The Adventures of Dr.Burlap


Granada: A sequel

With an itinerary set not to overtax Dr.Burlap, we took in the Alhambra, which, even with a cocktail of pharma on board, overtaxed the Doctor. Sitting in a regal chair against a backdrop of exquisite geometric tiles in an ornate courtyard by a pool bathed in evening sunshine was a cure, plus the promise of a fine Spanish brandy. The cultural visits continued: austere and gold clad church interiors, modern art galleries, the university, street market, tapas bars and that Spanish brandy. Of that trip to Granada two events are note worthy and set the scene for what follows.

As we strolled back of a late evening to our garret in the Pension, in danger of collapse from the weight of icons and students, a figure slipped form a doorway at some distance. He descended the steps looking furtively in both directions while clutching a rectangular object wrapped in a bin bag, crossed to the street-side dumpster, dropped the bin bag in and hastily retraced his steps. The door closed.

“That was a bit suspect, no?”

“Ho Ho. Do we have an artwork in the bag?”

“Might just check this out Doc, what do you think?”

Maybe it was the fine Spanish brandy or an over active thyroid, whatever, we’d created an international art thief dropping priceless works for an accomplice to retrieve before the cleansing department arrived. We sidestepped into the alternative reality with the greatest of ease, brandy included, and rescued the cleverly concealed art and took the bootie back to the garret, as Holmes and Watson would, to inspect content,

“We were not wrong, Doctor, this is pure gold.”

“ And there are two canvases, excellent one each.”

We removed the oiled canvases of distinctly Spanish origin from the School of Twentieth Century Naïve Art. T.Corovetto you are a true master of the hobbyist movement, or was that caginess to conceal your abhorrence for the work of Senora Corovetto as you trashed it?

The fast moving drama was followed by the fast removal of our rental car. Was it the revenge of the International art theft syndicate? No. In the clear light of a piercing morning hangover the realisation dawned that the car had been scooped by the clampers. The evidence: a curbside sticker with details of a fine and a location for recovering. Arguing with the urban authorities about injustice and damage to tourism is stressful with a hangover and a language deficit, that raised finger and raised voice were as naïve as the art. The fine was paid and we fucked off in the rental for a hangover cure and breakfast.

But revenge was ours. We kept the canvases in the bin bag. We put them through the scanner at Malaga Airport. We carried them through security at Belfast International. We’re discussing a visit to the Prada in Madrid with a couple of bin bags.


To Nathan


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