The Tenner

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m in the sanctuary that is Tate Modern Members’ Room. I’m enjoying an elevated feeling of oneness with life and art, and loving the view of the City with St Paul’s at its centre. Sipping a coffee, I watch people come and go. Many of them are works of art themselves, but not this man. He’s dead ordinary, mid-sixties, impassive face, bland dresser. With him is a girl, aged about fourteen. He directs her to sit at the table next to mine. She could be up from the country; no make-up, pudding-basin haircut, pressed jeans and blouse. He sets down a pot of tea for himself, a fruit juice and cake for her. She shuffles along and he sits between us on the long leather sofa.

Grandfather and granddaughter? Uncle and niece? There’s not much to observe, except the silence, which lingers. Usually the older person will fill the gap, seek to entertain or draw out the young one, might say: Did you like the Miro? What did you like about it? Shall we look at something else after this? Or catch the boat to Tate Britain…

Continue reading  this story on the Smoke: a London Peculiar site, where it was first published.

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