Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

I took great pleasure in taking out my teeth and smiling at the letchy men - that scared 'em
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The Independent Online

Where's a tree surgeon when you need one? Yellow pages - let your fingers do the walking. Sorry. We don't cut trees in August.

Remember a few months ago I said: "Your garden is the mirror to your life?" Well last week, just before I was about to go off on holiday, I looked out of the window to see a vision of pure insanity. My rose bush had gone ballistic. A matted web of thorns completely engulfed by a crazy, selfish, belligerent wisteria. The ivy - man, it was evil.

I hacked my way through it, engulfed by small spiders and dust. After two hours of fascist pruning and a look of total shock on Dockett's face, as if to say: "Mummy's gone mental", I was left with a pile of branches and leaves a good five feet high - it's a jungle out there.

You see, it wouldn't have mattered if I hadn't been going away, but it's like the situation of being run over when you're wearing dirty underwear. The idea of the plane crashing and people saying: "The state of her garden!"

I was in the steam rooms with my friend the Viennese artist Elka Kyrustafek, or Krusty as I like to call her, and she said: "Tracey, how come you never have sex with people?" I said to her: "I do, sometimes. People just jump on me, but it is always when my pubic hair has got really long and way out of control." At that she looked down at the perfect neat triangle and said: "Ah, so I see you leave nothing to chance."

Once, I didn't have sex for more than two years. When I finally did, I weighed myself the next day and, you know, I was four pounds lighter - there's got to be something in it. Where does cum come from? Do we go round storing it like small camels? Ah, the mysteries of life. Must lose some weight.

It was fantastic being on holiday. Sometimes I like to go on holiday on my own. I go to Northern Cyprus and stay in a really cheap little place that has a tiny kitchen. Every morning I make my breakfast and watch a very crackly BBC World. Sometimes I watch Turkish football, and the managers have fights on screen. I love it when that happens. I go to bed really early and I get up really late and guess what? I don't drink. My only major form of indulgence is the text messaging.

I hire a mountain bike and I cycle along the old Roman roads (they aren't actually Roman, but you know what I mean. They're old, right, but, when I think about it, not that straight, but then what is straight in Rome? I knew this girl who had a Roman boyfriend once who was as camp as nine-pins. He did everything to persuade her he could be straight. He probably did it all for the benefit of his mum. Ah, the gay pollen of Rome!)

Back to Cyprus, and I'd cycle between 30 and 50 kilometres in a day, in temperatures of 45 degrees. In fact, that last trip to the turtle sanctuary nearly killed me. I've adopted three turtles so far, which might seem a little excessive and may prove to be my other addiction.

But this holiday was with the commune, man. I live alone, so it's an absolute pleasure at 8.30 in the morning to have breakfast with my friends and their children, three tiny toddlers all meowing and calling me "Meow meow." And in the evening getting really drunk, walking into a tree, wetting myself and having a giggling fit. All part of the group dynamic. But what's great when you go away together is that you see sides of people that often remain private. Like Kate Moss has a brilliant sense of humour, she is very gracious when it comes to helping out and she's a fantastic mum - but I didn't like the book she was reading.

I loved it when we were in the little village talking to the major after having our Benny Hill moment (which was me and Kate walking into town in very short shorts with letchy men in cars driving slowly behind us. I took great pleasure in taking out my teeth and smiling - that scared 'em). Anyway, Kate was bending over a wall looking at this amazing renaissance landscape. We were discussing how much it looked like a Giorgione painting, while these two guys across the square were enjoying the amazing view of Kate's arse. When she turned around, their jaws dropped.

And so did ours, when they said: "Claudia Schiffer". So fucking funny...

Hot gossip

I spent the last two days at Ruth and Richard Rogers' house in Tuscany. I discussed Samuel Beckett with the Chief Whip, the Holocaust with Alan Yentob.

I had a guided tour and mini-lecture on 14th century architecture by Lord Rogers of Riverside himself, discussed the pros and cons of the contemporary art market in connection with the rise and fall of the dollar with the gallerist Lorcan O'Neill; and group discussions varied from the doctrine of Opus Dei, to what's so interesting about Heat magazine and where does such a phenomenon come from within our culture of the 21st century, should there be more bridges built or should we try to get to Mars, and what are the odds at Ladbrokes that I don't become a dame within the next three years?

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