April 11, 2017
April 10, 2017
Matthew 26, 6: Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it they were indignant, saying ‘why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.’
Am I, aren’t I? Do I, don’t I? What are you willing to believe?
Damien the diamond, bald geezer who also plays with emeralds and the truth
His latest wheeze – he coughed fifty million quid to produce it,
Y’all better believe it, includes everything but the kitschen sink.
From Death and Myth to Disneyland
And who’s to say how many cigarette papers there are between them?
Just so’s you can make what you will out of my make believe.
And if you believe that…, the sceptics say,
For this is extravagant, decadent, insanely opulent
But if Hirst’s Treasures can make kitsch, sublime,
Then he’s found the (postmodern) philosopher’s stone
Whereas a penny spent’s already too much pish,
If all there is from him is further deconstruction.
Matthew 12, 13: Then he said to the man, ‘stretch out your hand’. So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.
In the medical photograph you can see a hairy forearm, wrist, thumb, part of the man’s palm, and then your eyes tell you that the fingers must be stretched backwards, out of sight.
But that’s not right: the fingers are not there in the picture because they’re not there at all. This is what’s left of the hand of Chris King, aged 57, after a metal pressing machine amputated most of it – and most of his other hand, also.
In 2013, at a lighting factory near Doncaster, the machine-guard failed and his hands were scythed away. Like lightning.
Earlier this month, however, Chris wrote a thank-you letter to the doctor who sewed him a new pair.
He has achieved a remarkable level of manual dexterity since major surgery in July 2016; and there will be two more years of further progress, according to Professor Simon Kay, who took the hands of a recently deceased donor and attached them to Chris’ stumps.
Already ticked off: undoing shirt buttons, clapping, holding a cup of tea, pouring a pint. Still to do: tying shoelaces, fastening shirt buttons; then Velcro gets the long goodbye.
Bones, tendons, nerves, blood vessels: they’re all connected up and tied together. One man’s blood is flowing through another man’s fingers; though the texture of the flesh remains unusual, almost unsavoury.
Parts of the patient’s hands are pale and puffed up – you might think he was suffering from gout; and in press photographs he is seen cradling one hand with the other, as if there’s something babyish and unfinished about them.
Perhaps Chris is close to acknowledging this when we calls his hands, ‘my boys’. But at least he’s not suffering from ‘they’re not my hands’ syndrome, a hostile psychological reaction which has afflicted other beneficiaries of this ground-breaking surgery.