The Auction (and Viewing)

So I was in London last week.

I was on a train, reading a newspaper, and in that newpaper was an article about Sting and Trudie having an auction at Christie’s… “Queen Anne’s Gate: Works from the Art Collection of Sting & Trudie Styler.”

Apparently Sting and Trudie Styler wanted to “have a refresh of their London flat” and were selling 200 lots, which included tables, chairs, lamps, coffee tables, and assorted works of art, including a Picasso plate expected to “fetch” between £1200-1400.

Before I go any futher, I should tell you a little bit about Sting and Trudie Styler… But to be honest, I don’t know a lot about them. I do know that Sting is/was a singer, and he possibly plays an instrument (piano? guitar?), and that Trudie is his wife. I also know that Trudie was on an episode of Friends where Phoebe pretended to be Ross’ son’s other mom in order to meet Sting and attend his concert (it didn’t work), and I also know that they engage in tantric love-making sessions that last up to 12 hours (don’t ask me how I know that).

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12 hours…

So I’m reading about Sting and Trudie Styler’s auction, and I’m thinking to myself… “I should go to that auction” because when else would I ever have an opportunity to buy a Picasso plate for between £1200-1400 that once belonged to Sting and Trudie Styler?

A little more about the Picasso plate… it was one of an edition of 25, and it was a plate (that pretty much covers it).

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The infamous Picasso plate

I nudged my husband, showed him the article and asked him if I could go to the auction and buy a Picasso plate. My husband, who is nearly always very agreeable, said “yeah, sure.”

It makes a lot of sense (and it takes a lot of cents… zing) to buy a Picasso plate… Picasso is a fairly well-known artist, and so I figured it was probably a pretty good investment. But then again, it’s just a plate, isn’t it? And I’ve broken at least 10-15 of those washing up.

I told my husband I’d be careful with it (I wouldn’t use it in the microwave) and I would put it in a cupboard for safe keeping, and we’d just sit and wait for the value to increase.

You know in cartoons how a light bulb shows up over a character’s head when they have a good idea… That’s how I felt… This Picasso plate was an opportunity… To own a Picasso plate.

The auction was on a Wednesday, and there was a “viewing” at Christie’s the Sunday through Tuesday, so I’m thinking to myself… “I should go to that viewing.”

So I went to the viewing.

I decided to take along a friend (“Jam”) because I wanted to pretend that I had “people”… because people who go to viewings at Christie’s have “people.”

As we strode into Christie’s, we walked with purpose, our heads held high* because that’s how a person who obviously doesn’t belong somewhere gets through security. I spotted the signs for Sting and Trudie Styler’s auction upstairs and quickly climbed the stairs to the second floor.

As Jam and I entered the room, we immediately began doing the things that people do when they are looking at things like art or modern furniture – folding your arms across your chest, furrowing your brow, tapping your lip with your forefinger and saying “interesting,” when it obviously isn’t.

We looked around the room, and noticed something… We were surrounded by old, white snobs. In fact, they were some of the oldest, whitest snobs I had ever encountered in my whole life… All Barbour and noses in the air.

We began poking our heads in the various rooms, occasionally breaking into spontaneous fits of laughter about the absurdity of it all. I mean, who would have ever thought that a woman named “Jam” and I would be rummaging through Sting and Trudie Styler’s old tat on a Monday morning half-cut on breakfast cocktails? (To be fair this is not far off most Mondays.)

Anyway, I was surveying a room when I saw it… the Picasso plate.

I went over to get a better look at the plate, and a Christie’s representative sidled up beside me. I thought we were going to be chastised and asked to leave (Jam is half-Indian and this crowd was as white as they come), but instead she asked if I wanted to see the “condition report.” I shook my head “no,” not wanting to speak and give my stock away.

We then watched as an old, white snob sat her fat, white butt on a gray, velvet sofa (lot #46). I gasped, waiting for security to swoop in to remove her and her butt… But they didn’t swoop. I leaned over to Jam and whispered, “here’s where I sit on Sting and Trudie Styler’s sofa.” And that’s when I dared to sit my own fat, white butt on Sting and Trudie Styler’s sofa… And you know what? It felt like sitting on a marshmallow wrapped up in heaven.

Jam and I left that viewing older, wiser, whiter, snobbier… having sat on Sting and Trudie Styler’s sofa.

When Wednesday finally rolled around (two days later, as Wednesday’s tend to do), I didn’t attend the auction.

Yes, buying a Picasso plate would have probably been a great investment, and I could tell people I have a Picasso plate without lying about having a Picasso plate**, but to be honest I did not relish (mmmm relish) hanging out with a gaggle of old, white snobs for one more of my mere five days in London.

Turns out the plate went for £5600.

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Marshmellowy goodness


* I always walk into buildings with purpose and with my head held high.

** I’ve only done this four times before.


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