• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 02
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The blue bus

Some pictures seem so bland at first sight, nothing to see, like the smooth metallic sheen of a bus that isn’t yours, so of no interest. Move along, move along. The crowd jostles so you move along and stand entranced in front of an intricacy of cogs and wheels and painted abstractions of cogs and cognisance in the dark charcoals of despair and industrial murk. You feel you are on the brink of understanding, but the next exhibit with its pulleys of old bits of string and a magazine picture of a piece of steak leaves you perplexed and wanting to wash your hands and have a drink.

You leave the gallery and stand in the sun, staring at the sky beyond the electricity wires and hurtling pigeons dreaming they are doves, and you step into the street where rubbish bins disgorge their plastic innards and wait for the familiar shiny red bus to take you home.

Later, you leaf through the catalogue, the plates of charcoal industrial murk, the planes of abstraction, seas of depressions, the sharp-angled obscurity and the rag-tag collages of torn newspaper and crisp packets that make you feel dirty just looking at the photo, and you bemoan your limited understanding.

Later, at night, you dream of that smooth metallic blue of a sleek bus that drives you away through artificial clouds to a synthetic paradise. Understanding is like pigeons. Or doves, if you like.