The Book Group
Guide Dogs For The Blind
An Interview With Guilt Johnson
An Interview With Guilt Johnson
|It was a rain soaked evening in London, but the sun was out, I would have thought that was strange usually.
I waltzed into the Harrods Food court and looked up and down the various items, none of them jumped out at me, but I think I would have been quite put off if they had.
My editor has made me remember who I am meeting my recording his name on my Dictaphone, unfortunately I couldn't get my Dictaphone to work.
"Remember it's all on the Dictaphone!" He shouted as I fell out of the cab, "It doesn't work!" I shouted back as I went into the foetal position and rolled into the gutter.
"Guilt Johnson" said my editor to the tattooist, "Put it right across his arms, both of them"
I had heard that tattoos hurt, but they don't really, but then I was still thinking alot, so I wouldn't have noticed the pain, I mainly thought about how Sindy used to always laugh when I tried to remember things, "Are you stupid or something?" she would say, "that depends" I would say, "what is the something?"
She would never laugh, but I was never joking, so I think I would have probably been offended, I'm glad she didn't.
The tattoo man asked me if I wanted anything else, I asked him if he could remember the last time someone asked for a picture of him, he couldn't, so I was sick all over the floor, I asked if I would have to clean it up, he didn't say anything at all, so we left.
The security guard in Harrods told me to leave immediately, I explained I was to do an interview on the roof with someone, and that I couldn't remember his name as my Dictaphone didn't work, he threw me out and quacked something about trousers, I didn't even get a chance to show him my tattoo.
I arrived back at the office and sat at my desk. My editor asked me how my interview went, I told him in was going great, that it was all part of my new feature, "living with hemo gravy" and that he can expect some "nuclear" photographs, he then went on to tell me that Guilt rang and asked if he could do the interview in our office as some quacking security guard had thrown him out of Harrods for seletaping an egg.
My editor said I had to make this good as it was my last chance, he then wolfed on about tattoos being really expensive and something about his wife being found dead.
Guilt Johnson was sat in the office considering what he would have written, should he have wound up concluding his own introduction. Almost certainly it would have begun with a veiled sleight towards hobo-bonobo, before moving into the realms of self approving vanity. His disheveled appearance would have been re-worked into something more favourable and artistic, with almost nothing said of has aging trousers. He was missguidedly proud of his pairing of blue shirt and brown tie, offset (for better or worse) by his fitted black blazer. Sporting a pair of 1950's spectacles, it is true that the man cut a certain dash, it's just not quite clear how. When questioned on the odd design of his sneakers, he informed me that they were of Soviet derivation. I considered the possibilty that whatever was wrong with me might also be what was wrong with him. Grim determination set in, and I began the questions.
1. Where were you born?
I was born to an idiot in Reigate, about five years ago. Actually, I was born in Enfield, in Middlesex, in England. My mum used to work there. I have no memory of the event. I am told though, that I took around 23 hours to turn up, making me almost a full day younger than most other people.
2. What was it like growing up?
Pretty idyllic, really. I grew up in an improbably large house that was by turns a guest house and a residential home. This meant two things. Firstly, they worked where they lived, so my parents were almost always around. Two, everyone was always busy doing something else, so I got to just keep to myself. I had a huge room with massive windows. I had all the space I needed and it was light all day. Because the rooms were designed for guests I had my own tv. I had almost unlimited access to a then magnificent Commodore 64. My best friend lived so close I almost see his house from my room, and the college where his parents worked was across the road from us - at the weekends we were allowed the run of the grounds. I had the same weird ideas then as I do now, and I was just as neurotic. It was wonderful.
3. Tell me about your latest project.
I'm working with Stephen Glove on a project that we've been building up to for a while now - an illustrated piece called "Woofrod". It's about the relationship between a man and his dog, as represented by the repairs he has to carry out on it in order to keep the dog working. That's kind of the primary project at the moment, but that's not necersarily the first one that you'll see. There's a bit of a shake-up going on at mbe at the moment, Robert Spatch [Spatch is the owner and coordinator of SpatchCo/Milkboy Enterprises] has had another of his brainstorms, so suddenly we're back to deadlines and design briefs and being asked what we're doing. It makes me nervous, but Robert is a good boss, and he really believes in our work. But it does mean that Woofrod might get superceeded by any number of other things. I have a few other projects on the go, which are now being hurried up in the name of this new launch. So does Stephen Glove. So does everyone else, now I come to think of it.
4. favourite pose in photographs?
I really like bad photographs - too close or heads cut off, that sort of thing. Or candid shots of people before they get a chance to pose. Even if they look really dumb in the photograph, the shots always look great. There's always real life in them, dynamism. Something like that. I'm always getting into trouble over that, though.
I am a pretty amiable person. There are things in the world that I find hateful from the start - I have a lot of problems with politics, with the media, all the big stuff. I've got a real Beatnik mentality about that stuff - all righteous anger and artwork. Chris Morris' Blue Jam really helped me to come to terms with all that stuff without going crazy. Everything/body else I like until think about it. Then I notice some flaw, some issue and get really compulsive about it. When I think about it, I hate nearly everything. So I try not to think about things too much these days. And there are exceptions to the rule.
6. Do you feel like you belong to us?
Nope, but I do like you. Really, I still think of myself as "us" - I'm there in the audience with everyone else, not up on stage. In the background somewhere, observing. That said, offer me some interesting work and I'm your dog.
7 . what is it like to scuba dive?
Hot, wet death. You can see the surface but you can't get to it. And wierd, all those fish and things. Scuba diving you can keep.
8. favourite wild animal?
I like moths but they just won't fly straight, and that would make me crazy. If I'm flying somewhere I want to go there directly. A godzilla is a maybe ... bit too big though. It is one of the few things that could deal with Superman though, as I understand it. Superman has always given me cause for concern. Spiders are excellent too, but too many knees.
9. If you could be an object what would it be and why?
Possibly a GPO rotary telephone, possibly a brown leather brogue - either way not in use but kept somewhere out of harm's way and away from feet and germs. Somewhere where the beauty of the object could be trully and daily appreciated. They are superb items, I recommend that anyone reading this find one or other to look at as soon as possible.
10. Least favourite part of the magna carta?
Right, I'm not answering this without some information. Get on with your drink whilst I go have a rummage around. [He really did. 10 minutes and some commotion amongst the office cubicles later he returned.] ... I found out nothing. I should imagine that there is a lot about the document that is objectionable. Most likely there's some conflict that the declaration doesn't resolve, that by rights should be continuing today. Probably somewhere outside of Suffolk. I'm not suggesting they use guns or anything, pikestaffs would be fine.
11. anything else?
Only that you can see the work of many of those mentioned above in glorious colour at <A HREF=http://www.milkboyenterprises.com target=_blank>milkboyenterprises.com</A>. And that the readers should keep their eyes open for a new art magazine from mbe sometime in the future, which is to feature one or two of the Bonoboes as well. And that's it. Hobo-bonobo gives life. Which way's out?