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Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Postcard

The Royal College of Art recently held its annual "secret" postcard sale, the proceeds of which go to help support the students. "Secret" because the name of the donor is withheld until the purchase is complete.

I bought a postcard from the R.C.A.
Hand-painted. On a good day -
so I thought - I'd choose, maybe,
a Grayson Perry, Ricky Figg, Nick Park,
Paul Simonon or even (Could I ever get
that lucky?) a Tracey Emin contribution - Chance
to own a bit of art by someone special, see?
It's that what pulls you in.
It's gambling, of course; you pit
your wits against the odds. You reckon
Lady Luck is sure to smile
on them as knows their stuff.
Choose well, and well, you've got yourself
a masterpiece, my son!
A solid gold original, no less - and one
that's by a famous name. You understand? The game
is that you don't know what you've got
until you've paid your forty quid, stumped up the bread.
Most like you'll end up with a dud, one done
to do you over good and proper by a student. Even then,
not all is lost. Treat it like a real investment, friend.
Your student could get famous in his time - or hers,
of course! And me? Don't ask. I know my art, don't fret,
I'm something of a connoisseur, I'm told.
But even so... I only went and picked (you won't believe)
this pierrot - on a beach, I think he is.
Something should have told me, no?
Well, so it did, it struck me as I went to pay: passé
or what, I thought. No artist worth his salt
or Cobalt Blue would have a go
at one of those these days!
I think I've picked a picky for the birds, I said.
My girlfriend, though (she's wonderful), she says
You stick by what you first thought. So I do -
and hear a plummy voice say: By... and follow By...
with some long monicker I'd never heard of... and then try
to make out anyone who's of the cognoscenti,
would be sure to know that name straight orff!! Straight Orff?
The cheek of it, that she should put me in my place...
Was my face red! But cooling down a bit,
a consolation prize, a good result - looked at
objectively. A whiz. I'll use it for the picture round
in my pub quiz.

The image is of Tracey Emin's contribution. Did you guess?


The Weaver of Grass said...

No I didn't guess, Dave! I love the poem though and have always thought I would love to take part in that postcard sale. One of the downsides of living so far away from London is that I never seem to get there.

Shadow said...

postcard sale... don't believe i've heard of them here in this country. sounds mighty fun, especially the way you've written about it!

Dave King said...

Weaver of Grass

I can relate to that. I used to live in the suburbs, and although I am not a million miles from it now, I still long for the ease of popping on a bus and I'm there, at the Tate or wherever.


The one at the Royal College of Art is the only one I know of. I'm a little surprised the idea hasn't caught on more generally.

Sweet Talking Guy.. said...

Sounds like a good idea and you obviously enjoy it. Love the 'Straight Orff?' bit.

Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

That's a great piece of art Dave. I've never heard of postcard sales either but whoever came up with the idea was brilliant. Great post and I enjoyed the previous post you did on Albert Schweitzer. Quite an insight into a fascinating man.

All the best and hope you are well

willow said...

You have a nice bit of artwork, indeed!

Mistlethrush said...

Good choice.
At the end of the day it shouldn't be about who the artist but about what the artwork says. Nevertheless it is pleasing when what you enjoy and pick coincides with a good name!

Dave King said...

Sweet Talking Guy

I did enjoy writing it, yes - especially the "Straight orff" bit!

Mad Bush Farm Crew

Much thanks for those comments.


Thanks for that.


I completely agree - on both counts!

Bill Stankus said...

Hello Dave,

Thanks for the stop-by. I've now read a bit of your blog and I will be back to read even more.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, yet again you inform the likes of me about new things and happenings and also amuse, perhaps more light verse when you're ready? I was hunching a quess that the pic was by an Asian Grayson Perry... x

MuseSwings said...

Straight orff I have to say I love the poem, and the postcard is wonderful! Excellent choice!

acornmoon said...

I am sure it all goes to a good cause. I would happily hand over forty quid for the Tracy Emin, I much prefer her drawings to her more conceptual pieces.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this - the self-mocking style, the wordplays and the humorous ending.

I'm with acornmoon on Tracy Emin. For me much of conceptual art smacks of the Emperor's new clothes.

Lucas said...

Conjours up a veritable underworld of Art Postcard spivs and sharp characters. Very well put together!
Also I think a great take on the machinations of the Art World.

Janice Thomson said...

I've never heard of this either but what a grand idea. As already mentioned if the art is good does the name really matter? Humanity is always so caught up in famous names instead of looking at the item itself.
Loved the poem though!

S. A. Hart said...

Great piece of writing, Dave! So, how are you going to display the postcard ... or are you going to just sling it on the bed? (Sorry about that...I really couldn't help it!) Seriously, you did well for your investment!

Dave King said...

Bill Stankus

Welcome, very good to have you aboard.


I can quite see where the Grayson Perry came from. Very like him. I'll see what I can do - probably my first attempt at a humerous poem.

Muse Swings

Thanks for that. Very welcome.


I must say I agree - but don't tell anyone I said that.


Ditto - see above!


Almost you persuade me to have a real go at them!


It's the age of the celebrity, I suppose.


Sling it on the bed sounds great to me - as long as it's unmade, of course.

Linda S. Socha said...


Great Post! You reminded me that I used to spend hours in antique shops looking for post card gems. I
ended up with a few but the looking was probably a big part of the fun.
Love you blog and your writing style. Glad I found you

BT said...

such fun Dave, a great poetic take on the plummy art world! Love the postcard, pity you didn't choose that one, but who knows how famous your artist may become?

Dave King said...


Welcome, and thanks for the comments. I, too, at one stage went postcard hunting, and agree that the looking is a large part of the fun. I also enjoyed my visit to your blog.


Welcome aboard. Exactly right. Who knows, indeed!

Dick said...

There's a wonderfully conversational feel to the poem, Dave, which is maintained throughout without in any way prejudicing the integrity of the form.

Poetikat said...

I really enjoyed this, Dave. It was fast-paced and fun and clever. I read it twice for the sheer joy of it. Well done!

Thanks so much for your visits. I do appreciate all you have to say.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

So enjoyable, as always! I do love visiting here.

Dave King said...


Much appreciated comment. Thanks.

And ditto, your comments are interesting and useful

Pamela terry and Edwards
Much thanks.

Sepiru Chris said...

Kudos, Dave.

Your posts are gems.

I would say your headmaster would be proud, and I bet some of your pupils (and parishioners) are pleased to have had you, if your writings here are reflective of your professional life.

Dave King said...

Sepiru Chris

Welcome and many thanks for the comments. Really good to have you aboard.

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