Taking a life drawing class that Berlusconi would be proud of - all in the name of being a good dad

Man About Town

Getting married makes you think about children. Everyone starts asking you about them, so you start thinking about what sort of parent you’ll be and the myriad ways you could mess them up. But one thing I don’t want to mess up were I to have children is teaching them to draw.

When they ask me to draw a chicken, I don’t want it to end up looking like a potato. For some that is a very real possibility. I hope that they will one day be better at everything than me, but for some things I don’t want it to be embarrassingly soon.

Of course it’s easier at first. Small children can usually only manage giant-headed stick men, with eyes in places only Picasso would put them. But in no time, they’ll be managing much more and you want to wait until they are older than you until they start laughing at your failings.

This thought had been pecking away inside my mind when I received an invitation to a life drawing class at Bunga Bunga. This restaurant and bar, you may have spotted, was named after the game allegedly played during clothing-optional parties hosted by former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi. Despite the name, I was assured that nothing untoward was planned that evening.

As the name also suggests, it’s a venue that doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the gondola-shaped bar to Eurovision nights (with gigs from former contestants) to Italian conversation classes, the venue doesn’t want to be the same as any old bar.

The owners Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling have had other London successes with Barts, a speakeasy-style bar hidden in a block of flats and an 80s-themed nightclub called Maggies (yes, after Thatcher), cleverly realising that people actually like quirky fun places.

It was good to be doing life drawing in continental surrounds, as sitting that close to a naked person you’re not sleeping with feels decidedly un-English. But when it came down to the actual sketching, I wasn’t nearly as bad as I had initially worried.

The instructor gave me helpful pointers and those, combined with the fact that my mind was focused on the charcoal in hand and not making a horrible smudgy mess, meant that I wasn’t the worst there.

If I keep practising, I feel as though I might not humiliate my offspring with my bad artwork. Instead I can save the embarrassment until they’re older when I offer to take them to a life drawing class.

Twitter.com/lukeblackall

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future