how to win the Turner Prize

1. Do: Team up with a partner. Use only your first names, which ideally should both begin with a 'G'. Call yourselves a "living sculpture", cover yourselves in gold paint and sing a music-hall song - "Underneath the Arches" would do. Later in your career, be sure to make giant colour photographs that look like stained glass. Your subject matter might include young boys, yourselves, naked and pieces of excrement.

Don't: Paint a picture of the interior of a music hall. Forget anything to do with ballet dancers, even if your name is De Gas or Sickert.

2. Do: Paint enigmatic abstract oils, intended to evoke the memory of a particular place and time. You can refer to a place or a person in the title, but on no account make them recognisable. Remember to paint the frame as well, and to keep them small. Do it for 20 years and it should get you the Turner Prize. If you're lucky you'll even get a knighthood.

Don't: Paint a landscape. Forget about hay wains and the Alps. If you must have sunsets or views of Venice, just use bands of colour. Forget Constable. Who needs nature anyway? And don't go looking at Claude and Poussin. You will get Brian Sewell on your side; and that will kill your chances stone dead.

3. Do: Make a series of casts of your own body. That should be enough to make your name. For your attempt at the prize, why not get a team of helpers to make rough clay models of thousands of tiny figures? Then arrange them in a group on the floor of a national museum and organise a world tour for them - to unite mankind.

Don't: Paint a genre picture. Anything on the lines of Frith's Derby Day is right out. In particular avoid any narrative content. Even if you're Scottish, it will ensure that you never make it on to the short list.

4. Do: Make a cast of your bedroom and call it something suitably inscrutable, like Ghost. Then, when you've got enough people wondering what it's all about, do the same thing with an entire house. It will be condemned (literally) by the local council, but remember - all artists have to suffer. And don't worry, it's sure to get you the prize. Chances are you'll even get a couple of ex-pop stars to double your prize money. (If this does happen, be sure to give it all away - it's better for the image.)

Don't: Paint a still-life. Fruit, jugs, bottles, flowers are strictly de trop. Avoid cosy pub interiors too, and domestic scenes entitled anything like Ennui or Mr and Mrs Clarke and Percy.

5. Do: Explore the interior of your own body with a micro video camera. Concentrate on all the orifices and don't leave anything to the imagination.

Present the finished film in a walk-in booth with an ear- jarringly loud, stomach-churning soundtrack recording of the probe making its way through your tubes. Make sure that your name is something that seems to go with the piece - Groaner or Moaner, for example, or something along those lines.

Don't: Paint a self-portrait. Who wants to see what you look like anyway?

6. Do: Pickle a shark, then a sheep. Stage a few publicity stunts. Finally, saw a horse and a foal in half and pickle them. Call them something poignant like Father and Son Divided. By this stage you'll be notorious - and very rich.

Don't: Paint a picture of an animal. Who needs them when you've got the real thing?

Live coverage of the ceremony is featured on 'Without Walls: The Turner Prize' tonight 9pm C4.

Turner Prize exhibition(including Damien Hirst's 'Mother and Child Divided', featured above) is at the Tate Gallery, Millbank, London SW1 (0171-887 8000) until 3 December.

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Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


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