Auntie Doris’s Great Works of Art #10: Antony Gormley – The Angel of the North, 1998

Angel
It’s a ruddy strange one this. A 60 foot high bloke with aeroplane wings instead of arms? Ridiculous! It ought to be a laughing stock. But it isn’t. Somehow it’s magnificent. I love it. But then agin, I’m from the North. Well, Yorkshire. And so is Antony Gormley, the bloke who made the Angel.
Some cruel buggers reckon it looks a bit like one of the dirty raincoat brigade, a flasher. But that’s just being silly. It’s a ruddy funny raincoat is all I can say. It looks more like Jesus on the cross, or an Angel, like it’s supposed to be.
He is always doing sculptures based on the human body, is Gormley. Sometimes he takes casts of his own body and uses them. The Lord alone knows how he does it. Apparently, you can’t do it with plaster of Paris because it burns whilst it sets. Maybe he gets into a bath filled with some sort of rubber solution. The filthy so and so. He won’t have used that method to make the angel though. It would never have fitted into a bath.
Gormley once said that his body is “the closest experience of matter that I will ever have and the only part of the material world that I live inside.” You would think that a bloke like him would at least be able to afford a decent caravan to live in. There are some nice caravan sites around Hartlepool an’all, and I would have thought that they would let him park there free after all what he has done for their tourist trade with that statue.
The Angel is near Gateshead which is on the other side of the River Tyne from Newcastle. My nephew Michael went to university at Newcastle. I was proud of him when he went, but then I realised that he was only doing philosophy. What kind of a thing to study is that? It’s alright for a hobby, but you are never going to earn a living out of it. Even Socrates couldn’t manage that, to his dying day he was on the ruddy scrounge, borrowing Asclepius’s ruddy cock instead of using his own.
Any road, when Michael was up North, the Angel hadn’t even been built yet. But there was a sculpture in the university grounds. “Spiral Nebula” by Geoffrey Clarke. It wasn’t even a third as tall as the Angel of the North, but it was high enough. High enough for that idiot nephew of mine to do himself some serious damage when he fell off the ruddy thing, any road. He knocked one of his teeth clean out of his head, bit through his chin with the ones that were left, smashed his femur, and shattered his heel. His foot still points in the wrong direction to this day!
The Lord alone knows what he was buggering about at up there. He says he was trying to bend the top around so it didn’t point upwards. It’s a ruddy good job that they didn’t have the Angel of the North in them days, because if he had fallen off the top of that, he would have broken every bone in his body, and got to the other side before me. And then who would I have to manifest myself through?
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