Tracey Emin: My Life in a Column

What is so wonderful about meercats is that they have a truly egalitarian society
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The Independent Online

I didn't expect to be crying today. I didn't expect to be afraid. My London, my beautiful city, my home, has been filled with an evil fear. These atrocities are unforgivable, but that's all I'm going to say, the show must go on.

Old witch, shall we try Aldwych, like, do I know the way to Aldwych. Talk about paranoia. What was my head going through last week? The party to end all parties, 300 lunatics dancing like maniacs. There wasn't one person who left my place without bruised knees. Half of London looked like they'd gone to a giant gang-bang, but that's what happens when you dance on tables.

I went to bed at seven. My studio assistant, Trilby, she didn't actually go to bed at all. She left the studio with a glass of champagne and her dress ripped right up to her backside, pinned together with a bulldog clip, and with her breasts hanging out everywhere, proceeded to get into a taxi, may I add, not sober.

This is where the fun starts. She had no money, so she had to get the taxi to stop at a cashpoint. As she got out, she dropped the glass and it smashed. The taxi driver went ballistic and demanded she pay him £100 for the damage. Trilby, in her drunken stupor, told him to bugger off, and, can I say, in a very posh tone, a touch of the 1930s debutante.

At which the taxi driver flagged down a police car. The policeman started having a go at Trilby and, quiet rightfully, she said, "Don't be a knobhead, it's only a glass." Whoops! The handcuffs were out, and she was carted off to the cells for the night. They released her at 3 o'clock the next day, and on returning her possessions, handed her one bulldog clip.

My friend Harriet had her bag stolen last week, snatched from her, where were the police then? I had my windows shot at by an air rifle, the police haven't even bothered to come and look at the holes. They told us to photograph it and they'd add it to the file. They did turn up at my party, though. At which I said, "Who the fuck ordered me a strippergram?"

Punch drunk

I did something exciting this week that I haven't done in a long time. I started boxing again. Left jab, left jab, right jab, left jab, right hook, left hook, left jab, right jab. My hands have been shaking for two days. It feels incredible, the adrenaline. My whole body feels alive. It's good, it's intelligent exercise, and the amount of concentration is phenomenal. Anyone who knows me very well, will tell you that I have this strong powerful streak in me. I think it's because I don't fuck enough, so the boxing comes as a great relief. Plus, a girl's got to be able to look after herself, because no one's going to do it for me.

Cool cats

Meercats. After Princess Diana's funeral, the programme that followed was Meercats United. We'll probably see the meercats on our TVs this week.

What's so wonderful about these little creatures is the fact that they have such an egalitarian society. They are true socialists. When they go out hunting and gathering, they don't take their babies with them, and two or three other meercats are delegated to look after them. The meercat crèche. And this is what's really clever: the mummy meercats don't look after their own babies, so if under attack there'll be no bias as to which baby they help. Really cool.

They also do this other really great thing. When threatened, say by a snake or a jackal, the meercats will climb up onto each other's shoulders and with their backs towards the sun, make one big weird shadow. Big motherfucker!

Testing times

Next week I'm going to be sober for seven days. And on the Friday, I'm going to try and pass my driving test. I am so nervous about failing. Everyone else is so nervous about me passing.

Last time, before my driving test, I went to a hypnotist to try to sort out my left and right. When I'm under pressure, little things like that seem to go out the window. So she put me into a trance and she said, "Think of the letter L," and I imagined my L plates in my left hand and then it was, throooooow them away. And then she said to me, "Imagine something in your right hand," so I imagined a pen that I was writing with (the hypnotist thought this was very clever).

Then she said make the action of writing. But of course, the action I made was of a hand job, and there it was, on my driving test, every time the examiner said left, it was left, and every time he said right, I had the image of a whacking great big dick in my hand. Lordy, lordy lord, I nearly killed two cyclists reversing round a corner. As my friend Mat Collishaw said, cycle killer, qu'est que ce?

Alright, Jack

Last night I went to see Jack Dee and his mates live at the Apollo. We laughed for four hours non-stop. We also got incredibly smashed. I met Quentin Wilson, and do you know what? He offered me driving lessons. Brave man! Da-ra!

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