You’re putting that on upside down, mate

this was the most common expression that wags used to come out with when I was painting and decorating, when wags were ‘wits’ rather than Cheryl Tweedy. My masterpiece at Art School was a 30 ft long 10 ft high version of the British Standard colour chart which I painted using 100 tins of Permoglaze paint that the company had donated. A few weeks later I discovered that the eminent German artist Gerhard Richter had beaten me to it, by doing some colour charts of his own. Years later I saw a couple of these in a gallery in Dusseldorf, and first things first checked whether his lines were any sharper than mine (on particular colours some paint will always bleed under the masking tape). I was delighted to see his were less tidy, with more bleed, it made me feel a real pro (though he had used canvas whereas mine were on MDF, which definitely played in my favour). I later incorporated Richter’s October 18, 1977 sequence (paintings of the Baader-Meinhof gang and some of their funerals) into my novel Are You With Me? Richter’s people denied the publishers permission to use an image from the sequence as an end plate, which I rather liked, I thought it conceptually intact with his general persona.

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12 Responses to You’re putting that on upside down, mate

  1. chiffs says:

    “. . .and first things first checked whether his lines were any sharper than mine (on particular colours some paint will always bleed under the masking tape). I was delighted to see his were less tidy, with more bleed, it made me feel a real pro . . . ‘

    I’m curiously reminded of David James, renowned artist and part-time footballer.

  2. Stephen Foster says:


  3. Mark Eltringham says:

    I was more into performance art at college. My masterpieces included persuading course leader Chris Ponder not to chuck me out after a water fight got out of hand in the halls when a fire hose became inexplicably untangled from its moorings.

    I did manage to top this on a night out in Frankfurt a couple of years later where my piece ‘Diebstahl am Auto’ was seen by those lucky enough to be there as particularly groundbreaking, especially in comparison to tiresome stunts like the one where Tilda Swinton went to sleep in a box. The climax of the performance saw me trying to rip the number plate off a car as a souvenir of Frankfurt, only for the whole thing to be rudely disrupted by two coppers who threw me in a cell and fined me 70 marks. The philistines.

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    Mark ‘grey-man’ Eltringham gives a preview of the highlights of his forthcoming stag night.

  5. OS says:

    And the way he gets on at his boys, you would have thought he was brought up by a Monk. I hope they know about this, Eli. They will after your stag do. 🙂


  6. OS says:

    Ps…for winger. Wot’s the bloke got in his hands? A paint spray can? If it was me, I’d write Swiss Tony right across it. Now that would be original!

    M. le etc…

  7. Mark Eltringham says:

    They encourage you to participate in proper art galleries. Personally I think the whole thing is crying out for an old english sheepdog to be tied to the wall.

  8. Mark Eltringham says:

    I don’t like those seats either

  9. chiffs says:

    They’re not seats, they’re giant sized bars of Caramac. It’s an installation piece called, Let’s look at Art and Get Fat While We’re At It’ and Art Garfunkel did actually sue for damamges.

  10. chiffs says:

    I damaged damages there.

  11. John says:

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for your reply to my posting! Cheers! I’ll definitely look at the link, cheers. I think I do have a bit of a confidence problem most of all. My rather clumsy description in the previous posting now sounds quite embarassing and hardly does much for my writing pretentions! I too feel like I have something to say, a passion within me to get something out- out from deep within. Finding the form and framework for that expression is something I’m very interested in- something I’m experimenting with now in fact. I find the whole whole process is exciting and rewarding (which I guess is/should be the point)- and definitely worth persevering with!

    To gain some of your advice is great, thanks so much- you’re probably my fav contemporary author- this will definitely spur me on!

    (I’ve just picked up ‘Along Came Dylan’ in Liverpool today (an early xmas present from my girlfriend in fact!), really looking forward reading to it!)


  12. This wonderful picture is exactly what’s going on at chez-nous. We’ve had all the blue ones and rejected them. Today we went and got the pink ones and the yellow ones. We held them against the walls and switched the lights on/off. Fortunately they, the painters, aren’t coming until January. I hope we’ve decided on the colour by then. It was great fun at first but if it doesn’t end soon it’ll drive me bonkers.

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