One day I went into the art staff room – the place where all the hippies gather to mull over their latest piece of indecipherable nonsense – where I was working and while I was waiting for a colleague who was on the telephone, I picked up a book and started flicking through the pages. Imagine my disgust when I came across what I thought was a “selfie” published without my permission, my horrified, contorted face grimacing in disgust at having come across a piece of modern art.
Turns out it was a famous painting by some Norwegian bloke named Edvard Munch – The Scream, or something? Perhaps he didn’t like modern art either. Unfortunately for me, my partner does… and that is how, on a stinking hot day when the mercury was nudging 40 degrees Celsius, we found ourselves in Figueres Northern Spain queuing up to visit the Dali Theatre-Museum.
We have an agreement, Mrs T and I, that whenever we go away on holiday we have at least one day of culture per week, one day when, without outward protest (incessant whining as she unkindly calls it) I will dutifully follow her around as she soaks up the cultural heritage of the place we are visiting. I, of course, remember nothing of this the agreement, presumably having been luxuriating in my cuddle chair watching mindless crap on television when the suggestion was first muted, wasn’t listening, didn’t understand and mumbled something to shut her up before irritably waving her aside so that I could watch Judge Judy pass judgement on a woman who had stabbed her husband three times, and was suing him for damages after his blood spilled onto her new carpet and soiled it.
Figueres is Salvador Dali’s home town and the queue of tourists – kids grizzling in the searing heat, women glowing as they wafted their skirts like flamenco dancers trying to get a bit of breeze up around their knickers and blokes “dad dancing” as they tried to prise their sweating nicky-nacky-noos away from their wet, sticky thighs and their damp, sweaty pants from up their bum – meandered its way towards the picturesque plaza where the museum stands. It seemed never-ending.
“There’s a sports bar around the corner. Manchester United are playing” I heard a bloke in front of me say more in hope than expectation. “I think I might wait for you in there”.
Instantly, his wife fixed him with the withering look I know only too well, the one that says “don’t even think about it”, not unless fancy not having any nicky-nacky-noos to worry about the next time we visit Figueres. The man shuffled uncomfortably, shoved his hand in his shorts, dressed himself the other side (he might have been checking to see if they were still there such was the ferocity of the woman’s glare) sighed defeatedly and got back in line. Perhaps they had an agreement too.
Finally, we arrived in the plaza. I looked up at the façade… and that’s when I made my first mistake. “I didn’t know Dali designed Humpty Dumpty” I said in all innocence.
If looks could kill I would now be nothing more than dark patch of slime on the streets of Figueres. But it wasn’t my fault. Not in the slightest. I mean, how was I to know Dali was famed for creating effigies of people with fruit and vegetables for their heads, all I knew was he had a wide, pencil thin moustache that made him look like he had swallowed some poor, unsuspecting young woman wearing stiletto heeled shoes during a kinky sex session; either that or he grew it for Movember, realised it was good for twisting around and picking his nose with and decided to keep it.
Five minutes later we paid our fee and stepped into the main foyer of the museum. It was circular meaning you can choose whether to visit the exhibits in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. I looked up and… WTF? Right there in front of me was a big, fat (sorry if that’s politically incorrect, it wasn’t when Dali created the monstrosity) woman with the most enormous tits you have ever seen – you could be lost in her cleavage for a week and never find your way out – standing on a Cadillac like she was about to crap on it. And… and if that wasn’t bad enough… she had a bloody pineapple for a head. I mean, what’s all that about? I’ve been to football matches where the crowd have baited spikey haired opponents by chanting “he’s got a pineapple on his head… he’s got a pineapple on his head”. But I’ve never seen anybody that actually has. Not in real life.
I bit my lip and didn’t say anything. Mrs T looked, sensing the pungent aroma of disbelief permeating the air (she always was a sensitive soul). Her shoulders slumped, she issued a pathetic whimper, started to look a bit peaky and… Oh, for God’s sake! Beyond the woman vacating her bowels on the Cadillac was a mural of a woman with a tree sprouting from her cleavage, and if that wasn’t bad enough she had the Eurotunnel carved through her belly. I mean, what the hell’s all that about?
Mrs T’s sensed something in the air, her shoulders slumped, her eyelids fell and, with a heavy sigh, closing her eyes.
“You go that way, I’ll go the other” my Mrs T sighed, clearly disappointed in me, our agreement in tatters “and, please, when we pass on the other side, pretend you don’t know me”.
So she went right, I went the left and…
Manchester United won 2-0.