Introducing Adam Crosland’s Dele Llama

The other night I went to a crap pub in my crap home town of Swindon and got drunk on crap red wine. The pub is a rock pub and a crap one at that – ordering a bottle of red wine and a glass is not acceptable in this place. For the patrons of this pub, red wine is a beverage to be drunk straight from the bottle and only when all other alcohol has been consumed. It is a last resort to push you into oblivion and turn your sick pink for dramatic rock and roll effect. When I’m out I drink bottles of red wine because pints of shit lager and weak ale are now over three pounds; a bottle of red wine is a tenner – you do the math. Anyway, I am not welcome here; I do not belong.People with tattoos and permanent grimaces and very short or very long hair are moving back and forth seemingly in time to the music, but I know that they are practicing bumping into me with as much force as possible. Whenever I walk past them to join the smokers outside, I have to skip and duck like a Shakespearean sprite to avoid their limbs and rising shoulders. Holding onto the stem of my wine glass to allow for more control and flexibility, I look more camp and more out of place with each tottering step. It’s not long before I decide to stop running the gauntlet and simply sit back in the comfy settee as my friends dessert me for their nicotine fix – the familiar routine of the smoker’s mass exodus and the health-conscious hermit.

On the wall behind me is a painting of a llama with a crow on his back and a bottle of red sauce. It is glorious. When I am alone I stare at it and smile; there is a chemistry between us that makes me feel like I do actually belong here or more likely that the painting and I belong together. The painting is part of a larger exhibition displayed around the pub; it’s the only one worth staring at though.

Soon enough the smokers return and they start to talk to me and around me but I find myself staring at the llama painting and letting their words drone out. The process repeats all night until I start to actively encourage them to smoke more so I can be left alone with the llama. Later, stumbling home, I do my utmost to commit the artist’s name to memory; Adam Crosland I repeat with each step as I ascend the hill.

The hangover is big and bad but behind it or atleast somewhere in the middle of it is an image of a grinning llama and his friend the crow – there is hope, potential salvation amongst this white noise headache and soundless champing of dry mouth. I mean I have never seen any art in Swindon that I would want to buy; Swindon art is usually saccharine guff; brightly coloured flowers or dire abstract scribbles. It’s always baffled me that in somewhere like Swindon, a cultural desert, that there isn’t more true artistic expression be it through music or art or whatever. Instead it’s all derivative, commercially-minded pap without originality. I have wrongly assumed that places without a tangible atmosphere of creativity would be forced into creating organic challenging art, stuff that rebelled against the system, against the head offices and chain bars. Not so. I’m not saying that the llama is anything revolutionary but just that I wanted it, really wanted.

I emailed Adam, the artist, on Sunday and offered him fifty pounds for the painting; a fair bit less than the asking price but all I could afford. Amazingly he accepted and by the following night I was the proud owner of the Dele Llama – my first piece of original art.

Thankfully, I still loved it sober and found myself staring at it without red wine coursing through my veins. It’s weird but I say good morning and good night to it every day now as if I need to constantly reaffirm its presence in my life. After all it’s a miracle that I am the owner of a piece of Swindon-produced art; it’s like Romeo and Juliet, that is me, Llama and Crow against the odds in the desert.


dele Lama painting adam crosland
Read about the short-lived but exciting Bohemian Balcony in Swindon and Adam’s involvement. 

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Tom Spooner

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