Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

All my Turkish roots came back to me as I shoved tenners down a belly-dancer's bra
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Oh, I forgot I had to do the Robert Elms show, but I am going to do it in a minute. Oh, I forgot I had to do my column. Oh, I forgot about getting the survey done on my new studio. And oh, I forgot how drunk I get, but being drunk and happy is very different from being drunk and sad, and this week I've got a lot to celebrate.

Oh, I forgot I had to do the Robert Elms show, but I am going to do it in a minute. Oh, I forgot I had to do my column. Oh, I forgot about getting the survey done on my new studio. And oh, I forgot how drunk I get, but being drunk and happy is very different from being drunk and sad, and this week I've got a lot to celebrate.

Every day it seems like something wonderful happens. I have been reprieved. One minute I'm on the gallows with a noose around my neck; the next moment I'm walking from north Foreland to Margate, strutting my way through the Isle of Thanet, trying to remember all the shipping codes - dogger alpha blah blah blah.

Tiny beautiful wild flowers, perched on amazing white cliffs. I feel like I'm walking through a dream, and every other person that walks past me with their dog or children says, "Hello Tracey, that's our girl from Margate." And I know you shouldn't feel proud for yourself, but I do because it wasn't always like that. Nothing can spoil this paradise.

I can't believe I'm surrounded by such lovely people. My team that help me every day, they help me do what I have to do, that is making art. Instead of giving them a bonus, or taking them to New York for the weekend, I thought it would be good to help them show their art, THE GROUP SHOW.

Oh fuck, it opens tonight. I actually don't have time to write this, I have to make sure everything is OK. Yesterday I turned into the Alan Sugar of the art world - I can't believe how inept and stupid people can be doing stuff for themselves, and how fantastic and reliable they can be doing stuff for others.

High and dry

I'm so happy being single - smelly and single. Well, I was yesterday. If anyone lives in the City or in E1, they'll know exactly what I'm talking about. There was no water for hours. And there was no explanation. I said to the lady behind the counter in the sweetshop, as the person next to me brought eight bottles of water (like there was going to be a nuclear holocaust), "You should wear gloves today," and I looked at the water and winked. Then I started to think about all the cafés and all the bars, the florist, every business that needs water.

It was then I had my Galileo moment. I knew I was a bit dirty, but I had a mad desire to be wet, I had to swim. Just as I arrived outside the health club, an alarm was going off, The fire alarm. The first person out of the place was my friend Dinos (as in the Chapman Brothers). And he was followed by a stream of scantly-clad high powered city gents, some wearing nothing but a towel.

As me and Dinos did art talk, we were ushered into the main square. It was then I realised fire alarms were going off in every building. Groups of stockbrokers were being guided by loudhailers. It was at this point Dinos and I, being lateral thinkers, decided to get out of there. Lots of fire alarms, no water. I do enjoy conspiracy theories.

For example, if I got killed in a car accident in a tunnel in Paris, we would definitely know how it happened. But why be a sitting target? At least keep moving.

Stage fright

Going back to the noose - and the reprieve: by being an artist I can't really express the pressure I'm under. The world can be so unforgiving and have so many expectations. And on top of that you have to be free and creative.

I realise that being close to me after the last few months must have been like being next to a giant boil that's about to erupt. Like I was saying to my mate Ronnie Wood last night (who says "Trace, if you drop any more names the floorboards are gonna break, boom, boom"), I couldn't imagine going on stage every night, having to perform, I couldn't imagine how that feels.

Maybe this is why musicians, and actors can be such luvvies. Having to turn it on night after night. At this point I have to give a high five to my mate Val, Not only has the mountain lion got to go on stage every night, he has got to be sexy. None of these men are getting any younger.

Me? I'm still recovering from my party at Momo. Did that belly dancer show me how to dance! All my Turkish roots came back to me as I shoved tenners down her bra. But some things in life are worth paying for - especially two tits rotating clockwise and anticlockwise, on the same person (and no, it wasn't Sharon Stone).

Sorry to anyone who got my irritating text messages this week, but I don't send too many, I choose who I send them to. But I would like to send the whole world this one: I'm as happy as a sunbeam. Buy the T-shirt, read the book, go see the show.

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