Threadneedle disaster at Southend-on-Sea and Clacton-on-Sea

18 Mar 2 Comments

At the weekend I went to Southend-on-Sea and Clacton-on-Sea to paint something for the Threadneedle Prize. I was most excited and planned it for weeks. This over planning was the beginning of the as yet unseen problem. In my ferment I had it all done it in my head first before checking the places out. I wanted it all too much.  Like the child that gets too excited about going to a party and ends up being sick 10 minutes after arrival and has to be taken home.

Well i got to Southend-on-Sea at 8.30 am on Sunday and quickly I became a mess. My Mojo completely deserted me and my pencil and paint went on strike. I was left wondering around eating chips and drinking tea out of a plastic cup. Defeated I decided to try Clacton-on-Sea for inspiration. I bet no one has said that before.

I got lost on the way and it took me two hours to get there. Clacton-on-Sea was worse than Southend-on-Sea. An empty well!

Near the pier there is a Wetherspoons which was packed full of Sunday locals having cheap beer and food. It did not take the smokers outside and their children long to notice me. I occasionally get mistaken for a vagrant when i sit in the street drawing. Well here I don’t think they thought i was a vagrant but I just didn’t look like them. One girl of about 12 shouted “hey! You look like a twat” Her father guffawed with savage approval and her friend continued, a podgy whelp she was “Nice outfit!”. On it went while I was trying to draw. Dozy cider slapped faces idly gazing on, I was the only interesting thing to look at I presume.

I decided to go over to a shop window and draw me (more laughter) if only to see what the fuss was all about. I have not surprisingly a sad face and I do look different from them I suppose. I feel however “twat” was rather harsh.

It started to rain and left with nothing in the bag aside from some sardines I bought in a fish shop near the sea front. On the way back the windscreen wipers packed up and i almost got killed on the A13 at Dagenham.

My life feels like an Alan Bennett short story. In fact as I read back what I have written I can hear his cosy northern brogue. ‘Ohh what will Mam say?’


To lick my wounds I decided to paint some of my Sardines. Satisfying to do. The trick is to get them looking shiny. Il have another, calmer go at the Threadneedle Prize next week.


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