Coales' notes: Eliminate the positive: Gordon Coales recovers from an embarrassing delusion about the arts

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The Independent Culture
MONDAY: So, there it is. I have been under the most terrible, unbelievable delusion. I just cannot conceive what on earth can have happened to me. How could I ever have imagined I had a mission to save the arts in Britain? How could I have sent out that message?

And still the letters from assorted nutters and arts casualties continue to arrive. 'To Gordon Coales: The Helper. I have been waiting 30 years. Thanks.' (I don't think Ars Longa can have any idea who's on their mailing list.)

But yet, when Di and I met that man from Schlacht beer 10 days ago - something happened; I felt some power in me, and it seemed to have an effect. And, I wonder, is this actually the secret? Did the same thing happen to Serota and Isaacs and Palumbo at some point - but they simply never came back to their senses? I'm going to take things very quietly now, try and put the whole thing behind me. I have been making a list of people I have to apologise to.

TUESDAY: This is not what I need. Di rang - 'Gordon, I want to thank you for what you did. You worked wonders with Bop. Schlacht's in the bag. You were truly inspirational. I mean, wow.' She went on: 'And I got that message you sent out, that kind of rallying call - quite amazing. And I want to tell you that things are really going for me too now; I've picked up some of your energies.' She said she was now talking to another lot of people about sponsorship - and it was thanks to 'this new positive you' somehow. 'So hey, positive feelings, let's do it.'

I replied, well, how interesting, that sounded good. She said, 'Gordon? Oh no - you're back to normal, aren't you?' I said, yes, I thought I was, just about. She said: 'But you can't be. I've already told them; I've got this, like, amazingly inspirational colleague, who they absolutely have to meet.' I said, oh goodness. She sounded a bit panicky: 'You've got to get it back, Gordon, you've got to get it back. I'm coming up.'

THURSDAY: Di came up. Most difficult. I told her it had just been an inexplicable aberration, very embarrassing, but all over now. 'So, you drove out to the motorway. And then you stopped in a lay-by. And then, you were filled with this overwhelming sense of mission to kind of re-activate the arts.' I agreed it sounded ridiculous. She said: 'Come on, let's get in the car. Can you remember which lay-by it was?' I told her it was no good - whatever happened, it wasn't going to happen again, and I'd rather not think about it. She left, saying I was throwing away something really big. I said: oh yes, keep Gordon mad, the clients love it. Di: 'You could do much worse, you know that.'

Then I opened today's post. 'ROGER ROGER GORDON COALES ATTACK LEADER WILCO ZERO MINUS FIVE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL HERITAGE A SUITABLY EXPLOSIVE AND FIRE-RAISING DEVICE AWAITING YOUR SIGNAL CODE WORD A JOY FOREVER THE BACKROOM BOYS OVER.' I have unleashed something very dark.

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