My longest and bestest friend, John (“Guy”) Gilligan, will be the featured designer on HGTV‘s Curb Appeal this weekend. This is more than a shameless plug for Guy; for me it’s vindication of Guy’s talent of turning mundane items into objects d’bad-ass art.
Guy and I have been friends since ninth grade, from the days when hot pants and mimeograph machines ruled the earth, or at least my high school. We met in first-year German, of all places. I say this because we were the only two in class who weren’t dweeby losers obsessed with World War II–we were just dweeby losers. Guy looked like an extraordinarily tiny eight-year old; I had the personality of Wednesday Addams and the body of Pugsley. We bonded because quite frankly, we couldn’t make exploding tank noises realistic enough for our classmates’ satisfaction. We were the oddballs of the oddballs, a situation that pretty much describes our relationship for the past thirty years.
But there’s one thing about Guy that makes me sick with envy: his astounding design talent. In ninth grade he was helping his mother redesign their kitchen (their house was in perpetual redecorating mode). By his mid-twenties he designed the Christmas window displays for Gumps. I remember coming back to our apartment after work and discovering that Guy decided to put in a new wall in the living room or completely relandscape our backyard. He also had the annoying habit of picking up a trashed desk or chair off the street and refurbishing it into a sophisticated fasimile of antique Chinese furniture. Over the years he’s tried teaching me some of his techniques, but considering my artistic apex is the ability to draw a face using Japanese characters, it’s been a decidedly uphill struggle.
So tune into Curb Appeal on Sunday, December 5th at 9:00pm (or Dec. 8th at 10:00pm or the 18th at 12:00pm) and get a very tiny taste of what my life with Guy’s been like. (Please check for local times.)
A Very Belated Shout-Out to Russell Jones, or more famously, O.D.B. or Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died last month at 36. He was a member of the notorious Wu Tang Clan, a hip-hop group more famous for being banned than for talent. He wasn’t one of my favorite artists, but ‘ya just gotta admire the bling-plated nerve of someone who decided at one point to call himself Big Baby Jesus….