Oh yes, I'm happy this morning as I won a prize at an art comp last night, the Images of the Cross Award, I won the People's Choice, $500 worth of Matisse paints. From a lifetime of hard knocks I wondered if I'd won only because a lot of my friends came to support me. I didn't lobby them to vote for me, I was in too much of a tizz to even focus on what was happening, but my friends kept yelling my name thruout the announcements, it was so embarrassing, I think they swamped the voting box, but they wouldn't have done it if they didn't truly think I'd done good work. (I discovered later that 2 of my best friends didn't even vote so it must've been members of the crowd that put me over the line.)
I cringed out the front of the gallery as soon as I realised one of the judges was a a fat bag of shit who hated my guts, I should've heckled him as he gave his welcoming speech, he manages a free street paper and lives off the advertising and knows nothing of art, just his prejudices. But I figured that was the way of all things, judges are always prejudiced in one way or another. As I sat disconsolate, a booming voice resounded upon me, "Toby, get your arse up here, you've won!" I knew this was impossible but duty called and back into the gallery I went only to be met with the glum stares of the crowd, a friend sidled up to me and said, "You didn't win, you got highly commended." I went back outside, my surmise of the scene confirmed, dear Leslie the organiser had loaded the judges once again to make sure I'd get fucked off.
The judges gave the cash prize to a technically perfect photo-realist piece, exquisite, but it looked like it had been traced from a photo it was so perfect, it had a bit of soul but not all those layers of meaning a painter can throw in via his/her mindset/philosohy, not many have a story to tell or an attitude to explode upon the world it seems. The crowd got riled up and kept shouting my name, it really freaked me out, and I knew such avid support would get me in the neck from those jealous types who'll never win anything. And so the crowd voted me The People's Choice, and the organisers gnashed their teeth, they hadn't planned for this.
There's nothing like a crowd of well-wishers cheering one on, and strangers complimenting my talent, shaking my hand and taking photos of me in front of my painting, it'll take me a few days to come down from the high. My bestest friends are running around telling everybody on the Cross I got robbed of the judge's award, I think it's great to get the People's Choice, it's so sweet to be popular and appreciated, I feel like a 7 year old kid again, who after a tragic infancy is suddenly given a birthday party and told he is indeed loved. With enemies, life is hell. Without friends, life is dead.