Damien Hirst and I were born within a few days of each other, which would in most senses be a tenuous link. I've never met the guy and probably have little in common with him. Except that his art seems to work right in the middle of my aesthetic bandwidth. When for the love of god appeared, all I could say was - wow. It wasn't the money or the sheer audacity of it, just wow I never saw that until I saw it. I've always been like that with Hirst's work; pharmacies, sharks, you name it, the connection is immediate and needs no translation. I have often wondered if the connection is some kind of cohort effect - that is to say Hirst is an artist of my time and age, his immediacy and importance may well be lost to other generations. In particular he and I are part an early media generation; full of television and adverts, when in Britain at least, it was all new. No surprises then that I picked up on his work relatively early, following closely over the years, travelling to London regularly. When Hirst first published I Want To Spend The Rest Of My Life Everywhere, With Everyone... in 1997, I got really excited.
My sister who worked for a major bookseller got me a copy for my birthday, possibly the best present I have ever received. The book has never been opened, still in the shrink wrap, I'm not sure if it has a signature inside (probably not). A few days ago my wife asked me what was in a box covered in shrink wrap, wrapped in bubble wrap and clearly undisturbed. I told her and explained a little. She asked me if I was going to sell it, I recoiled and said absolutely no, "Then why don't you open it ?" she asked quite reasonably, I said no - "Then what's it for ?" erm..uhhhh.. what is it for ? Maybe someone will open it when I die. Did you get that one Damien ? Then there is the question of which of us will die first.