The Five Pound Note…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s interesting china teapot is the one shaped like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Look out! Here comes the hot tea!…

Yes, The Five Pound Note – not very much like Mark Twain’s short story The Million Pound Banknote of 1893.

I was travelling home on the bus and my stop was coming up – well, not perhaps ‘coming up’, but taking into account relativity, the bus I was travelling on was approaching my stop. I stood up and proceeded down the aisle towards the doors at the front.
I generally do like to keep my eyes open, as they say, and my wits about me (do you have your wits about you dear reader?) as us artists tend to do, I noticed on the floor, under one of the seats, a five pound note lying supine, like a dead fish, amongst the normal bus dust and detritus. It was one of the new plastic ones; they do like to lie fairly flat those plastic notes, and not curl up and wrinkle like the old paper ones.
It was directly under a seat occupied by a bearded dark-haired thick-set young chap, it could have been dropped by him and had glided down and under; or perhaps it had been dropped by the plump grumpy-looking middle-aged lady sitting in the seat directly behind him, it was only a couple of inches from her feet. Of course it could have been dropped not by either of them, but by some passenger who had since got off…
I paused in my walk to the front and quickly worked out a few options. They were:
1) Ignore the thing and walk on.
2) Reach under the seat and pick it up (which would have required my saying to the lady, ‘Excuse me Madam, while I just… etc.’ and offering some explanation as to why I was suddenly diving down in the direction of her legs) and put it in my pocket… Or…
2a) Pick it up (as above) and take it to the driver so that she could put it into her special ‘lost property’ receptacle.
3) Engage either, or both, of the two, as yet uninterested, parties in conversation to find out if the note belonged to one of them. That could have been interesting I suppose…
And 4) (Which is the one I plumped for) To catch the plump lady’s attention, and say, ‘Look, there’s a fiver under that seat…’ or I suppose I could have attracted the attention of the beardy-man and said, ‘Look, there’s a fiver under your seat…’
I chose the lady because she was closer to me as I stood there, and as I pointed she would be able to see it, whereas, the beardy-man would have difficulty viewing the note without standing up, turning, bending, and peering underneath.
So, that was the situation so far… I’ll bet you are glued to my yarn dear reader, and desperate to hear what happened next…
Well, not a lot I’m afraid.
After hearing my piece of information the plump lady stared at me with a slack mouth for a moment or two, and then she glanced down and saw the thing – then she said, ‘Uh…’
Meanwhile I spotted movement from the chap in front – he had obviously heard what I’d just said and was turning in his seat to look round…
Of course having done my good-deed-of-the-day, I left it at that, and wandered down to the front. The last glimpse I had of the two characters was of the lady attempting to bend her plump body forward to retrieve the note, she was struggling, had her head up against the seat in front, and seemed to be flapping her fingers around on the floor trying to locate the thing, whilst the beardy-man watched intently as he leaned over to observe her writhing and sweating…
What drama unfolded (as they say) after that, I was oblivious of, having already alighted (‘alighted’ – that is the correct term I believe) from the bus.
If I bothered to get that cheap local rag the Dulltown Daily Mail, the next day I might have looked for a headline saying something like, ‘Fracas on the No. 62!’ or maybe ‘Furious Fist Fight for Fiver!’…

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Another jumping jiggling linocut…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word ‘mellifluous’.

How about another of my lino prints?

I printed this one earlier this year; it is, as usual, untitled, and on nice thin Japanese Kizuki paper (I must order some more of that!) about A4 in size, using oil-based black ink.
As you see I am yet again making use of that useful device I came up with for cutting large radius equally spaced curves in lino – well, I made the thing, why not make full use of it? (device)
So, what do you think this work is all about?
Well don’t ask me, I’m only the artist! That is your department dear reader.
I might make a couple of comments about this intriguing design though:
What about that box of oddities in the middle? Just look at those writhing rectilinear microbes on the left! The other bits in the box look like a kit of parts to make something useful and interesting, don’t they? Perhaps an Interositor? At first I had the black border going all the way around the box, but it made it ‘jump out’ from the background a bit too much, so I cut away just some of the lines where they met the aforementioned white curves – there, that’s better, it makes the white bleed in making the whole thing far more confusing – me, I like a bit of confusion…
And, how about just some of the black stripes having ‘stars’ in them – does it hint of transparency do you think? I think the inclusion of the small industrial scene at the top is self-explanatory – so I won’t say anything about that…
Ho ho!…

Posted in art, brain, composition, creation, design, existentialism, humour, information, lino cut printing, lino printing, linocut tools, prints, seeing, surrealism, thinking, Uncategorized, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mayonnaise and Doom food…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s colours are: pug purple, ruined red, yawl yellow, bummock blue, gallows grey, and oops orange.

The post person was ringing my bell and banging on my front door this morning at the crack of 9 am. I jumped out of bed and went down to see what was going on. He had a stiff looking pink envelope in his hand and he was flicking it to and fro against his bag strap.
‘You’ll have to pay for this – no stamps on it… I was just going to put a card through your door.’
I squinted at it trying to see if I recognised the handwriting, but he was flicking it too fast…
It turned out to be from Tony Mayonnaise, poet from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League, and was an invitation to a ‘Surreal Banquet’ that he and Simon Doom, also of the HSL, had organised. I was surprised at this because, they very rarely invite me to any of the rubbishy cheapskate local events that they put on.
I noticed that this ‘banquet’ had already happened two days ago, so I had missed my chance anyway; the letter was probably delayed due to those idiots failing to put a stamp on it. As you can imagine, I wasn’t really too dismayed…
There was a badly photocopied cardboard menu stapled to the invitation:

Plantoid musk potatoes in hot sticky syrup.
Oak and mahogany cube gum-bruisers in olive oil.
Flame-grilled piano keys (white ones only).
Cold-blooded molluscs on an unmade bed (back bedroom).
Magnetic plums on hot wire mesh cones.
‘Tangerine skin delight’ served with dirty whelks on salty sticks.
Bat-eye and ink-blot salad served in old ladies’ hair nets.
Apple pie and cream.
Whole exploded cow (with horns) stewed in iron buckets (back garden).
Pigeon feathers and sliced corks on hot buttered toast.
‘Glow in the dark’ Fukushima haddock (attic darkroom, no torches allowed).
Spider legs and black banana trifle with living custard.
Tasty moose hoof crunch.
Split sausage smiles and egg eyes on oval pink plates.

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The Wet Green Glove…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quote is from the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: (A C of D)
Darlene bumped and ground around the pole in a sort of orgiastic frenzy until the bird was on a level with her waist. Then she offered the bird the ring sewed in the side of her gown. He grabbed at it with his beak and the gown popped open.
“Oh,” Darlene sighed, bumping down to the edge of the little stage to show the audience the lingerie that showed through the opening. “Oh. Oh.”
“Stop it, stop it,” Lana screamed…

“Whoa!” indeed…
Anyway, here’s a picture I took a couple of weeks ago on my way home from a tea and buns appointment in town.

Yes, it’s another of my Is this a boring photo or not? pieces. I think that it will carry the title The Wet Green Glove, that’s pretty straightforward and to the point isn’t it?
Well, there’s plenty to look at here isn’t there?
We have the sodden work glove of course, which sort of brings an element of humanity into the thing, but also featured is a nice assortment of different coloured leaves, some rather pale-looking well-sucked cigarette ends, a couple of folded shop receipts (which at first glance in their choice of colour seem to be masquerading as five-pound notes, but unfortunately they are not), and a piece of a plastic wrapper of some sort.
As you can see it had been raining that afternoon and this moistness had collected in a depression in the pavement near the side of the road.
Why did I take a picture of this detritus?
Well, it was probably the combination of the rich colours, the reflective wetness, and the eye-catching glove itself as a centrepiece; also you might spot some tire tracks running across the bottom of the frame, from a fat-wheeled ‘pavement bike’ I expect.
A thought: To me that mass of dark brown mud with the bits showing in it, especially towards the bottom, has the look and texture of a nice portion of Christmas pudding, or am I being a bit too fanciful? (CP)

A footnote: As I walked past this small scene at odd times over the following week I noticed small and interesting changes to the composition, the water was always there, it hadn’t dried out – but oddly, after about a week the glove disappeared! Someone must have badly needed a single glove and had taken it and dried it out for future use…
Now, that’s a puzzle…

Posted in art, books, brain, colours, composition, cool, Dulltown, food, Hull.UK., humour, information, observations, photography, puzzle, reading, seeing, serendipity, surrealism, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Just one or two titchy items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quote is from the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: (A C of D)
On the river the freighters gliding through the lifting mist bellowed at one another, the sound of their deep foghorns echoing among the rusting filing cabinets in the office. Beside him the little heater popped and cracked as its parts grew warmer and expanded. He listened unconsciously to all the sounds that had begun his day for twenty years and lit the first of the ten cigarettes that he smoked every day.

Excuses for being late. No. 346.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I was deciding what kind of rustication I should have on my palazzo. (R)

A single overheard remark:
‘I was just worried that a face might pop over…’

‘How are you getting on with your damp shed?’
‘I got some special paint for it.’
‘Oh? What kind?’
‘Bitch human paint.’
‘Well, that’s what the man in the shop called it.’
‘Bitumen paint?’
‘Yes, that’s what I just said…’

An observation from the top deck of a bus stuck in traffic:
We had stopped next to a hand car wash that a while back used to be a filling station. Looking down I could see a newish black BMW being attended to. The grey faced plump driver was sitting motionless in his smart grey suit behind the wheel as three skinny middle-eastern young men scurried frantically around the car with dripping sponges and polishing cloths. A possible image of that same place on the road hundreds of years earlier flicked into my head, some local lord or baron, sitting in his coach in his robes as the local peasants were forced to wash the caked mud from the carriage wheels before he proceeded into town…

Can you stand to look at another item of spam from my comments box dear reader? This one seems to be from someone called Dennisl:
The more you continue the bright white red wine within the refrigerator, the greater number of the coldness will have an effect on each its smell and flavor, Consequently, it is recommended to only chill red wine for several hours before providing. This can maximize the taste and enjoyment that you just will receive from every jar you beverage.
Well, thank you Dennisl, this item what you have written in will benefit me plenty when I subsequently quaff the red. And I do yes hope to hear from you again soon.

An observation:
In town, Friday afternoon, 4.17 – a pair of very bright green check shorts walking along with a very thin man bony inside them – he was wearing particularly dark sunglasses.

A single overheard remark:
‘He did like his stones, but they were magnetic…’

Posted in architecture, books, brain, conversation, cool, dreaming, existentialism, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, observations, overheard, people, reading, serendipity, style, surrealism, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Perspiration is not thereby too much encouraged…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s old and wrinkled black and white snapshot is the one of me and Boris Karloff in 1952, in our whites, batting at the crease for the Hollywood Cricket Team. (HCC)

Old books feel a lot heavier than new books don’t they? It must have been better quality paper back then…
Here’s a heavy old book – it’s one I found in a junk shop a few years ago, it was only about twenty pence – it is The Daily Express Enquire Within from 1934. The title is embossed on the front in three different type faces, but it is a bit too drab to bother you with a photograph dear reader – here is a picture of the title page though – I love that ‘globe emblem’ – globe emblem, globe emblem… Come on let’s all say it together – globe emblem, globe emblem…

Let’s open it up and… Oh, what a musty smell!…
I will include with today’s selections, some of the words of wisdom and pithy proverbs that are printed across the head of each page:

Page 18. (The rank is but the guinea stamp*)
In Season in October.
i. Fish.
Barbel, bloaters, brill, carp, cockles, cod, conger-eels, crabs, crayfish, dace, dory, eels, flounders, gudgeon, haddocks, hake, halibut, herring, ling, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, perch, pike, plaice, shrimps, smelts, soles, tench, thornback, turbot,whitebait, whiting.

Page 104. (An evil conscience is the greatest plague.)
Champagne Lemonade, composed of two bottles of champagne, one bottle of seltzer water, three pomegranates, three lemons, and of sugar sufficient, is a princely beverage in hot weather; only care must be taken that perspiration is not thereby too much encouraged.

Page 372. (Little strokes fell great oaks.)
Mis-related Participles.
Many errors occur through the use of mis-related participles. The following are examples of this very common mistake:
“Shattered by the fever, his friends left him to his fate.”
“A plague to his parents at home, the master could make nothing of him at school.”
“Having got to the top of the hill, the city was seen in the light of the setting sun.”

Page 442. (A willing heart lightens work.)
Charcoal Ventilators.
It has been proposed to employ charcoal ventilators, consisting of a thin layer of charcoal enclosed between two thin sheets of wire gauze, to purify the foul air which is apt to accumulate in water-closets, in the close wards of hospitals, and in the impure atmospheres of many of the back courts and mews-lanes of large cities, all the impurities being absorbed and retained by the charcoal, while a current of pure air alone is admitted into the neighbouring apartments.

Page 224. (Begin well and end better.)
Dismissals.– A servant may be dismissed for wilful disobedience; for habitual neglect of duty; for breach of good faith; for gross acts of immorality; for gross insolence or rudeness; for gross incompetence.

*I have no idea what this means.

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So, where do you want to meet?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to unwrap the membrane and lay it out on a flat, yielding and welcoming surface such as a lush lawn, or a dewy meadow with wild flowers; use the iron stakes (supplied) to pin it down to the ground at the corners and edges in case the wind gets up. Put on the goggles (supplied), you must remove your sandals, slip the monk’s cowl up over your head, and squeeze underneath, remembering to take with you your flask of tea and your packed lunch; activate the interositor (supplied) and wait a few minutes for the alien craft to settle down near by.

‘Yes, alright… Shall we meet, oh, say, about three-ish?’
‘Yes, okay, I’m fine with that.’
‘Whereabouts would suit you? Somewhere in the town centre would be best, don’t you think?’
‘Yes… Look, I’ll tell you what, let’s meet under the man sitting on the invisible toilet.’
‘Under the man sitting…’
‘Yes, yes, I heard you!… What are you talking about? What man sitting on an invisible toilet?…’
‘He’s in the middle of town, near the station – it’s a hanging banner – you can’t miss him – it’s probably something to do with the UK City of Culture stuff…’
‘I think so…’
‘Alright, I’ll see you under him at about three… Is there a cafe nearby?’
‘Oh yes…’

Posted in advertising, art, brain, conversation, cool, Dulltown, Hull.UK., humour, instruction, observations, puzzle, seeing, serendipity, smiling, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments