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Mrs. Monk's Would-be Diary, should have been written by Mrs. Monk, since she is the "Writer" in the family.
However, since she is a writer only in the conceptual sense, I have undertaken to fill these pages on her behalf.
If not by her, these pages will certainly be about her, and other important matters of the day

Leslie Monk

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Mrs Monk’s Would-Be Diary .........

Francis Als

  29 August 2010

The Monks were very glad to catch the Francis Als show at Tate Modern on its last day.

Francis Als (born Belgium, 1959), an architect, moved to Mexico City in the mid 1980s

He works in various media including painting and drawing but in his short movies his preoccupation with seemingly pointless processes, effortlessly transcend into profound comment, frequently laced with charm and wit.

I found myself engrossed by the film entitled Patriotic Tales, and since I had not read the Tate introduction of the piece , I had no idea what to make of what I saw, at least not at first. I watched Als lead a single sheep by a rope in a circular walk and then another sheep was allowed to follow in a circular procession, and then another and then another and in due course there were a complete circle of twenty or so bleating sheep. In due course the one and only sheep attached to rope was removed from the circle and the remainder were allowed to continue rotating with Als. All sheep, and indeed Als himself were free to go their own way but chose not to.

After twenty minutes the metaphor was driven home. Later I read the contextual note provided by the Tate as follows.....

“Patriotic Tales 1997 targets the rut of Mexican politics in other ways. Als leads a circle of sheep around the flagpole in the Zcalo, the ceremonial square and the site of political rallies. The action is based on an event in 1968 when civil servants were paraded in the city to show support for the government, but bleated like sheep to protest their subservience.”

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