Wet Paint

At work, here at the world-renowned Institute of Artistic Endeavour, preparations for the forthcoming Degree Show are proceeding apace. The world’s entire supply of white emulsion paint has been stockpiled and the studios are being transformed into an exhibition space by a merry band of demob happy 2nd and 3rd year students dangerously armed with sanding blocks and paint rollers. In the midst of the chaos, my colleagues and I have been doing assessment tutorials in the relative calm of the office.

Most of the tutorials have been uneventful, but Wednesday brought a particularly vigorous bout of construction activity on the other side of the plasterboard wall, just as my colleague and I were attempting to enter into discussion with a Type 5 Inaudible student. The shelves above my desk wobbled alarmingly as if in an earthquake, and the vibrations caused the Cookie-Bite Dalek’s arms to fall off. The drilling noise which followed, paradoxically caused the student to speak even more quietly than before, and there was nearly a clash of tutorly heads as my colleague and I inched our chairs ever closer to hear, straining forward at an increasingly acute angle with each bash of the sledgehammer which accompanied the drilling. God knows what the students were up to, but knowing the over-engineering which goes on with some of the displays, they were probably putting a caption on a piece of work.

As the week has progressed, the dust caused by all the sanding has taken its toll on the office soft furnishings. The carpet is covered in footprints from paint spills and The Assessment Hot Seat is slowly changing from charcoal grey to white as each student deposits a backside worth of powdered paint on to the upholstery. I had even more cause for concern for my own upholstery, however, when I looked in the mirror yesterday afternoon. I was rather embarrassed to see two saucer-sized white circles on my stylish black outfit which clearly advertised a substantial and undetected contact between my chest and a dust-covered surface at some earlier point in the day. I don’t know what the surface was, but I can say categorically that it wasn’t human.


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