Car 7

Ms Julie Gluck

Outward appearance

Stylish woman in late middle age. Skin like a walnut, honey hair wrapped in a slinky patterned scarf. Brown nylon stockings visible in cleavage of tiny shoes. Behind her feet, a painting is turned to face the seat. Canvas has been left unstapled at the back; the wood is badly joined.

Inside information

Runs No Bars Gallery, a space on Lower Marsh. Friends stage openings, drink cheap wine, skittishly look for critics who never arrive, and then leave the pictures on the walls for two weeks in the locked and closed ex-cafe. Nobody bothers to steal them. It's called art.

What she is doing or thinking

Wondering how she can face carrying this painting through the streets. It is an impasto portrait of female genitalia.

"I'm a heterosexual Mapplethrope," said the artist, Jeremy. Some hope. He's always been a sad little fuck, the kind of kid who gets beaten up. Julie has always found him physically repulsive; she didn't know that he was obsessed with prostitutes.

What faces the wall is quite simply the worst single thing Julie has ever seen in her life, muddy with paint, hideous to look at, poorly mounted, it involves an inserted and lit candle and is called True Love.

"I wanted to celebrate the endless variety of whores," says Jeremy. Sure. That's why all the paintings look the same.

The train whines into Waterloo. Julie stands, adjusts her headscarf and suddenly realizes she's not going to carry that thing out. With an air of delicate nonchalance, she turns and leaves it to its fate.

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