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Dreaming of Dali

Lying half awake one recent mosquito infested night, a vision of a castle. Entering a tiled courtyard, almost empty. On the bare wall to the left is mounted a plump red sofa, meaningless, out of context. Above that two bulbous shapes painted in a cheap-looking glitzy gold. And above this are mounted two white toilet bowls. Is this art? Is this a museum? The wall above the bowls is festooned with hanging bales of yellow straw.

To the right of the tiled courtyard stands a life-size model of a camel with a stepladder leading to a small platform at its hump. The sleeper climbs the 8 steps to the platform. There is a telescope fixed to the platform, with the wrong side facing the platform. It cannot be swivelled to face the right way, so the sleeper looks through the wrong end at the the wall that looks diminished, far away. And stares at the face of a blonde goddess with pouting lips.

Graham Greene once said that a writer’s business is to observe, read, absorb and forget (not Greene’s own words, but the gist), so that the re-remembering becomes original material, processed through each writer’s unique DNA. Bless the mosquito that jogged this memory. Driving through the Pyrenees in 1976, crossing over from France into Spain through Andorra and chancing on a little town in Spain called Figueres, birthplace of Salvador Dali. Thanks to a lowly mosquito for jogging this distant memory of a museum that opened in 1974.

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