Sunday, October 04, 2009

My Friend Zebedee


[Below follows what happened in detail. Skip to bottom if not particularly interested in details....]

As some of you may know I was recently a victim of a rush of blood to the head. I will, in as few words as possible, relate the story of what occurred on this fateful and expensive night and then gently introduce my solution to the problem.

I was asked in the summer, along with five other artists, to perform a workshop for a very good cause, the children's charity Starlight ( ) . I did two of them, one on illustration and the other on my glass art, and they were well attended and considered a success and raised quite a bit of money. Following this, a plan was put together to exhibit the children's work at the Saatchi gallery as well as a gala dinner and a charity auction of various glamorous bits and bobs. As a contributing workshopper (as well as having done all the graphics for the event) I was issued with two free tickets. As my date I took my current girlfriend Zelda.

During the day all the work by the children was sold off to their friends and relations (all proceeds going to the charity) but the centrepiece was the gala dinner. This was well attended by such household names as HRH Prince William of Wales (Royal) and his current girlfriend Kate (accessories?), Sol Campbell (football) and that was all I spotted. After cocktails and standing about, we took to our tables and feasted on food. As the chewing subsided the auctioning began. Apart from one in a barn in Malmesbury of reclaimed kitchen goods from bankrupt restaurants, where I picked up a pretty decent range cooker for 300 quid, I had never been to an auction before. Even with my limited experience I would say that this was quite an expensive one ,with all the bids starting at a thousand pounds. The items for sale weren't bad, they included a rocking horse decorated by Vivien Westwood, Gordon Ramsay cooking you a dinner party for ten in a pod on the London Eye (this went for £22,000) and a hat. Zelda kept putting her hand up to help 'bump up the price' and all was perfectly fun.

Then she (Zelda) started hissing at me from across the table to stop being such a chicken and put my hand up and do my bit to help bump up the price. Of course I should have said to her “I think I've done my bit for this charity already, I'll leave the bidding to all the millionaires in the room my darling”. But I didn't. I am unable to resist a challenge. By now we'd got to the last lot of the night. A painting on a star-shaped canvas of a Norfolk bog by a seven year old child prodigy called Kieron.

The bidding started at a grand as usual and the early bids were keenly fought over, the price flew up to five thousand at which point my waving hand was noted by the auctioneer, “six thousand” then suddenly the room fell quiet, the auctioneer scanned the throng..... it was late, he wanted to go home, “going once”, I felt very cold...... “going twice”, I felt sick...there was no movement from Campbell's arm, Wales remained still, Middleton didn't even raise an eyebrow.... “GONE to the gentleman over there, his first bid of the evening, congratulations and goodnight”.

The next thing I knew there was a flurry all around me, I had the painting in one arm (the treacherous limb) and the other was around the prodigy. The photographer from Hello magazine was flashing off in our bewildered faces.

The party was over. I stumbled out of the building with the throng. Things were said to me on the way down those stairs, none of which helped. We staggered to the after show party. I had no stomach for it. We went home in a taxi (money had lost all meaning). How had I, the poorest person in the room, managed to part with an incredible amount of cash which I didn't have, for a five pointed canvas by a seven year old genius from Norfolk? The consolation that it was a fine and sensitive depiction on a Norfolk wetland scene, and more importantly,that it was for charity, was yet to sink in. Sleeping pills were consumed. I slept like a tramp until seven when I awoke, sat up in bed, then clonked my head on the iron girder of recollection. But this stirred the grey matter into action and I came up with a plan.

Six thousand pounds is a lot of money, particularly in one go. They don't need the cash straight away and when you start to divide it up it doesn't take that long (300 cuts) to reach the more manageable figure of twenty quid. As well as being an easily led impetuous fool, I am an artist and, more appropriately in this case, a cartoonist (my cartoons regularly appear in Private Eye with a small Zorro styled 'Z' in the corner).
How about if I were to come up with a picture of my own that commemorated the fateful moment, and flog a signed print of it to everyone I have ever met for twenty quid, I thought. Although extremely unlikely, it is technically feasible that 300 kind and generous people will step up and be good enough to take up this offer and both help me out of the soup, get themselves a bit of signed art, and more importantly give to a very nice charity.


The picture will be printed onto an incredibly fine piece of Italian handmade paper (A4), signed and numbered. It will be un-framed (the glass would only smash to pieces in the post) and will be sent to the address you give me along with your cash or cheque for £20. If I can find the password to my website I will post updates there on how the disaSTAR fund is progressing. In the unlikely event that we surpass the six thousand pounds required then the extra cash will of course be donated to the charity. If you see me in six months time driving around in a brand new Triumph Stag then call the Police (999).

It only remains for me to thank you for your patience (if you read the whole thing that is). I hope you like the picture, (if you find it too traumatic there is prettier one of a bird available instead, please express your preference in your reply). Thank you also to Bill Sykes for inventing the internet without whom none of this would be possible etc...

my address for the money is:

Zebedee Helm,
disaSTAR fund,
40 Park Road,
Hampton Wick,

or you can give this way more directly but be sure to inform me of your address and print choice:

Many thanks and seasonal greetings to all and I will not think ill of anyone who doesn't chip in,


ps. please forward this to any art loving, charitable, helping people out of a fix type friends you may have..

pps. If anyone wants to buy the actual mastarpiece from the exhibition, then I could probably be persuaded to part with it (and it is a beautiful painting I just can't pay for it). Otherwise I will donate it to a children's hospital or care centre where it will give pleasure and inspiration to many.

ppps. Don't start sending me your children's paintings to buy for great sums, I won't find it funny.

1 comment:

® said...

Silly mistake. Good solution. I do hope it'll be solved very soon. At the moment 43%...