Bernard Buffet's "Clown" hangs on my sitting-room wall immediately opposite my chair. Thus, we spend a great deal of time staring at each other. And yes, you're right, my social life is not overwhelming! I bought it when I was a teen-ager in the late '50s for my Mum but like virtually all gifts teenagers give their parents it was really for me, as in me, me, me, because I just loved that painting. I still do.
I'm not suggesting that it's a great masterpiece. After all, the counter-point between a clown's smiley make-up and the unhappiness that might lie beneath it is as old as, well, Lear's Fool. But when you look at this man's face beneath the make-up it isn't actually unhappiness that you see, merely seriousness. And what's wrong with seriousness, I demand to know, speaking, or writing, as a man who has problems smiling myself and who detests people who smile at me. The 'Memsahib' has threatened to throw me out of our sitting-room because of my constant grumpy eruptions during the adverts on TV when all these bloody people come on and smile and smile and smile and then smile some more before giving you one last smile. I hate them all and I hate their products even if I can't quite remember what they are!
So you can see why me and my serious friend on the wall spend a lot of time looking at each other. I find him restful as I am sure he does me although, to be honest, it might just be that after all these years he finds me a bit, well, boring - yes, hard to believe, I know! Anyway, I think when I die he might as well come in the box with me because nobody else is going to look at him the way I have over all these decades.