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Anthony Frost at Trelowarren

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The arrival of 16 paintings and prints in the New Yard Restaurant – from Black and White to full Cinemascope Colour.

anthony-frostThe Overtones by Simon Armitage

When you ask me what time it is, it’s purple.

And when the alarm goes off in a morning it’s a sort of metallic, minty green,

like the Noisette Triangle in a packet of Quality Street –

a particular favourite of mine but hard on the teeth.

And when you love me, and whisper your love to me, personally, in my inner ear,

it’s custard yellow embossed with a bold red heart, like a door I once saw in an otherwise dried up town on the side of a hill near Salamanca. Salamanca , which for some reason is beige but burnt at the edges.

Most days I’m here on the other side of the glass,

under the high ceilings. It’s like a job, without the bit you call work.

In prison, I’d be the one pushing the trolley of books along the corridors, recommending cowboy adventure stories to big-time embezzlers,

making the Arc de Triomphe out of toothpicks,

cave-painting the walls of his cell.

If you’re passing, ring the bell of the studio and come up.

This morning I’m tackling some major work, but where to start?

There’s no instruction book for an activity of this nature, no downloadable manual.

With a domestic knife I pop open a tin of Derangement

and tip it out on the canvas, thick treacly jollops,

but another tone is needed in this top corner

so I go for a touch of Feelers Rebo,

which you might be surprised to learn was the colour of Caesar’s pillow

and whose essence is obtained from the pituitary gland of the ocelot. What next? How about a little A Little Tornado, A Little Hurricano,

to echo that thin trace of Kerouac bottom left

almost to the point of harmonic unison, even if I say so myself.

The phone is ringing its orange, orange, orange in the back office

but it will have to wait.

Now for some softer tones: a daub of Beautifully Uncertain

should do the trick when combined with this swatch of onion sack.

Did I shave this morning or was that the day before?

See, sometimes I’m Don Quixote fencing imaginary foes.

Sometimes I’m Casanova planting a final kiss on the peach-like breast

of the Contessa before leaping from the balcony into a waiting gondola, her volcano-faced husband flailing at my shadow with his leather fist.

And sometimes I’m more like myself, black coffee hardening in the cup, seagulls caterwauling in the bay, my hands too big for their cuffs.

That pretty trawler in the lee of St Michael’s Mount

is an early Beefheart bootleg or a Radio 4 afternoon play

about a working-class boy who raised a lion cub under his bed.

Note how easy it is for the mind to nod off at the rudder, but frankly that’s the trick. So before I know it I’ve piped a delicate line

of Future Hit around a triangle of ripstop with all the delicacy

of the master cake-decorator applying a blushing smile to his icing-sugar bride.

My darling, if I embedded a long, moon-coloured sliver

of your priceless hair beneath this thick line of Midnight Boom

could it be our secret till our dying breath?

Freight, Howlin’ Rain, Boards of Canada – properly blended

they form the most eye-catching shade but one yet to be named.

Acrylics summon me to the dancefloor!

Sure these paintings are loud, but do I look like a mouse?

It’s chaos in here but a kind which I understand and call home.

There must always be a small corner of rapture, otherwise what’s the point?

And all the while I’m tapping my feet to the colours, going at it with brushes or knives

until the world looks for all the world like it sounds.

Simon Armitage


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