“Well I’ve never seen the like of it Freda girl. I mean to say corrosion being the complex series of reactions between the water and metal pipes in which the water is transported leading to oxidation certainly had discoloured your drinking water to the point it had become toxic – bloody lucky you called me out when you did. Still, all sorted out now luv.”

“Oh Jonny I’m ever so grateful, I was at my wits end.”

“No problem Freda, luv. Think it’s time we both had a nice cup of cha and a garibaldi biscuit wouldn’t go amiss either. Tell you what if that back of yours is still giving you jip I’ll go make it for us shall I?”

“You’re an angel Jonny, thanks.”

“There you go, service with a smile.  Better dunk the biscuit while your cuppa’s still hot. Best way in my book. Anyhow what’s new on the old painting front?”

“Was that a double entendre I just heard, you cheeky rascal you?  Whatever, I’m into self-portraits presently Jonny, would you like to kop a gander at the one I’ve just knocked out?”

“Too bloody true I would girl.”

“I’d be curious to get your take on this one Jonny…voila, ‘The Broken Column’ it’s called.”

“Fuck me Freda you haven’t really done yourself justice have you girl…I mean, the old mono brow notwithstanding and as God is my witness you’re a fine figure of a woman and that’s the truth. I don’t get this one at all.”

“Well I originally painted myself entirely naked then decided that that was a bit old hat and thought it a sound idea if I painted over it in a surreal style that reflected my physical and psychological struggles rendered visible through distortions of my body, which is fragmented, doubled, turned inside-out and merged with non-human elements.  Metal nails pierce my face, breasts, arms and torso, as well as my upper thigh, hidden behind a swath of cloth revealing just how exposed I feel with regard to the vagaries of life following the bus crash all those years ago when I wrecked me spine.”

“Blige, only you could make a life time of chronic back ache sound like rocket science! Loosen up Freda luv. If I were you…and I know a thing or two about art… I’d take it back to its original state…you know paint over it again until you’re back in the raw.  I’m feeling a firming in my parts just thinking about it.”

“Tell you what Jonny, how about if I give you the original sketch I scribbled before setting to work on the painting…you know before I changed it to The Broken Column.”

“You’d do that for me Freda!  You really do have a heart of gold.  Freda Mahlo devoid of kit…it doesn’t get any better than that girl. Can’t wait to tell the boys down the pub… you’ve made my day.”

“There you go then Jonny I’ve even framed it for you…it’s all yours.”

“Thanks, I’d better be off…well as soon as a certain swelling subsides thus allowing me to stand erect…so to speak.”

“Don’t let that embarrass you Jonny, there’s not a lot I haven’t seen or done. And you really are a living legend Jonny.”


  1. my physical and psychological struggles rendered visible through distortions of my body, which is fragmented, doubled, turned inside-out and merged with non-human elements

    Sounds like my every Monday morning struggle to get out of the sack. Cheap wine and Doritos will do that to you.

  2. Jonny is but a sublimely gifted plumber who works exclusively for famous artists yet feels compelled to provide, in great detail the resolution of their plumbing issues. He features in much of the old toot I write as it happens…he adores the gals, can’t help himself in that regard!

    1. Certainly have, and the fiction based around fact . Barbara Kinsolver (?) book The Lacuna is a bit of a favourite of mine also. Freda is, by necessity, prominent within that tale.

      1. I haven’t read the book, but I will check it out especially since it’s Barbara Kingsolver. I usually like her stuff.

      2. I nearly spelt it right…it’s just that since moving home all our books are sitting right and proper on the book cases yet there is no order to anything and I can’t find the books I want. I blame my wife, of course!

      3. Haha yes that’s very convenient. I only have my most essential books here with me in the UK as I’m only here for a couple of years. But it’s kind of good in a way because it makes me want to go browsing the library or Amazon, looking for new favorites.

  3. I feel like Johnny has the potential of so many fantastic adventures…this guy needs his own theme song. Get Zoolon Audio on it! 😉

    But seriously, his voice is beyond amazing. LOVE it.

    1. Jonny will get about some more rest assured Ms Lee. If he ever gets to mix his old portfolio and puts them on Soundcloud here are some true gems…just wish he could work out his own accounting system and not give this old brain a task almost beyond its capacity!

      1. Oh ye gods, don’t I know it. I was quite traumatized by attending summer school just for arithmetic. Nothing kills lovely summer days like endless worksheets of simple subtraction. 😦

  4. This was such a unique conversation with Frida. I am a very big fan of the artist and how she lived wracked with pain plays out in her paintings. You created an interesting plumber in Jonny. 🙂
    Her association with Diego Rivera was fascinating and portrayed well in the movie with Salma Hayek as Frida. I noticed you liked the film, too.

    1. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver , albeit a fiction was when I felt inside the daily grind of a great artist. Jonny is my serial character, a good bloke at heart who loves the gals in his own ‘bloke’ type way. A simple soul. I have written many skits with him and sometimes – not always – getting into character when writing, is interesting, as ever, the gals must win out in the end.

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