Tit for tat

Christian, my brother, is currently working as an artist-in-residence at a small boarding school in Essex. He lives an implausible existence in a flat above the boys’ boarding house, sparingly furnished from local secondhand shops and centred around my dad’s old gramophone which holds pride of place in the corner of the living room. An old commode serves as a coffee table, and in the kitchen there is an incongruous doormat, glued to the floor to conceal the spot where a previous incumbent’s whippet dug a hole in the floor.

My guest blogger Mattias Thomas’s latest poem, The King of the High Chaparral, relates to a series of paintings Christian has been doing (among his other work) since he arrived at the school at the beginning of the academic year. On his own in new surroundings and a bare studio, he began painting a ‘pack of cards’ – 52 fairly small portraits of his friends and acquaintances. As he finishes each one, he places it round the edge of the room, so that at time of writing 42 of his compadres now watch him as he works.

You can see the card portraits thus far in this Facebook album, and Mattias’s poem is here.

Finally, in the spirit of joining things up, this is Christian’s card portrait of the poet himself.

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