Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

Sharon Stone, Jack Nicholson and Docket my middle-aged cat, who refuses to party
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The Independent Online

What is the difference between me and Sharon Stone? We're both in our forties, both successful women. She is blonde, I am brunette. She has police protection in the East End - and I don't. Now I don't want to be a prima donna, but I am really, really, really pissed off about it.

What is the difference between me and Sharon Stone? We're both in our forties, both successful women. She is blonde, I am brunette. She has police protection in the East End - and I don't. Now I don't want to be a prima donna, but I am really, really, really pissed off about it.

Let me tell you how this has happened. Sharon Stone is filming around the corner from my house. Unbeknown to her, the locals are up in arms. Countless residential parking bays are filled up with trucks and lorries. First thing in the morning it is walkie-talkie madness. Streets are cordoned off with tape, countless gazebos have sprung up and security guards are telling us we can't walk up and down our own roads. After four days of this, tension is running high. So the film company has hired two policemen of its own to patrol the streets. When I asked them what they were doing there and they told me it was private hire, I said: "well, can we book you?" and they kind of looked at me like I couldn't afford it. Anyway, what's good enough for Sharon Stone is good enough for me and my neighbours. Good old-fashioned community policing.

There are tons of police around today: small ones, fat ones, brown ones, all kinds. It's election day and for the first time in my life I haven't voted Labour. I expect to be struck by lightning any moment now.

Wet dreams

The highlight of my week was Val Kilmer inviting me to see The Postman Only Rings Twice, starring a very sexy Jack Nicholson. It's amazing when you see him and Jessica Lange together; almost impossible to imagine they didn't have an affair. (I'm sure this film had a major effect on me. I once dreamt that Jack Nicholson shagged me in a swimming pool - and there were two things that were great about this dream: one, the sex was fantastic and two, the swimming pool was on a roof in New York. I'd never been to New York before - it was my first time - and, as he banged away, I looked up in wonder and awe at the fantastic New York skyline.)

Do you know what's really fascinating about The Postman Only Rings Twice? Not just the sex - and the fact that Jack met Angelica Huston on set - but the cats. Big cats, small cats. High five for top meow.

Magnificat

It was my cat Docket's birthday on Sunday and I made a stupid mistake. I texted everybody informing them of this fact. Docket wasn't having any of it. No party. He was a small cat who wanted my undivided attention. When I try to explain to people that my kindred spirit and soulmate is a cat they think I'm trying to be cute. Whereas 400 years ago they would have drowned me.

I once went to Niagara Falls, the temperature was below freezing, and the falls were just about to freeze over. It was an incredible sight, something magical, time suspended. There is a museum at Niagara Falls which plots the course of the first Niagara settlers. The insane, suicidal pastime of barrel-rolling, for those not in the know: when life had reached rock bottom you put yourself inside a barrel and hurled yourself over the falls. If you survived, instant fame, celebrity and financial gain would be yours.

Along with the barrel-rolling display, there is a room full of Egyptian artefacts. In a giant glass vitrine lies an entire mummified family, father, mother, two small children and three cats. At first you wonder how the whole family died together at the same time. But they didn't - after the father's death of natural causes it was only proper that the rest of the family should join him. The mother poisons the children, then the cats, then herself.

In this case, the mother is screaming, mouth wide open; she didn't want to go. But what is great about this for me is that the fact the cats are given the same importance as the rest of the family. I have had Docket for five years - in cat years that makes him 35. We are both middle-aged, I have said countless times, if I had a choice of death, I would like to die the same day as Docket.

The idea of unconditional love, is something most people would never know. I suppose your children should be loved unconditionally, but if people are honest they always have their favourite child. I have thought many times about getting another cat, I even lay around thinking of names Mushroom, Ping-Pong, what colour it would be. If I had another cat it would not be for my benefit but so Docket would not have to depend on me. He could have a friend in the cat world. But I honestly could not share my affections. I think this is essentially part of my loyal character.

That is why today not voting Labour was really difficult for me, we all fuck up, we all make mistakes. But we should be big enough to admit them .

So, to the hat-check girl at the club on Sunday, you know who you are, I am so sorry for my stupid, drunken behaviour. And to my gallery owner, I am so sorry I ruined your silk carpet. Saying sorry is just the beginning, now I have to make sure it won't happen again. Shame Tony Blair won't at least make a promise and keep to it.

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