Adverts, innum?
dick rampant


Paris, art and ants

By local soak Marcus Keeley

Posted May 23, 2014
dali sign
Montmartre: Surrealism next right. (Check bottom for credit)

Is the ghost of Salvador Dalí stalking Belfast comedian Marcus Keeley?

When I was in Paris the other week, Niamh and I visited the Espace Dalí in Montmartre.

Earlier that day we had undertaken the customary visit to Sacre-Coeur to get a commemorative gold coin with the basilica on one side and the face of Pope John Paul II on the other.

The coin was produced alarmingly efficiently to celebrate JP's canonisation a brief time ago; the Catholic Church doesn't wait long to bang out their souvenirs.

Something else has to be said that these are produced from a coin vending machine for €2 (£1.62; $2.73) a pop in the middle of a massive church.

These coins exist all over Paris and are reflective of where you are; so you can get one in the Louvre, Notre Dame, etc, so not another racket exclusive to churches.

On our way out into the rain, as it rained much of the time on our visit, we paused under a tree to take in the view of Paris so high up, again, as is customary.

Shortly after this, while having lunch in a nearby café, Niamh began to notice that I was increasingly covered in ants.

Brushing them off, careful to avoid dropping them on my croque-monsieur, I got a little perturbed as they kept appearing.

I began fearing an infestation on my person.

We quickly finished our food, I drank the rest of my beer, as is customary on holiday at 11:30, and we headed off to the Dalí museum.

It was an impressive space, mainly concerned with sculptures of his famous painted works, as he took to sculpture later in his career.

The gift shop was as you'd expect.

dali painting
The Persistence of Memory: Note how the hands follow you round the room. (Check bottom for credit)

When we arrived home in Belfast, fatigued from the usual aspects of travel, I began to stow away all of my items on my shelf.

This proved to be additionally difficult as my mother had taken it upon herself to temporarily1 store some less popular household items in my room out of the way (I’d been gone for four days).

Some ill-conceived 'over-the-door' metal storage racks for the bathroom; a chest-height, light-up tree thing that was originally for Christmas but isn't overly Christmassy/is tasteful enough to serve as a lighting feature during non-holy periods; and some other general items of mine I'd thoughtlessly seconded to various other rooms in the house.

Placing my passport back onto my shelf, I nudged the bottom tip of the Dalí-style melting clock Niamh had gotten me for my birthday a few years ago, bringing the face forward and having it tumble towards the floor.

I squinted my eyes, anticipating it to fall upon my foot and smash.

Instead, it caught on a branch of the tree that had been placed in my room, recreating Dalí's The Persistence of Memory.

Albeit, much less grandly and in much less auspicious circumstances.

Looking at the clock hanging there, taking in this serendipitous, coincidental moment, the ants returned to my mind.

Dalí often used ants to symbolise decay and putrefaction and I had been covered in them just before visiting the museum that day!

I struggled with what this all meant.

What is Dalí trying to tell me?

Am I to provide a message via his symbolism?

Am I the re-incarnated Salvador?

After all, he died a few months before I was born.

Am I destined for surrealist greatness?

After calming myself, I put the ants in Montmartre that day down to the fact I was sheltering under a tree when it was raining and had them fall upon me, and the clock falling on the tree to me and my consistent clumsiness.

Nothing special, just stupid and tired.

As is customary.

See also Belfast by bus, posted 20/5/14.

Marcus Keeley
is a comedian, improviser and soak. Regularly gigging in Belfast and Paris, he is the host and promoter of the Voicebox Comedy alternative comedy club, a member of the Wonder Frog improv group and an all-round homme fatale. You can follow him, Voicebox Comedy and Wonder Frog on Twitter here, here and here, respectively. Meanwhile, to keep tabs on Marcus via FaceBook, have a click of this.

Picture credits

Top and thumb: A sign outside the Espace Dalí by MissCookie1994.

Bottom: The Persistence of Memory © Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

For licensing information click the above links.


1) The tree is still in my room.

Share this story, yeah?


Big Fish and Footbridge

marcus keeley on the big fish in belfast

Marcus Keeley appraises Belfast's Big Fish and finds it a tad lacking.

Booted off the bus to Bridgetown


Dub reggae, inverted racism and vibrating buttocks are just some of the things you can enjoy on a Barbadian bus.

Don't panic!

As any galactic hitchhiker knows, when things go awry, don't panic.