Acrylics by Candia Dixon-Stuart
Angel delight, Art in Action, begum's palace, Bradford, Chicken Tikka Masala, coriander, Cosmic Dance, Delamotte, joss sticks, kaftan, Kama Sutra, kohl, Laura Ashley, lotus, love beads, Naan bread, Pimms, Rimsky-korsakov, Sainsbury's, Sharwood, Shiva, The Silent Teacher, Vesta Taste of the Orient, Vindaloo, Waterperry
(Waterperry by Delamotte)
You didn’t go this year? Brassica asked. I thought
you went to Waterperry ‘Art in Action’ every year?
No, I only went twice, years ago. I don’t even know if it
is still on. I think I must have missed it, as it used to be
held mid-July. I seem to remember that it was boiling hot one
year. I enjoyed seeing a raku potter from Bath- Peter Hayes-
standing on a ladder and building a huge ceramic sculpture which
he was going to fire there and then.
Oh, you could book to take part in all sorts of activities.
I remember going to watch an Indian dancer.
And did you…?
Of course. I’ll have a look for it in my file at home and will
publish it on WordPress, so you can read it.
KAMA SUTRA IN WATERPERRY
(Image by Rusianejohn 26/2/2013)
This is Oxfordshire, hot as Vindaloo.
In The Eastern Asian Arts Tent they sweat,
as if they sat in a begum’s palace.
But the chairs are plastic; camcorders whir.
Polyester, pinch-pleated drapery
is the wrong backcloth, especially in peach.
The girl with the pleached plait and red bindi
gestures Shiva‘s flute, mimes supplication,
recreating an unseen world through smiles;
kohled eyes averted or upturned. Music.
An equivocal voice ululates and
scratchy birdsong emanates from speakers
hidden in some coleus. They sip Pimms
while she performs The Cosmic Dance with grace.
Middle-aged, sandalled Englishmen in shorts
film, agog, in open admiration,
fantasising exotic, erotic
movements in Laura Ashley bedrooms,
chintzed by mango-shaped, swollen-ankled wives,
who never had the sinuosity
of this dancer; never raised a heartbeat
to a drumbeat- not even in ethnic
kaftan days, when they fingered their love beads
over a Chicken Tikka Masala,
after their final exams. Eyes would stream.
Hot stuff. Half portions of rice were enough.
She would have been born then. Maybe she sprang
from a lotus flower, somewhere in Bradford.
While they were buying pine in B&Q,
she was inhaling joss sticks, sandalwood;
learning all about The Silent Teacher.
While they were doing supply in inner
city comps, they dreamt of vestal virgins,
returning home at five, to a Vesta
Taste of the Orient; Angel Delight
to follow. They planted coriander
in earthenware pigs on their window sills.
Their daughters pierced their nostrils and navels,
but somehow never looked at all like this.
Votive petals fall… Audience applause…
The dancer leaves in her drab Western clothes.
And in Sainsbury’s, the following week,
they put two-for-the-price-of-one Naan breads
into their trolleys, with some Sharwood spice;
hum Rimsky-Korsakov at the check-out;
thinking up one more story, to survive.