POPMART Leg 1: 1997, North America



You should have seen the box of mail. Its essentially been three months since I opened the mail at home or my studio. There were armfuls of envelopes and plastic bags which were clearly going to require a large pot of tea and an empty afternoon. The weather's been gorgeous here, apparently, but of course the heavens opened the minute I stepped off the plane, so at least I didnt feel the slightest inclination to go out, providing the ideal opportunity to get to grips with my responsibility to her majesty's postal service.

Of the mail, at least 50% was pure junk and of the junk at least 50% was offers of credit cards (and they wonder why thereπs a debt crisis). Of the rest, probably 50% was bank stuff (I have a cyber on-line paperless virtual bank who curiously feel the need to send me a duplicate hardcopy of every shred of correspondence or transaction done via e.mail). There were a dozen or so lighting magazines; six letters from Scientific American to say that if I dont send more cash they really will take me off their mailing list; 12 copies of Time Out; various Sothebys catalogues; a smattering of New Yorker magazines; three each of gas, water, electricity, phone, internet & mobile bills (all paid by direct debit, but again the hardcopies still have to be sent out); a VAT return; a letter from the Inland Revenue pointing out that April 5th has come and gone so perhaps I ought to think about getting my accounts information to them; a letter from my accountant pointing out that April 5th has come and gone so perhaps I ought to think about getting my accounts information to him; several appeals from charities, mostly including free pens and/or handy address labels with my name spelled incorrectly; seven letters from real estate agents informing me that if I wanted to sell or let my property they were just the folks to sort it out; a swathe of food delivery flyers; a postcard from Australia and a letter from my mate Charlie in Seattle enclosing a selection of photographs of us in increasingly more dishevelled states of drunkenness.

Feeling purged, I stuffed the demi-rainforest of waste paper into the bin, had dinner with the neighbours and went back to bed. Quite enough activity for the first day home.

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