Nude Male II, Boscoe Holder, (1999)
Norwich, Fall 2009: partly employed, quasipoor, uninhibited and curious, I made the phone call that would place me on the other side of the drawing board. It all happened quickly. One minute I was fully clothed and the next I was in a cold room in what used to be an old shoe factory – baring my soul, ass and pole for a two-digit Pound note, the red kind, fortunately. It wasn’t about the money, though I confess it did come in handy replenishing the pleasure pantry – booze, art exhibits, gladiolas, artisan treats, the commute to London and with this the promise of East End merry making.
In the dark room, I was brightly illuminated to enhance my pigmentation – the vast spectrum of ochre and terracotta visible in my skin. My audience, an art class, evidently, but not quite what I was expecting. Sprawled before me was a group of seniors, about twenty of them, Caucasian, all retired, veterans of all sorts – teachers, pilots, archaeologists and gardeners – with impressive histories but now sat before me with eyes peered through thick spectacles, awaiting my first pose.
For two months I posed for this potpourri of remarkable characters, listening to their incredible anecdotes as I transitioned between poses – bending, twisting and raising my limbs to my own amazement. At intervals, with my privates concealed, we gathered round the radiator to keep warm, chatting over Earl Grey and stale ginger snaps. When my time was up, I would be handed my remuneration, which often came with numerous offers for a ride home. I’d arrive home, aching and stiff-necked, marginally richer but enriched, content to be creating the anecdotes of an eventful life.