As part of the annual Glossop Open Cemeteries event, I was invited to review a series of site-specific installations which some of these arty types had, er, installed in carefully designated mausolea around the county. Well, as you know, I'm a regular attendee at these arty events and so off I went in anticipation of warm white wine and peanuts, and called at my first family vault.
It was staffed by a lugubrious young man with '****' tattooed on his forehead. No, he didn't actually have a row of asterisks engraved on his bonce; more that I'm aware that Auntie Florrie may be reading this and rude words give her heartburn. He offered me what looked like liquid manure from a hip flask. I tasted it and found my initial impression to be correct. Then I asked about the artwork. He pointed to a set of headphones resting on the capstone of the monument.
"It's for a sound installation," he explained. "But there ain't no electricity or running water in there, so you can't actually listen to it."
"I thought this was supposed to be, ahem, site-specific!" (I raised one eyebrow in the manner of James Bond).
"It IS site-specific," he protested. "It's just that it's specific to a different site".
Just then, my old friend Bogg arrived. He was wearing his usual donkey jacket which looked as though it had spent the night with its namesake. I once had a cucumber reduce itself to mush in my fridge over a period of several months, and the aroma was similar. He didn't attempt to find any artwork, and when I left he was still engaged in a struggle over the hip flask with the tattooed tippler - a scenario fairly typical of Bogg's art appreciation activities.
I wiped a blob of marmalade from my map and set off in pursuit of my next exhibit.
The next family tomb was remarkable only for its lack of family. There was nevertheless an old tramp making himself comfortable in there. He threw an earthworm at me and uttered a terse, Anglo-Saxon expression. "Oh," thought I. "Not much chance even of a cup of tea here then", and turned to go. He called me back and offered me a dirty scrap of paper with 'Benedict Ping - artist statement' written at the top. It went on to explain:
'As subtle derivatives become frozen through studious and repetitive practice, the viewer is left with a hymn to the outposts of our era...'
I read no further. If I can't spot the inane ramblings of an Arty Bollocks generator, then who can?
I might add that some of these family vaults are situated in some pretty out-of-the-way places, and my next one involved a trip across an area of quicksand, a wood known to be inhabited by werewolves and a sheer 20' drop.
I teetered on the brink of the quicksand. I could see the top of an artistic-looking toupée and a cheese sandwich (with a bite taken out it) floating on the surface. I turned back, dropped into our local off-licence and speedily liberated a bottle of single malt while the owner was remonstrating with a bunch of hoodies.
Sitting by my own fireside, I reflected on what a very arty day it had been, and how highly I recommend the tour to anyone who's hoping to shed a relative or two en route.