Tracey Emin: My Life In A Column

'I crash-landed in London like a giant flamingo speeding down the runway, gullet wide open...'
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Have you seen the BBC hippos? Every time I watch them - their little feet; the baby one that joins in at the end - I'm lulled into a whole sense of enchantment. It's probably one of my favourite, most comforting things of the year. And what's strange is when I mention it to other people, their faces light up with glee. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there that still cherishes the old-fashioned sense of security.

The thing that scares me most at the moment is time. The way it just seems to flash by. It's a cliché, but as we get older it does seem to move faster. Time that is. I seem to move slower. I'm not as agile as I used to be. I can't bend and put myself into many awkward shapes without looking extremely uncomfortable.

I can't believe a year has gone by since Elton and David's wedding, which was one of my high highlights of last year. And then there was the weeks detoxing in Australia. And I'm talking hardcore! No wheat, no gluten, no sugar, no fat. And, of course, no alcohol. I actually carried on not drinking for five weeks. Until I crash-landed into London like a giant flamingo speeding down the runway of Heathrow, gullet wide open...

People tell me my column is really boring when I just go on about drink all the time. Obviously, alcohol doesn't affect them as much as it does me. So I won't write about drinking! I'll just miss that one out and carry on with the highs and the lows.

Having my brains shagged out by a guy who dresses like a Womble was definitely high on my list! Along with having the most amazing time in Istanbul. Sometimes I just forget how Mediterranean I am. People often ask me which half of me is Turkish? I say: "The bottom of course!"

I'm quite scared to talk about it, due to my creative block - VENICE MENICE! Yes, yes, yes, definitely a massive highlight of the year! Undoubtedly the best phone call I've ever had. Especially as I really thought the phone call was to tell me that I wasn't going to represent Britain. I spent most of my life understanding disappointment; having to deal with it and at times even fight it off, like some vile enemy that really wants to kick me when I least need it.

The news about Venice was, as the expression goes, the icing on the cake. It's weird how there are so many sayings about cake. All three of them: icing on the cake; let them eat cake; you can't have your cake and eat it; no good crying about spilt cake.

Oh, I'm really happy today! Maybe it's because I'm just worth so much more money than the editor of this newspaper! Check out lot 33. Oh, and I keep telling the editor to mention this, along with the drawing class, I'm sure there will be a drawing thrown in. (Depending upon the diligence and tenacity of the student!).

Let's go back to the highs and lows. Bringing out three books and one DVD. My paperback; my giant, fuck-off 400-page coffee-table book published by Rizzoli; a monograph by Neal Brown published by Tate, and a DVD of TopSpot distributed by Tartan Video. All of this sounds very good and very commendable and should really come into the highs, but I'm telling you book signings, any signings, really come into my lows, especially as I projectile vomited all the way down the stairs at my last signing at Waterstone's in Piccadilly. A nice couple were pointing at me saying; "Look, there's Tracey Emin." The next thing I had two security guards escorting me into the gents. That moment really knocked me for six and took me weeks to get over.

This year has just been full of so much pressure. When I was little I would suffer the most terrible migraine headaches. At the beginning I used to bang my head against a wall and as I got older I understood what to do. Just be very quiet in a dark room with either a very hot or a very cold towel behind my neck and bend my head back as far as I could. But sometimes the only thing that would relieve the pressure and the pain was some incensed, bilious attack, where vomit would fly out of me like a scene from the exorcist. I was told that these fits or attacks were probably due to my teeth - the pressure going up into my brain. But I don't think it was that - I think it was purely pressure, like in the bookshop. That day I actually needed to be somewhere else. And I probably needed to be someone else. It's very difficult to go out in the world when you're not happy with yourself. It makes you feel like you're a liar.

This last year, no matter how good, I have felt somehow very clumsy. I have been stumbling and falling - literally and metaphorically - and I really don't want next year to be like that! I'm going to change things. This week I changed my phone number after 10 years. It made me feel quite sad. Bye, bye little numbers. And no matter how much I loved you, there's plenty more where you came from!

Anyway, this column is all over the place and that's because I've been partying too much, and that's because it's Christmas! So, for fear of not wanting to sound too humbug to everyone who enjoys reading my column, and even to those that don't, Happy, Happy 2007! The numbers are a lot, lot better than last year.

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