I want to bring the Diary up to date and shall rush through the main events up until the march on the 29th November.
Sat Oct 17: Frieze Art Fair. I agreed to give a talk to open the fair. Why, when I deny any status other than “rubbish” to so-called modern art? Benedikt, P.A. to Andreas and me came to me three days in a row asking please give me an answer. Yet he had only just told me that my friend Gregor was asking me to do it. Gregor didn’t mind my opinion because he thinks what I say is interesting. He needed an answer now because he needs to go to press. I agreed because Benedikt told me Gregor first asked a month ago and he had “lost” the e-mail – so I couldn’t let Gregor down.
Also I had a painting (which is really a collage) I wanted to sell to raise money for the Rainforest. Andreas and I are patrons of Cool Earth, a charity which has a simple plan to save the Rainforest by working with indigenous tribes. They have already saved 541,035 acres. They are on target and need another £100,000,000 to save all three great equatorial forests. At the election the polling station was in the local school and I saw the collage on the wall. It was done by a class of 6 year olds – about the environment.
I thought I’d rather have that on my wall than something by Andy Warhol or Jeff Koons. I’ll try to sell it, it will be a challenge – a challenge to what is art?
So I did my talk: Great art is timeless; it is always original, as alive today as when it was first done; there is no progress in art (because it is perfect) – though there can be decadence. Art gives culture. Today we have consumption instead of culture – for the mass of people. If we had culture we would have different values, the values of our human genius and we would not have Climate Change.
Though people were deeply interested I started to feel mad: I wouldn’t be here had Benedikt not forgotten the e-mail and here I was trying to save the Rainforest and the whole world with a kid’s collage. I said “I feel crazy. There is no relation between the littleness of my means and the enormity of the task. I am just going to get down and lie on the floor until somebody comes to take me away.” Then when they were clapping I suddenly sat up with an inspiration, “I know the value of the collage! One hundred million pounds. Buy the painting and you save the Rainforest. I demand one hundred million pounds!” I sank back down. Laura pulled me up to sign tens of signatures and have photos.
Fri Oct 23: Across the road from my house in Clapham to the library – now become an art centre, Omnibus. You remember due to the campaign of one man, George. This is good compared to the regular policy of Lambeth Council which is wrecking communities in Clapham. You remember I told you about the outstanding Macbeth they did. I talked about Climate Change and gave out my map. The rest of the evening was great – comedians and musicians on Climate Change. Well done Omnibus.
Mon Oct 26: I met a party of Chinese people in our showroom in Conduit Street – visiting England on a shopping tour. They are rich and because of that I imagine influential and they are interested in the environment. I gave them my leaflet with the map Rotten Financial System and they invited me to come to Shanghai to receive an award at a grand event – auction and dinner with the rest of their group, “Fashion Character”. I did not do this, but of course the hope is they might help with fundraising for Cool Earth and use their influence towards building the Green Economy, which is a matter of life and death. I will keep in touch with them.
Tue Oct 27: Björk is in London and she came to see us. She brought a gift – 2 boxes containing LPs with all her music. She is doing everything she can to fight the present government of Iceland to stop wrecking the country. Love her.
Sat Oct 30: (no time during the week so squeezed this in)
Uffe Elbæk a green M.P. of Norway came to my house. He will attend COP21 and wanted to discuss green strategy. Though we will both attend COP we will be there at different times so I will send him a video message for his event there.
Fri Nov 6: Vineyard visit. British champagne (We have to call it English sparkling wine). Nyetimber is the name of the champagne and also the residence.
I didn’t know we were going. I was told yesterday that we had accepted. If I had been told about the invitation earlier I would have said no – I don’t have time.
Lorna Tucker came with us. I had been too busy whenever she had wanted to show me her new baby. Now on the train I had the chance to meet baby Lola Vivienne and to talk to Lorna about Leonard Peltier. I also relaxed and talked with colleagues – about work.
We arrived at Nyetimber on the South Downs, such a gorgeous part of the world. The house was unbelievably beautiful with a large pond landscaped with plants, gardens on the surrounding bank, woods and barns.
The undulating fields of vines, a mile or two away from the sea were separated from the woods by a curving path. The warm wind carried a little rain and you walked into it with the sound of the autumn leaves whipped in the branches above you.
This is good soil for vines, something to do also with natural drainage.
We were here for wine-tasting and lunch. Andreas had bought some English sparkling wine two years ago and come to an arrangement with Nyetimber to sponsor the wine at our events. I didn’t know – a glass of English sparkling wine after the show with everyone around – photos. Now was the chance to really appreciate. Delicate and subtle sensations. I will never drink again without stopping to savour the pleasure. This day I had lived in the present, something I don’t normally do because I’m too busy.
Mon Nov 9: Kai and John came – my two friends from upstate New York. They did an interview with me and they want me to collect some personal items for an auction they will do. Memorabilia from several sources including Julian. Profit will go to Wikileaks.
Tue Nov 10: Meeting with Helen and Richard and several colleagues to improve the structure of our company. I am just reminding you that we are doing this on a regular basis. I probably won’t mention it again.
Wed Nov 11: We designed a T-Shirt for the Junior Doctors #wearyournhs, a
few days later I did an interview in support.
Thu Nov 12: To a home in Shad Thames with Teddy. Evening gathering with the Zeitz foundation. When I went to Kenya I stayed at the Segera ranch and wild life park, one of Jochen Zeitz’ enterprises for the Long Run. The idea is that each of the several separate projects regenerate the wild territory until it is sustainable – funded by luxury tourism. Andreas and I are patrons and in particular of UasoNyiro Primary School on Segera. Tribal people live there and now live more sustainably e.g. solar not firewood and more healthily e.g. gardens from rainwater collection. I met retired businessman Alan and his wife who have built the new school for UasoNyirok (when we were there it was just a stack of planks), which won the prize of Earth’s Greenest school.
Jochen asked me to open his contemporary art museum in South Africa but I can’t, it’s too near to the collection in February.
Mon Nov 16: Tank to Cameron’s house near Witney, organized by my son Joe and his “Talk Fracking” team. Cameron has exempted his house from fracking permits but allowed them in the surrounding land. Aim: to poison the garden of the poisoner.
The Nana’s were waiting for us. They brought their grandchildren. They are so important – a focus group against fracking. I really think they have made a difference. Their support must have been so useful to the Preston council in refusing planning permission for fracking. And I think they have been crucial in focussing public opinion against fracking – which is now at 87%.
We were lucky the photos from the tank went everywhere. It was even featured in China.
My son Ben had joined us, so I went back home in the car with him and Tomoka and dog Jackie. We stopped in Whitney – so attractive. Being vegetarian, you can’t find decent food when you travel, only rock bottom prepared food produced to make the most profit. There was only cheese and gooey white bread, so we had fish and chips. I eat fish sometimes and I do like sushi, when there is nothing else.
Tue Nov 17: I had my appointment to go to Julian at the embassy but I let Cynthia and Teddy go without me – we talk to him of world affairs. Our fashion shoot is here and I just had to help Andreas prepare. I felt I was being so disrespectful to Julian but we are real friends and so of course he didn’t mind. He sent me his love. Julian’s never heavy, he’s always so positive and easy going. I wrote an update on his position now that they took away the uniformed police.
Thu Nov 19: To Venice for our campaign. We will meet Juergen there. We were early in the airport at Gatwick having a coffee when the three models turned up one by one. They were all adorable, small and young. I asked Naleye about his name. His father is African-Asian and his mother Dutch. He told me that when he left New York the news on CNN was full of the grief from the Paris suicide bombings but never mentioned obviously that the men who became Isis were trained by the US, UK and France. He is so friendly, when we were airborne he tore this page out of his book and gave it to me.
What’s your name? I asked the girl with waist-length thick hair. ee-A! (IA) she boomed. Up for anything. Very sweet with this strong voice – made direct observations and questions.
Amelia, caring and committed, came from Dominican Republic. She liked coming to Europe. In her country it is dangerous to go out at night / racist according to degree of light skin, people ostracised with no means of income. Haitians who were born there are now made stateless and have nowhere to go.
Nadia from Liverpool to do make-up joined us with her big suitcase of products – hair and make-up. The models are so young and lovely that make-up doesn’t enhance. Naleye had a sty but it didn’t matter. That’s why when we do a show we paint a theme on the face – or a device. My favourite is still the one when Andreas said, make them look like horses.
Nadia had nothing to do but pat with a bit of powder (I tried something with her on IA and she was very good. But no, we preferred nothing).
None of the models had been to Venice before. They were excited in the taxi boat. We had lunch. That evening our team, including importantly Sabina – super stylist put together the outfits for the shoot and tried them on the models.
Gold Label SS16 Press Release
Today we present our Gold Label show called ‘Mirror the World’- and it’s about saving Venice. The problem there is one of repair but also of climate change.
In 12th Century Venice great houses on stilts lined the canals. They were trading posts and they each belonged to rich families and on the ground floor of these houses were shops. All the luxury goods from the East came there and merchants and rich people travelled there to shop. The prosperity of these families was out of this world and they built grand palaces painted and gilded on the outside as well as in.
Bellini, Giorgione, Titian- it was the period of the greatest flourishing of art that the West has ever known. Venice was an emporium of culture.
Carnival- everyone in disguise in St. Mark’s Square or disappearing round corners into those narrow streets. The mask hides a time of altered states where the poor become rich and vice versa or the ugly become attractive. It dates from a primitive time when people indulged in excess so that their sins could be forgiven before the new spring.
Come on our march on the November 29th in London. The People’s March for Climate, Justice and Jobs. Bring your children, it will be massive. The more people the better the chance to change the world. Come! To mirror the world: be beautiful as the world – you must engage with the world.
Next day the plan was to hire a taxi boat and a barge and sail around. Juergen wasn’t liking these tourist photos so luckily we took advantage of the invitation of Jane da Mosto to film in her palazzo.
By evening Colby our 4th model arrived (going back to US next morning). He is a porn star. When Andreas had shown me his photo and asked my opinion I said immediately, I know why he’s a porn star, because he looks like the sweetest nicest person. And that’s how it turned out. He is observant and knows more about Venice than me. He knows what we’re up against regarding environment. Juergen took us out to a little shop with fish tanks. The tiny fish tickle you by eating the dead skin and you come out with your legs smooth.
Someone threw away our big cardboard box containing all the hats packed in tissue paper. They thought it was rubbish. That was after the pictures.
Contessa Jane da Mosto is very important. She’s a scientist and has been campaigning to save Venice: Dedicated. In 1966 there was a terrible flood and since then people have been analysing the problem and proposing solutions. The lagoon is one of the most wonderful wetlands in the world: exquisite symbiosis between the animals and plants that stabilise the sediment from the freshwater rivers and Venice itself which has grown with the lagoon. If Venice were not there the wetlands would have become either land or a bay – the sea having swept away the sediment. weareherevenice.org
The biggest problem now seems to be the cruise ships which tear up the lagoon. Total false economy to allow them. Jane says that Venice is the canary in the mine. If we can’t save Venice, how do we save the world?
Tue Nov 22: Party at the Shard. We did the tree, decorated to promote awareness of Cool Earth. Why does a party have boom-boom music in an area where there is no dancefloor. Can’t talk. I like to talk. I prefer it to constant photos.
Irvine Sellar was presented to me, who produced the Shard and put up the money.
He’s doing another building, a bit taller now. We had a photo taken. He was so full of his own importance. I said, “Are you coming to the march against climate change on Sunday?” He sneered, “I’ve got more important things to do.” I said, “Like what? – Die?”
Sun Nov 29: The March. Blustery day, 70,000 people. Hyde Park Corner to Houses of Parliament. Speeches before – Caroline Lucas, Me, Jeremy Corbin. I got Caroline’s speech later: superb. Difficult – no official person had been organized by the march to record. What about social media? So much organization goes into a march. Avaaz and Friends of the Earth were the main NGOs. Cynthia worked with them for months and thinks they are splendid.
Off we were. A lot of our young gang wore crowns which stand for We are the People, we rule the world. It’s great talking to people as you go along, especially the young ones and meeting your friends.
At the end were more speeches. Everything was on such a high level. Listening to rap poet Mike Righteous and later Kate Tempest – Andreas said she was Shakespeare – The Best! I remember something my friend Gary once said; he is dead, “The world suffers from the isolation of intellectuals. I suddenly understood; everybody who came on this march is an intellectual. I put this up on the website Climate Revolution next day.
We have already begun work to form nuclei of activists amongst college and university students. This is the movement we shall build. This is the movement which will intimidate the evil criminal politicians.
I shall not write a Diary entry for December. Apart from work and Christmas, the overwhelming fact was COP21. I attended Alternative COP21 and there is a lot happening. There are 1000s of NGOs, half the people of Europe understand what is going on. (Intellectuals) I don’t know the proportion elsewhere. The social media is crucial to understanding.
Cynthia has posted a list of bullet points which show the plan of the official COP21. It is a mirror of death. The scientists and NGOs will now fight for our lives against the governments of the rich countries.
A green economy is one that can grow.
Our NGO, Climate Revolution means that Climate Change will force us to choose a better, beautiful world. This one will die. We need to transfer to the new one before it’s too late.