United Kingdom does not want you

I thought I wrote about Francis Bacon, his genius in portraying evil but creating some moral good in the mind of the viewer, and was done with it.

No. Everyday evil is not letting me go.

Two months ago my elder son (21) went to the UK to study for his master’s degree. His younger brother (17) has been missing him so much he was writing poems about it. No-nonsense poetry. Now, do you often see 17 year olds writing poems about their 21-year-old brothers?

And today my younger son was refused entry in the UK to see his brother, because a minor bureaucrat made a major judgement error, assuming that the boy travels unaccompanied (even though tickets clearly showing the return date for the whole family were submitted).

It may mean we’d have problems getting a French visa for the boy in December. It may also mean our NY holiday plans will be screwed.

This makes me revisit the Bacon painting of yesterday but this time from a very personal perspective.


It is me, screaming very polite words of amazement in a wounded high-pitched voice at the abstract face of the UK Border Agency which is so maddeningly effective in preventing unwanted men and women from entering the country.

I need to jot down my thoughts on what I would like to do to the clerk at the visa centre before I forget them. My career in the horror movies would be guaranteed. Just saying.

Also, a bank that operates salaries in my company went bust today with a loud bang. With the salaries, of course. 

We, as the owners (and I am not referring to myself as “we”, there are more owners than one) are giving our people cash out of our own savings, with the promise that they will return the money after they get compensated by the banking insurance agency. This is borderline legal, but I don’t think any of our employees would report us.

Now, I am finally in London, and my son (21) is across the big dinner table from me, writing something in a little black book.

Game theory lectures are scattered on the table.

That changes my perspective. 

Not the game theory, but seeing my son. Though, I must admit the game theory helps.

We may lose a lot or a bit in the game of life, but the game is still on. A simple but effective entertainment, as the infamous Rock, Paper, Scissors. Unless played against an old mill hand with two fingers left (who is rather predictive at this game), it may be even exciting.

It is rather a lot to happen in one day, though. I have a feeling that the angel tracking me down in his celestial blog has been rather active during the last 24 hours. If he reads me now, I’d like to say it may be enough for today, really.

I don’t know the celestial blogger’s plans (I just hope he’d give me a few happy days off), but my plan is to get back talking about art soon. The Chinese art exhibition at V&A, and Paul Klee at Tate are two big events that are worth writing about.

P.S. Sometimes, I suspect people thinking up Daily Prompts read my mind. 

P.P.S. Today’s news: the Bacon triptych I wrote about earlier was indeed bought by a princess sheikh of Qatar. Do you know a betting shop that takes bets on identities of anonymous art buyers? I guess I could win back my losses at the capsized bank.


  1. I can understand your rage in the face of bureaucracy. I was in a very similar situation when I couldn’t get a UK visa to take my daughter to start school there for the first time. Friends had to cancel their plans and play mom on my behalf. Particularly infuriating when our children are involved. It is good to be able to vent it.

  2. This is the essence of bureaucracy: Many are in charge, but no one is responsible. However, since the individual bears no responsibility for his actions, since he is only in charge, it acts in an arbitrary and irresponsible. It’s a scream!

      1. Very good! Here are two poster ideas: “The Volga Barge Haulers” by Il’ya Repin to show how hard it is for other people. And “touch-up work on the railroad” by Konstantin Savitskiy as a warning, where it can go in life, once you get one of the poorest of the poor.

        1. It is a great idea )

          Unexpectedly, the Embassy came back to me and said it was a mistake. I’d have to write an update and thank them. It’s better late than never ))

  3. I used the same bank for salary but no one offered help. I spent half of Wed calling my friends and telling them how proud I was to get to know about my ex bosses’ decision )

  4. Great stuff here…I like reading what ever you write about. I like this because it is divulging a personal piece of your life, with your kids. I can only assume you would be a great father to have. I also wanted to say…sometimes I feel the same way about the daily prompts…sometimes they ask about things I wrote about the night before…or even years ago…but its more auspiciously clairvoyant of them, when you’ve been recently thinking about the topic they prompt. I mean it makes me ( not sure about you) but it makes me, feel like maybe what we wrote about or thinking about is important because we are not the only ones thinking of it. 🙂

    1. Thank you! Logically, it is our brain that builds its own associations around a single phrase or word from the daily prompt, and, very often, it goes not the way the prompters might have intended. Emotionally, it does seem as an acute case of clairvoyance, especially as I see more people writing about the same issue with a similar passion )))

It would be grand to hear from you now!

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