Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Turnup Prize for Art

Every year the local school holds an art competition, it’s called the Turnup prize for art and true to its name any child that turns up with a piece of art goes home with a small prize. Gary and Harry display the winning entries in the Spar for the month following the awards ceremony, it being a children’s competition some of the exhibits are quite unusual and
others are strangely political. Last year one of the winners was a poster stating, ‘Say No to Drugs’, the picture was a bottle of Calpol, with a big cross through it.
This year there has been a lot of excitement because the competition has been opened up to adults in the local area. The first prize is £100 and as far as I can tell there are a few people in the street intending to enter.
The closing date was a week ago Monday and Ian and Mand were talking about their own entries, ‘Are you more of a Picasso or a Constable?’ I was impressed with Ian’s conversational optimism, ‘I dunno, I just do drawing like, anyway, ain’t that Picasso the bloke with no ears, how can he do art?’
I could understand why he changed the conversation back to Celebrity Big Brother quite quickly, Mand seems to have muddled up her understanding of the senses as well as her knowledge of artists.

The competition winners were informed by letter and this was to be followed by a prize giving evening at the school where all the entries were also exhibited. It was clearly a shock and disappointment to Ian and Mand when they discovered that Tom had come first in his category, personally I’m all for creative development but I can see where they are coming from.

On the night of the awards ceremony Tom had made a big effort, he was not wearing his
normal food splattered jumper but instead turned out in a grubby plaid jacket, a striped shirt and a novelty Christmas tie, he looked like a flag from a country where all the residents have pattern blindness.
Jacinta, Prithpal and the children walked with Tom, Ian and Mand to the school, although you could hear Tom crowing about his success all the way down the road.
I was at the window most of the night and could see them all return from the school, but Tom was surprisingly absent, I assumed he’d gone straight to the pub to celebrate his success, although it was out of character for him, especially if he had money in his pocket and there was a round to be bought. I now know why he wasn’t there.

The next morning it was obvious that Ian was looking for someone to retell the events of the evening, I was intrigued to find out where Tom had got to, so I broke the habit of a lifetime and decided to pop to the Spar at the same time as he was passing by the house, he was full of glee as he told his story.

At the prize giving the head teacher Mrs Parks had decided to mix up the evening a little, so announced the categories in a random order, by the end of the evening there were just two prizes left, the category for 18 and over being one of them, Tom was chomping at the bit and looking more and more self-important as the night wore on.
The second to last prize to be awarded was for the 7 to 9 category and the winner was Tom Evans, who, Mrs Parks had said, could be very proud of the simplicity of his snail which made such an effective image. Apparently everyone looked around for Tom Evans to walk up to accept his £10 book voucher and pack of crayons but no one appeared. Mrs Parks read out the name of the winner again and again everyone looked round, she began to look quite cross, after all that was the point of letting the winners know in advance.

A sudden thought occurred to Ian and he nudged Tom, ‘Isn’t your surname Evans?’ Tom nodded in agreement, ‘Yes but I’m 79, not 7 to 9’. As the mistake dawned on everyone Mrs Parks looked furious but apparently Tom was even more upset, especially when he was told that not only was he disqualified but that he wouldn't even get a pack of crayons.
As Mand put it, so succinctly, ‘Even that bloke with no ears would have ticked the right category, right.’



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