lifted Sebastian's black linen cassock revealing
a small perfectly formed dormant unexpected pinky
He was pleased with his purchase from the trendy
Oxfam charity shop in Westbourne Grove. He had
seen Sebastian in the shop window with his
companion Olga. Martin only bought the priest in
his painted shoes and shiny black hair which
framed his white porcelain wax features. A steal
at £25. He had quickly gone to collect
transparencies at Flash for our photo library 'Retrograph
Archive' and had not brought much cash out with
I loved and approved of Sebastian. A priest
fitted in perfectly with our eccentric Edwardian
house and was accepted into 'dummylandia'
supervised by Baden a life size ventriloquist
dummy complete with his green cap and whistle.
Ours was a magical house full of books, dexterity
puzzles, conjuring tricks and apparatus, games,
magic lanterns, pierrots, Mr Punch and his
friends. A majestic pastel portrait of Jilliana
cradling the American radio dummy Charlie
McCarthy by the artist Jo Brocklehurst famous in
the 80s for her punk pastels hung in the lounge
overseeing Baden! Not to mention Rhumba and
Tango our inseparable resident cats who added
character to the ambience.
But Sebastian had been removed from his companion
Olga. Left in the Oxfam window he heard her cry!
Dressed in a décolleté royal blue velvet long
gown, with brown hair and a leather neck that
flopped making her look spastic, Olga gave the
impression she could be an opera singer. Martin
had described her through his eyes and she was
reduced down to £20, the icing on the cake!
Sight unseen I agreed she should join our family.
She was not a wax figure but cruder, made of
painted papier mache. I took an instant dislike
to her. Her face was large and, in my eyes, ugly.
Her head was not in proportion to the rest of her
body. Perhaps Sebastian loved her for the sounds
she emitted in their silent world.
Sebastian lived safe and sound in Martin's office
watched by Tango on a small chair. But poor Olga
didn't fit in anywhere. She ended up in the
laundry room off the Biba kitchen banished,
rejected and forgotten.
One fine day my Parisian artist friend Lise le
Coeur came to dinner as she was having an art
exhibition at The Frances Kyle gallery in Mayfair.
Observant, she noticed Olga on her way to the loo
and fell in love with her potential, perhaps
linked to her art. Who knows but off Olga flew to
Paris in a black rubbish bag the only mode of
transport that evening!
Not long after a postcard arrived from Paris
addressed to Sebastian at 164 Kensington Park
Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2 ER.
'Dear Sebastian, I am in an
artistic studio hanging, like a marionette, from
the ceiling. I have had an operation on my
damaged neck and feel fine now. My mistress Lise
cares for me. I am learning French. She has
painted our portrait on a Tarot card and framed
it. It will arrive soon as a gift from Paris.
Today the painting of 'Olga and Sebastian' hangs
in its glory gracing my Brighton lounge, frozen
in time. A memory to cherish. I know the
whereabouts of Olga suspended in time in Paris
but Sebastian has disappeared forever and Martin
is no longer with us.
The lingering question. Where do wax priests go?
in my Brighton lounge gazing at the painting 'Sebastian
and Olga' while listening to the George
Benson 80s hits in November 2016.
Read out at West Sussex Writers meeting on 9.11.17
Google - Lise le Coeur
Google - Jo Brocklehurst