Mail art postcard No. 4501…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s unusual pencil sharpener is the one shaped like Marcel Duchamp’s urinal. (U)

WP F 4501Aha! Another of my quick and simple collage mail art postcards…
Yes… Now then, where did I put that old copy of What’s On TV?… Oh yes, here it is… snip snip snip… a nice fluorescent yellow background for this one I think… Hm… I wonder who these two lasses are… and what odd-looking frocks they are wearing… perhaps they are in some sort of ‘swords and sandals’ series? Are we back in ancient Egypt? Possibly not…
Hold on, Rex!… Don’t look at the eyes!… Don’t look at the eyes!… Now, where’s that line from?… Oh yes, I remember, it’s in that great 1968 Hammer film The Devil Rides Out with good old Christopher Lee… He was always worth watching… Oh, and Charles Gray as Mocata – creepy!… It’s the bit where the scary loinclothed messenger from Satan’s deep flaming pit materialises unexpectedly out of a cloud of smoke in the middle of the pentacle up in the observatory at the top of Simon’s house – oh, what a jolly good film that was!… But I digress…
Yes, dear reader, here’s another of my mail art postcards… Hm… but to whom shall I send this one?… ‘To whom…’ Do you like that?… It sounds very posh and clever doesn’t it?… You could imagine Christopher Lee holding this card up by its edges in his long elegant fingers and coming out with that…

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Victoria and Mayonnaise…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s heraldic term is ‘addorsed’ – of beasts back to back. (Beasts)
I used to have a couple addorsed chimps on my shield, but I had them removed, they looked too silly.

I generally don’t watch the local news on TV. As a ‘citizen of the world’ I’m not really interested in local things, but the other evening I pressed the wrong button on the remote and caught a few seconds of it. There was live coverage of something going on in Queen Victoria Square here in Dulltown; there were blue flashing lights, white police vans and cops in yellow jackets chatting on their phones. On the screen there was a wobbly telephoto shot of a figure who was engaged in climbing up the statue of Queen Victoria which stands high above the ladies’ and gentlemen’s public toilets in the middle of the square. The figure seemed to be hanging on by one hand and shouting and waving at the small, but appreciative grinning crowd which had gathered below.
A couple of hi-vis clad cops were half-heartedly pretending to climb up after him. A red fire engine, its siren screaming, appeared in the background. The camera zoomed in on the man; he had a piece of paper in his hand and appeared to be reading from it and addressing the crowd.
It was, of course, a very drunk Tony Mayonnaise, idiot poet from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League. Later that night after being released from the police cells he posted the piece of paper through my door on his way home; it had an attached note (written on police station toilet paper) telling me that I really should share his ‘spoem’ (spoof poem) with the world on my ‘blog-thingy':

Spenlop tipnaddy aggamorg sitsit blewn,
Strewnt strick pomelon dandermug,
Kakacake brenna choll,
Noidl queeping,

Moo moo moo moo moo moo moo,
Coo coo coo coo coo coo coo coo coo,
Woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo,
Zoo zoo zoo zoo zoo zoo zoo zoo zoo,
Poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo poo.

Thops tildo,
Brownogs fuft commeron,
Recky snecky binkle schlommet,
Tagra nuzzlers mephanoo plite fothno.

Tony Mayonnaise 2015.

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Some overheard and misheard snatches of cafe conversation…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s instruction is to go down to your local supermarket and practise your juggling skills using cartons of milk, vegetables, and tinned goods from the shelves.

‘A misrepresentation to the punters.’
‘A smart button to check that out?’
‘Quite the opposite of sane…’
‘A bitter noid… a bit annoyed…’
‘You need to have a terrible.’
‘Op-me, pithy and dewy!’
‘To threaten a rhythm with violence?’
‘It was the maximum cissy web.’
‘Hair-dun friend-wear?’
‘Oh, wash trunks!…’
‘He was suspected of north?’
‘Nought-point-one, a thuthie saving.’
‘Oh, stop it pencilling Joan!’
‘Kimberly slight-curves?’
‘Danielle is getting grandiose…’
‘Two just boister you know.’
‘Oh, nosey was a ticket and just sat there.’
More industrial paperwork!’
‘But I like to frown!’
‘Thank you Z-X!…’
‘Using these wee caps…’
‘Fairly drop it in the slot.’
‘Do you tanga?’
‘No to you – you wool thing!’
‘Dinkum trat automatic!’
‘Just one lie Ashley!’
‘Defferation and the awful back-bell.’
‘Electro-maybes are so useful.’
‘A parallel wipe it?’
‘It seeped chimes…’

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Gadgets, gadgets! (3) – Dealing with curvatures…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s random dictionary words are: marasmus, maquis, mopstick, manyplies, manumit, and bulse.
Please have these words looked up and placed in suitable sentences ready for Professor Mouldie first thing after breakfast tomorrow morning. Extra marks will be awarded to students who imbue their sentences with an atmosphere of menace.

Perhaps it is time to again peep into that old junk shop book The 1954 Gadgets Annual? As the book is just a very ordinary dark red hardback with a cream spine I won’t bother including a photograph of it, but here is a little one of the title page.

DSCN3900Ah 1954 – they certainly knew how to be frugal and inventive back in those days.

DSCN3902To measure the actual road distance between two points on a map, lay a length of fuze* wire exactly over the line of the road following the bends and curvatures. The wire can then be straightened out and its length referred to the map’s scale to give an accurate figure for the actual distance involved. Such a measurement does not take into account the slight increase in distances brought about by gradients, but this error is generally quite negligible.
(*I have never come across the word ‘fuse’ spelled like this before.)

‘Yes, my dear?’
‘Why have you stopped the car? We’ll be late for Beryl’s wedding!’
‘It’s alright Madge, I just want to work out exactly how far we have to go. It’s an idea I came across in my copy of Gadgets Magazine…’
‘Albert, just stop messing about! Let’s just get on!’
‘Here Madge, just hold the map flat on you knee while I untangle my fuze wire… See how the road twists and turns… Soon we’ll know exactly how much further we…’
‘That’s it dear, just press your thumb on the end of the wire at this junction by the church, is this the church here, or is it this other one?… Look, I’ll trace the outline of the… Oh…’
‘Madge, where are we now?’
‘I don’t know Albert, you are the driver!
‘Language Albert!…’
‘Sorry dear, it just slipped out…’


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Late night chocolate and charcoal…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s arthropod is the surprisingly sanguine lobster.

The other evening I had my next door neighbour round to watch a TV documentary on the life of the recently departed blues singer B. B. King; it was pretty good. It even had Hollywood star Bruce Willis in it. (Did you know he’s a great blues fan and plays harmonica and sings in his own blues band?)
My friend left at about 11 o’clock, and as I’ve been feeling a bit off colour with a cold-like malady lately I thought perhaps I should have an early night…
Ah, but when I popped into the kitchen with the evening’s coffee and tea cups I noticed, on the worktop, a forgotten bar of 71% strong dark chocolate that I had bought on a ‘cheering myself up whim’ earlier in the day. There it was, lying there – it was thin, flat, and beckoning… Perhaps I’ll just have a couple of squares before I retire for the night? (‘retire for the night’ – that phrase sounds very Victorian doesn’t it? I’ve probably read too many Sherlock Holmes stories in my time!) Well, I mean… Who could sit on the sofa, in front of a TV, with a bar of nice dark bitter chocolate, and not eat it all?… Not me…
By midnight it had all gone and I was mad and buzzing with all the sugar and caffeine. No point in going to bed now you idiot!… Oh, look over there, my drawing board with a big sheet of white paper clipped to it – it’s been there for months, staring blankly, waiting for something to done on it. I thought about a visit I’d had earlier in the week from my annoying, but interestingly eccentric friend Stella. She pops round to drink my tea and is very fond of making pithy comments on my art; last time she called she had one or two things to say about a drawing of mine from 1997, Landscape No. 78. (Drawing)
It started me thinking… 1997 is a long time ago and I wondered if I could still draw like that. Have I got better at my art, or have I lost spontaneity and energy over the years and become a staid old duffer?… So, with vague recollections of what the 1997 drawing looked like I decide to do another version of it. With the TV flashing and chirping in the background I made a start on the sky. (It’s always good to start at the top with charcoal as the dust and bits drop down as you draw.) Come on Dave, put a bit of life into it! – Be loose and playful!…
Suddenly it was 2 am… and I couldn’t stop fiddling with it… Right… I’m off to bed now… Oh, but first, I think I’d better just touch up this little pencilled bit… Oh, and that scuff mark needs some tidying up… It was 3.15 before I could finally prise myself away from the thing…

DSCN4003So, this one is called Landscape No. 102… Charcoal and pencil on paper about 30″ x 22″
Most of it was done on the night, but there has been some tinkering with it, in fact every time I walked past it – it waves, and it calls you over, and invites you to poke it around for a few minutes…
Well, is it better, or is it worse that the other one? Hm, it’s probably both… The new version is impressively fiddly and detailed, but lacks the strength and simplicity of the older one. I wonder if Stella would be interested in having a look at it next time she calls?… I think she’d really enjoy having a good sneer at it…

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Yes Officer, he had an undulating closure line…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s weather will feature scattered crystal hues, pockets of iridescence, a small paper bag of soft white clouds and a lone parsnip left on the top of a wall slowly going brown in the palpable sunshine.

‘Yes sir, I know he was running, and it was a dark night, but you must have glimpsed his face as he passed under that street light…’
‘Well constable, I… he definitely had ears…’

Yes, it’s time for another look into that strange and surprisingly interesting old junk shop book Looking at Faces and Remembering Them, A Guide to Facial Identification (1971) by Jacques Penry facial topographer and inventor of the Penry Facial Identification Technique Photo-Fit.

DSCN3661Mm… I think I’ll say that again, but in front of a mirror… Mm…
How about a page of nice mouths dear reader?…


WP DSCN3666So, which one do you think is the chap who is getting ready to hit you?…
No, but seriously, let’s see what Jacques has to tell us about mouths:
Since the mouth is the most vital agent in human conversation and the channel for a range and variety of outgoing sounds, from the faintest whisper or murmur to loudest shout or shrillest scream, it follows that the ideally expressive mouth shape is wide and ample, and that its muscle system is particularly flexible and adaptable to articulation of sound in the form of words and music. (The quality of such utterances depends, of course, on other factors such as intelligence, sensitivity, creativity and training.) Thus the mouths of effective orators (even of the soap box variety), singers, linguists, mimics and ventriloquists are notable for their elasticity and/or curvaceous line of closure; and even if the vocal skill is potentially or entirely amateur, used only for the pleasure of talking, or participating in amateur drama, singing or debate, the elasticity of the mouth shape will reveal the aptitude…’

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Space Provision…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s existential angst is centred around the idea of athletics.

DSCN3703Is this an intriguing photograph, or is it really a bit boring?
I think I’d better leave that up to you dear reader…

Perhaps it’s ‘minimal’? People do seem to use that word when they are confronted with a piece of art that seems so simple that they wonder how the artist could actually be bothered doing it in the first place.
I must say that you get a lot more of that sort of stuff in ‘fine’ art galleries than in photographic shows. I suppose the artist might be calculating and cynical and think, Oh damn, I really can’t think of anything new for this upcoming show… I know, I’ll just do something quick and cheap – they’ll think that I’m a really sensitive and deep person, a person who is in touch, Zen-like, with the fabric of reality, and the nature of aesthetics, and they’ll fall over themselves to join me and share in my heightened state of perception, and love the piece, and possibly part with a pile of money for it… Now, what do I have lying about the house? Ah, a piece of string, and a dirty tea-cup, and an old towel with a ragged hole in it, good, they’ll do… Oh, and I’d better phone the gallery and tell them I’ll need the room painted bright white…

No, I was sitting on the upstairs front seat of a double-decker bus; it was a pretty boring journey. There it was, Space Provision For Fire Extinguisher – what a very odd use of words… and where is it? The fire extinguisher I mean…
I’m sorry I didn’t quite get the lettering in focus, but there wasn’t much light… but I don’t think it spoils the picture, it sort of makes the words retreat a little into their corner. It is of course an ‘abstract’ composition… a ‘puzzle’ picture… perhaps a surreal one?  Yes, as a quick snap I think I like it, it makes me smile… by the way that’s my knee…

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