which is near your birthday. I think about your obsession with death and I reflect on how many years have passed and I hope you have stopped with the mental loop. Everything dies and then renews itself and yet stuck in that dark morbidity. I thought about the horror of never dying and becoming something new, such as a tree or even a diamond since we are all carbon atoms. Perhaps I could have my carcass blasted into space, a nude body, wrinkled and aged discentrigrading when it reenters the atmosphere; a performance piece to only be performed once. The sad thing is the message of trying to remain past an expiration date. We are being that want to continue, though we are as butterflies. We copulate furiously, and die after we have had our fill. The more dangerous fate is go hang on to life for so long because we are afraid there really is nothing. Fearful creation we have become, but courageously we go forward, despite all fears.

Humanity is the ultimate fool's journey. Doomed from the start. In a solar system so far removed from other life that we will be dead and gone, never known by others. But we tell ourselves, 'it's OK;because it we were being discovered, we were being conquered.'

No worries Philip, no belief in anything is required and you could use your cell phone for your vision and have your estate pay your cell phone bill to make it work, on your iPhone 1.0, using the classic telephone ringtone (though no one would hear it, but I am sure wireless recharging will be a thing in the future. )

I miss you dear man. Don't die anytime soon.

-Miss M