Coales' Notes: Picasso: pure bull

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The Independent Culture
TUESDAY: It is imperative that I come to a decision. Di has been on the phone almost continually. Have I had a relapse? Have I resigned from Ars Longa yet? Am I genuinely interested in coming with her? Who am I working for? Can I please make up my mind and let her know?

I asked her if she'd been listening to any of the current Reith lectures. Very interesting, a dazzling display of erudition, and all about the powerful influence of myth upon our lives, but personally I felt rather left behind by the argument. Because what it made me realise was that myth had had all too little influence on my life - and this was perhaps my basic problem.

She said: 'Oh, do wake up.'

THURSDAY: Today I received a communication from 'all at Ars Longa' - 'Wishing you the speediest of recoveries. Might this help?' Enclosed was a leaflet. It said:

To coincide with the Tate Gallery's historic exhibition, the Man Enough Men's Group will be holding


Picasso. The biggest name in modern art. Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Crispin Crispiniano Santisima Trinidad Zanahoria en Forma de Pene Ruiz Picasso.

Genius? Madman? Animal? God?

A positive model for contemporary masculinity?

A weekend of seminars, workshops, ritual, creativity, thumping and other Picasso-based activities will explore the relevance - and the risks - of Picasso's extraordinary powers to the lives of men today.

For instance, did you know?

Picasso could transform everyday objects into works of art just by looking at them

He had fantastically powerful eyesight

He claimed to have invented Cubism while doing something else

He identified so strongly with the bull that many bulls recognised him as a brother

According to the critic John Berger, Picasso was born in the mesolithic period and literally catapulted into the 20th century

He said 'I am Picasso'

He distorted bodies with his bare hands

His most famous painting Guernica, is widely believed to have anticipated, or perhaps to have caused, the Second World War

He wore underpants openly

He once had three women on the go at the same time, by keeping each of them locked in a separate beach hut

The master of disguise, he remained essentially a child

Total baldness left his energies undiminished

The weekend will be guest-led by Thomas Robert Hogg. The inspirational author of such titles as Eviva Picasso - the Man, the Mask, the Monster, the Myth and the Magic; 'Excuse me, Demoiselle': Picasso's Secret Love Techniques; The Picasso Plan: Ten Ways to Completely Revolutionise Your Business and Matisse Is for Wimps, Tom Hogg has devoted a lifetime's study to 'Picassology' and its application to the problems of everyday life.

In his most recent book, Pablo - Hunting the Hairy Child, he argues that, now more than ever, Picasso's example should be central to the empowerment of men in the Nineties.

Says Hogg: 'Men have increasingly lost their way. Torn between the ever more rampant and destructive demands of feminism, and the confusing signals sent out by the men's movement, they have forgotten something essential to their well-being. But even if we are not gifted with his prodigious abilities, what we can learn from a supreme artist like Picasso is the creative and healing power of total selfishness. As we approach the millennium, this is the journey ahead.'

NB: Underwear will be supplied.

Now I think I may very well go on this.