Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

If I slept with all the people I liked I'd spend all my time in bed - that's why love's so important
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The Independent Online

Maybe I should explain myself a little after last week's column - I hope I didn't come across as too self-righteous. For example, I don't masturbate. But if I ate chocolate I definitely would. In fact no living thing would be safe with me around. I stupidly once ate a chocolate mousse on a BA flight to Berlin. My God, did those chambermaids in the Grand Hyatt have a lot of cleaning to do. It's like sex, it's like drinking, it's like anything. If I slept with all the people I liked I'd spend all my time in bed. That's why love's so important - I'd give everything up for love.

Last night, on my way to a lecture on lidos and open-air swimming pools, the cab driver said: "Don't I know you from somewhere?" In such situations I'm always tempted to say, in a very Ali G way: "Ya man - it's woman from TV." That's what the Bangladeshi boys say when they see me walking down the street. Back to Mr Cab Driver... at this point I told him he was going the wrong way. He said: "Right way, wrong way, I would go any way for you." I said: "No, you really are going the wrong way."

He shook his head, turned off the meter and said: "This one's on me." We then played a game in which he had to guess what I did, and I had to guess what he did before The Knowledge. My first guess - ex-footballer - was right. He then asked me out about 100 times. I was really laughing. I said to him: "'Okay then, what happens on the date, when you pick me up? Where do I sit?" As we got to my destination he said he was very tempted to lock the doors and drive off with me. I just laughed and said: "And then what?"

Bad sex

Well, I've been cramming my brain with all sorts of stuff this week. I went to the cinema to see The Festival, with Eric and Joe, who lives in my cottage (never has a name been so apt). We loved it. We laughed. I've never seen a film with such bad sex in. At one point you see a fully erect penis, but it's still bad sex.

And then the highlight of the week was me, and 10 of my friends, going to see The Postman Always Rings Twice. Again. Yes, it's hard work being my mate Val's No 2 fan. But it was brilliant.

I'd never seen a play twice before. The play itself becomes an entity that has a natural evolution, and it was good as I now have a proper perspective on it - unlike the first time, when I was just so nervous. And it was great to sit in a theatre that was full.

I can't believe what actors have to do, especially on stage night after night. If I were an actor I would be flaking all over the place. I could never have the stamina.

Spirals go both ways

It's funny how in life, whenever you're low or depressed, or you feel a bit hurt or bruised, you really do need to pick yourself up. It's the faith thing that's so important. I used to do this really bad thing; when something went wrong I would just start to add up every failure in my life, every hurt, every fear - and I would plummet. It would be like a long, downward spiral. Nowadays I put the brakes on, but it's a conscious thing, I have to work at it.

In 1997, I was in the French House, really, really drunk having a great time. One phone call later, I found out that my mum was in intensive care, on a life-support machine. I lay alone in her bedroom, surrounded by all her things, crying myself to sleep.

I had a dream that my mum was climbing up a mountain path, it was a Wile E Coyote cartoon mountain. My mum was carrying me on her shoulders and she kept saying, "we are not there yet". My mum survived, but now I can see the spiral in a positive way, it doesn't have to go down.

This week I took the girls from my studio out. Sometimes in this situation I feel like a bit of a mother hen. The next day I had to do hair, make-up, photo shoot, interview, while they were all vomiting. I must admit I did find it funny. You see, they're the ones who are usually looking after me.

Onwards and upwards with my mental replacement programme. Can't wait to get that book back in my hand. People are saying I look beautiful, but it's how I feel. And tonight it is Greek Tragedy with Vivienne Westwood. So many doors, so many surprises.

Tracey Emin is on holiday and will be for the rest of her life