The Lovely Melanie took Millie to see the Damien Hirst retrospective at the Tate Modern today – because that’s the kind of modern liberal parents we are (Amber was sent to nursery – fortunately, as it turned out, as we’d forgotten today was their trip to the Unicorn Theatre to see Egg & Spoon).
I confess, having read about the Damien Hirst show I was a little uncertain whether it was suitable for a six-year-old – mainly because of his piece A Thousand Years, the one with the cow’s head and the flies. As much as I’m pretty liberal in exposing the girls to the world, I thought this might be a bit too much. However, it’s not the only thing in the exhibition and I trust the Lovely Melanie’s judgement on this sort of thing. And she was spot-on – Millie was mesmerised.
As the Lovely Melanie pointed out when they got back, Hirst’s work is a spectacle, and the exhibition is filled with eye-opening and beautiful things – regardless of whether you judge it as “Art” it is amazing to see. The shark in formaldehyde (or The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living) – one of Hirst’s most famous works is actually pretty dull; there are plenty of other things that blew Millie’s tiny mind. She bought a dozen postcards that she was desperate to show and tell me about when she got home.
I think the moral here is that you can say what you like about modern art, but when you’re just six years old it can be far more engaging and exciting than greatest Old Master from 200 years ago.
Amber was almost as excited about her trip to the theatre today, but lacking any postcards and being too excited to explain things as coherently as her sister I rather had to take her word for it that Egg Spoon was “good”.
We also had the problem that Amber hit Millie over the head with a table-leg soon after getting home. 😦
The first I knew of it was hearing Millie crying at the bottom of the stairs whilst I was downloading my pictures from the Trev Memorial gig in Bristol. The Lovely Melanie and I both went to the top of the stairs to see what was going on, but she couldn’t help laughing when Millie told us what had happened, i.e. “Amber hit me over the head with a table-leg,” and I was left as the parent-in-charge of the incident.
Millie was a bit upset, but not hysterical, and as I came down the stairs I kissed her head and rubbed it better (standard operating procedure for these kind of events). With my stern face on I asked Amber why she had hit Millie and if she was going to say “Sorry”.
Unusually, instead of saying “Sorry,” Amber burst into tears, which was when I noticed blood on my fingers and tasted it on my lips where I’d kissed Millie’s head. Taking a closer look at Millie’s head I noticed that in one spot her hair was a bit matted with something – blood, in fact.
I did a bit of a double-take, before noticing Millie’s worried face looking at me, and smiled again. I then escalated the incident by calling in WPC Lovely Melanie to deal with the offender (Amber) while I dealt with the victim (Millie). Amber was duly chastised: her tears ignored, she was sent to her room with no dolls and told not to come out on pain of extended doll deprivation and pocket money forfeiture.
“In this house we do not hit people with tables!” shouted WPC Lovely Melanie, her face miraculously straight.
Millie’s head, meanwhile, far from being a laughing matter, seemed to have an unsettling amount of blood on it – as did both our hands and my lips, too. Not a lot of blood (don’t panic, grandparents!) but more than expected.
A short time, some wet tissue, washed hands and mouth later, and everything was fine again. Millie was issued a cold compress to hold against her head for a little while, Amber shut in her room, and we parents left to feel bad for not taking this seriously the moment it was reported.