Poor But Sexy 4

I have an article published in the latest issue of Poor But Sexy, available to purchase from here:



Lazy eyes

I like to think I work hard. I work full-time in a job which mainly involves standing and/or sitting around. And then I come home and make my creative stuff, which mainly involves standing and/or sitting around and/or typing. Like this blog post, for example.

It dawned on me today just how lazy one can be – and that’s the Royal ‘One’ – when I noticed my glasses were getting mucky and decided to do the only elegant and dignified thing a lady can do in such a situation and ceremoniously wiped-them-on-my-t-shirt-a-bit. Not that this was the lazy thing. What this action triggered in my memory was how I came to be wearing glasses today. I don’t mean short-sightedness, which is what I have had since I was eight years old, I mean why I wore glasses today and not contact lenses, as per.


I usually wear contact lenses every day and have done since I was sixteen. There are 2 main reasons for this. 1) I genuinely find glasses a bit annoying to wear. It’s as though my nose and ears are now not only responsible for smell, taste, hearing and balance, but also making sure some plastic stuff stays on my face. 2) When I was ten, during a football match, someone blasted the ball into my tiny child face (with their foot. I realise ‘blast’ taken literally suggests the – in this case, unreasonable – use of explosives) and my glasses shattered into a thousand (four or five) pieces. And it hurt. Then, for the last three years the reason is slightly different. I fell asleep in my glasses one too many times and the snapped at the bridge. This is when the Blu-Tack was applied and I did not leave the house wearing glasses after this time.

The day I finally went to the optician to get a new pair, I was so embarrassed about my DIY handicraft that I actually walked through the streets of Croydon without any optical assistance, knowing only that the optician would probably be the big black blob after the big beige blog that is Centrale Shopping Centre.

I went in and was guided to the optician.

“I’ve seen many things in my time [in my profession as an optician],” she said,  but I’ve never seen someone hold their glasses together with Blu-Tack.”

There was an awkward pause, before she added

“Sellotape, yes. But not Blu-Tac”

Then she fired tiny puffs of air into my pupils (optic, not academic) and made me stare at a tiny picture of a cottage through something resembling a telescope. I assume this was some kind of punishment and took it as such.

But I got some new glasses and now, my life has changed for the lazier. If I’m feeling in the slightest bit sleepy or running the tiniest bit late, the glasses go on and my contact lenses stay at home, all alone, ‘cleansing’ in separate cells, in a kind of saline-based suspended animation.

I’m even too lazy to finish this bl

There Will be No Spectacle

I stumbled across this old piece of writing today on my hard-drive and was surprised to find that I’m still very proud of it.

I originally wrote this for the Frieze Writer’s Prize, 2008. I didn’t win, of course.


There Will Be No Spectacle

You Dig the Tunnel, I’ll Hide the Soil, White Cube and

Shoreditch Town Hall, London, 4 Apr—10 May 2008

Match report by Charlotte Young

Player-manager Harland Miller and assistant coach Irene Bradbury’s team produced a disappointing result at their recent visit to the White Cube via Shoreditch Town Hall. Contrived and predictable, Miller had chosen, perhaps ill-advisedly to play a 4-5-1 formation for a performance desperately needing a strong sense of solidarity in order to tackle the potentially troublesome theme of the show – the work of celebrated gothic writer Edgar Allen Poe. Once outfield, the team exasperated the crowd, preferring to hold ground in midfield for the majority of the game, rather than to risk any direct or definite group attack.

Poor visibility and an uneven surface underfoot meant a slow and clumsy start in Shoreditch. The first goal was eventually scored 18 minutes into the first half at the Town Hall end. Jason Schulman’s clever attack, a small black mirror that when breathed upon revealed an etched portrait of Poe, was bang on target. 11 minutes later he clocked up a second with ‘Halo’. Superbly placed into the top right-hand corner, the powerful unearthly glow of the solitary gas candle proved pundits, many of who doubted the young Londoner’s ability up front, badly mistaken. A wise selection choice by Miller. Seconds later the tables almost turned when Cooper-Clarke, positioned controversially, but not for the first time on the back line, was forced to produce a fine diving save caused by his manager’s blunder – a steel sensory deprivation tank – with his eerie recitation of ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ apparently radiating from the container. Overall, however, the first 45 minutes ended with the side looking tired and lacklustre.

The second half kicked off to greater anticipation at the more extravagant White Cube end. Again, the team seemed to find it difficult to gain momentum. A series of conceited and ungainly paintings struggled to keep possession in the box for the next 20 minutes, and were only redeemed by an unexpected tap-in over the line by the late Angus Fairhurst. Poached from the recent controversial advert for Opium perfume, the blacked-out image of Sophie Dahl in death throe-like pose held a marked resonance over the fans following young Fairhurst’s untimely suicide.

The fourth and final goal of the match came from a classic set piece by Mike Nelson. Connecting with a long ball inexpertly crossed from Miller’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ downfield in the Hoxton Square, Nelson once again saved the day for his floundering boss. The sinister and brooding ‘Melnais Kakis (The Black Cat)’ was whacked into the roof of the net by a spectacular overhead kick. Nelson has been scoring left, right and centre this season, and is almost certainly being marked out by other managers for a possible transfer in the near future.

Miller and Bradbury’s star players have produced a predictably generic, yet admittedly effective outcome through sheer perseverance. Most of the team put in an officious but average performance, with the exception of the goal scorers and a couple other key figures. Miller needs to take time out to analyse the match and carefully consider the performance of each player. Only 4 goals from 36 internationally acclaimed pros – translating roughly to a 1-0 win from an 11-a-side team – is a dismaying result given the premise.

Brazilian wingback Roberto Carlos, on describing his time as a player under the management of current England incumbent Fabio Capello whilst at Real Madrid, also incidentally succeeds in summing up the viewer’s experience of this particular display with considerable accuracy:

“There will be no spectacle, it will be 1-0, 1-0, 1-0… But the team will always be there, correctly set up and balanced on the pitch. And always winning.”*

The group of artists formerly known as the yBas, now joined by their similarly bloody-minded contemporaries, are sticking with what they know best and playing the familiar tactics from their much-applauded back catalogue. But, compared to most of the competition, yes, they are still winning. Just.

You Dig the Tunnel, I’ll Hide the Soil (4-5-1): Cooper-Clarke; J Wilson, D Chapman, J Chapman, L Wilson; Fairhurst, Nelson, Gordon, Schneider, Marclay; Shulman.

Substitutes: Bremner, Craft, Emin, Fritsch, Fryer, Furnas, Graham, Harvey, Henning, Hirst, Kiefer, Lane, Martin, Miller, Morgan, Plessen, Howarth Rashman, Schnabel, Schoerner, Shaw, Sherman, Skreber, Steinitz, Tomaselli, Wyn Evans.

Goals: Schulman 18, 29, Fairhurst 62, Nelson 80

Man of the Match: J Schulman

Referee (not present): E A Poe (U.S.A.)

* From Capello: The First Interview, Tim Adams, The Observer Sport Monthly, June 2008.