Saturday, 13 February 2010
That's Not My Age
Age is a funny thing. I spent my 39th year worrying about being forty and single, no kids, no house, no pension plan. I'd often pretend to be 35-years old, that was my showbiz age, and for a while I could get away with it. But then forty came along, and so did Mr That's Not My Age and I realised it wasn't such a big deal. I felt exactly the same on my 40th birthday as I did the day before, nothing had changed. So, before I get all sentimental, I'm going to tell you about Bob & Roberta Smith - bear with me, this is just one person - the artist Patrick Brill, 47, a man who doesn't take himself or the ageing process too seriously.
This is his time machine. Which is wind-generated, and like HG Wells' prototype is basically a chair (in the middle), with a rickety wooden windmill built around it. But don't be fooled by its makeshift appearance, like Botox, the machine has the abilty to increase or decrease your age.
Bob & Roberta also plays in two bands, The Apathy Band and The Ken Ardley Playboys, and admits that this in itself can feel a bit like time travel, 'When you're in a band, on-stage, it can make you think you're younger but people in the audience look at you and think you're older.' Mr Brill-Smith insists that the rock 'n' roll side of his work isn't a mid-life crisis, after all he's been playing for years and like The Rolling Stones is going to continue until well after he's started collecting his pension,' I'm quite keen to carry on. When the other band members die off, I'll replace them with younger people - like George our drummer who's thirty.'
So, does the ageing process bother B&R? ' Well, I've always felt a bit middle-aged,' he says, 'I suppose it's all about potential talent. When you're young you have it. When you're in your forties, you don't. You're just talentless and old.'
The rocker with the Dr Who tendencies admits that he's recently started playing the piano and drums so that he can sit down, it takes a lot of energy to maintain this level of creative output but, 'Not as much energy as the audience need to sit through it!'
What age would you use the machine to travel to?
Bob & Roberta's factory outlet is on at Beaconsfield gallery until 21 February - and there's also a café, the Ragged Canteen which sells very nice coffee and cakes.