Friday 09 Dec 2016

A Nude and a Spot
Sjef Frenken

I was telling Jack about some musical event I had attended at Pressed Café on Gladstone. There is usually an exhibition of paintings on the walls. The painting that had caught my eye was of a nude sitting on a bed, facing the viewer almost head on. She had her right lower leg tucked under the thigh of her right leg. I described the scene to Jack in greater detail.

“That’s called a ‘landing strip’,” said Jack, thus adding immeasurably to my understanding of the ways of the grooming world.

I said “that’s just a detail. What caught my eye was that in her hands she had some kind of electronic device, maybe an iPad or something. Somehow it didn’t fit in with the rest of the tableau. As if the model for Olympia by Manet was watching a TV screen.”

“Maybe it was a calculator,” suggested Jack, “maybe she was on a tight schedule.”

“Why a calculator?”

“Why not?” asked Jack. “You want her to use an abacus to figure out how much to charge for her services?”

“Who says she was a prostitute? I was merely pointing out the fact that I thought it a bit incongruous to have the model manipulating a texting device. It seemed out of place.”

“Maybe the artist wanted to create the impression that she had just taken a shower and felt in the mood for some action, and was calling up one of her friends to join her in a romp on the bed, and she was just making use of a tool at her disposal. A TV set would have been out of place in Manet’s time, but an iPad is a tool of our time, my friend. You’re just being reactionary. Get with the times.”

“Do I have to?”

Jack shook his head at my reluctance to join the lemmings in their race toward their brave new world.

“Speaking of nudes,” said Jack, taking this opportunity to pursue his favourite topic, “why do they call it the G-spot?”

“I vaguely recall something, but I can’t put my finger on it just now. It’ll come to me,” I said.

“Did you hear what you just said? Anyway, why not call it the O-spot or the F-spot? That would make more sense. Maybe the guy who discovered it had a sense of humour – the Gee-whillekers spot. Or the Gee-whiz spot.”

“Actually, Jack, I think it was named after a German doctor who discovered it. Probably a gynacologist who was just poking around and got a reaction from his patient that surprised both of them. I don’t think it was as if he set out in a boat looking for an uncharted island.”

“Just lucky, I guess,” said Jack. “Let me tell you …”

At this point our conversation took a more personal turn; one that I’m reluctant to recount for you as it transgresses the boundaries set by the management of this magazine. Sorry about that.

Sjef Frenken is a renaissance man: thinker, writer, translator and composer of much music. A main interest, he has many, is setting to music the poetry, written for children, during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Nimble of mind, Sjef is a youthful retiree and a great-grandfather. Mostly he's a content man, which facilitates his relentless multi-media creativity.

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