Last night was one of the key annual dates of my diary. It was the RA Summer Exhibition rejection show in London. I was keen to go this year and worked out that if I dropped the paintings off first thing I could kick around town and attend the opening.
To save some cash I thought I'd have a crack at getting the Megabus up (glam, glam, glam). I did have to get to the stop at 5am, and I wasn't encouraged by the bus driver who looked like death warmed up, had the shakes and necked some Red Bull when we got to Newport, but we changed drivers at Bristol and I pretty much slept till Hammersmith.
By the time I got to the Candid Arts gallery in Islington the frames had pretty much fallen apart. All my fault, I didn't set a deadline for Andrew my usual framer, so had to source some last minute frames. I spent an hour or so sweating and putting the frames back together on the floor of the gallery. Eventually with aid of a screwdriver, some masking tape and swearing under my breath I got them back together, and then wandered into Islington for some breakfast and coffee.
After spending most of the day working on my novel in the British Library I came back to the gallery which looked amazing. It was around 7ish by the time I got there and there was a queue to get in. The gallery was packed and first off I was relieved that the frames had stayed together and were hung up, that's certainly taught me a lesson. I picked up an 'unusual' cocktail and looked around. The Rejection show is a perfect reflection of the actual Summer Exhibition, in as much as some years are stronger than others. This year's show had a very high quality, probably the only reason many of them got rejected was because of the size, for me the really striking pieces were the larger ones. I was joined by my mates Tim Lambert and Bill MacLehose, so we chatted and because the interesting cocktails had run out we went for a drink round the corner, which upon reflection would turn out to be a mistake.
I caught the tube across town to get back to Paddington to get my 9:15 train, but thanks to a delay on the tube I got the train just as they locked the door and watched it pull out of the station. My next train would turn out to be at 10:45, by which time - to use a Cardiff expression - I was 'anging. Still a great night, the exhibition looks great and it feels good to have paintings in London again.