Monday, 30 August 2010

Locked Bucket: Lock Up Your Waters

We came across a locked bucket. Neither of us had ever before encountered a bucket, locked. Except that is, say, in winter when a bucket’s full of water and the water’s frozen. But then, it isn’t the bucket but the water that’s locked: 'lock up your waters'. No, every bucket I’ve known (seen) up until now has been a Free Bucket - unattached. Funny, finding this one so ‘attached’, when we were on our first date, on a country walk. Do you believe in signs? I thought. Would have been a stupid thing to say – could have been taken the wrong way. The railings not only enchained the bucket, they imprisoned it. And you always associate buckets with prison cells.
Imagine a couple arguing, arguing over who lost the keys to the bucket: “I’ve not got them, you were the last person to lock it”. Or worse, before they go to bed at night: “Are you sure you’ve locked the bucket?”
I know, I’m going to buy a load of locks - bicycle locks – and carry them on country walks, and whenever I see a bucket I’m going to lock it and throw away the key. No, I know. I’m going to give my love a locked bucket to wear as a locket: a Chastity Bucket. 

Friday, 27 August 2010

The Love-Bite and the Lap-Dancing Plate

The love-bite and the lap-dancing plate – there's a correspondence. The plate, it’s moving (spinning?), whilst the thighs supporting it, remain still. Food- for-thought; good enough to eat; must have been quite a dish… but it’s a ‘dirty picture’, look at the colour of his fingers.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Giraffes Would Make Good Firemen

Re the last blog (First and Last Traverse of the Fireplace): I’m going to offer my next-door-neighbour this ‘lost’ photograph of a headless giraffe, to hang in place of his missing chimneybreast. Look at the legs. They have all the ballet-grace of a Degas. And anyway, this ‘lost’ giraffe is the perfect replacement for a stone fireplace. I’ve counted 227 stones on the fireplace, and I’ve counted 129 patches (is that the right word for them?) on the giraffe. Now the giraffe’s lower-legs are blurred (he’s moving out of the picture), but that works in our favour, as there must be more than a hundred or so tiny patches beneath each knee. But all is not lost. If you count the number of dark stones on the wall of the barn in the background – only counting the stones as dark as the dark patches on the giraffe - the figure comes to 98. Add that to the giraffe’s 129 and you have a total of 227, the same amount as the number of stones that make up the fireplace. Giraffes would make good firemen, too.      

Saturday, 21 August 2010

First and Last Traverse of the Fireplace

I followed Perec’s advice, but I didn’t expect to make the first and last traverse of my next-door-neighbour’s fireplace. I’ve lived next-door to an unexplored climbing wall – slept a brick or so away from virgin rock – for years without knowing it. And to think all this time I’ve been pulling (on a bar) in my hall, I could have just popped next door and hung on my neighbour’s wall.  But it’s gone now - the firewall - I had to help him dismantle it, stone by stone. Degas’ The Ballet Rehearsal hangs there now.
I wonder, would it be perverse to blow-up the fireplace traverse – life-size - and paper my sitting-room wall with it (on the other side of the wall on which it once really existed), like a mural? And why not, I smoke a lot? I rather like the idea of a fireplace leaving home - moving house. But looking at it now: I don't think so. The rubber-gloves suggest surgery. The removed chimneybreast looks too much like an operation for throat cancer.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Focused on a Fungus

I opened the curtains first thing this morning, to spy my next-door-neighbour, flat on his face in the garden, focused on a fungus.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Cause and Effect

I entered this photograph under the ‘Mongrel Section’ in the ‘Photographing Domestic Animals’ category: mongrel, even though the image is a blend of two thoroughbreds, both, the colour of shortbread, titled: 'Mixed-bred Shortbread'.
The judging panel commented favourably upon the well-seen shoulder-strap dualism - evident between the reigns of the blind-dog and the shoulder straps of the rucksack. But they were critical of the way the Labrador’s tail comes out of the standing dog’s ear - suggesting an undertone of unicorn. ‘Whilst one dog, entering or exiting another dog, is 'good photographic subject matter', tails, like trees, should never grow out of heads’, the head-judge said. ‘And tell me’, the said head judge continued, ‘did you have any small change on your person when you took this photograph?’ ‘I might have, I can’t remember, and how would loose change have improved the image?’ I replied.
‘Do I have to spell it out in Braille?’ this most visually aware of head-judges blurted. But he enlightened me in plain English. ‘When I look at that spot of vacant pavement beneath the near dog’s rear – the exact spot pointed at by its tail – I see a small deposit of loose change on the ground… that spot of street just cries out to be paved with gold’ ‘But first you should have asked the owner of the trainers to put a coin in the slot of the blind dog’s head, and snapped him doing so. Then you yourself should have dropped some coins and kicked them under the dog’s tail, before taking a second photograph: the resulting diptych illustrating, cause and effect.’

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Walked all day (in France), blisters on my feet: dossed-down for the night, under the shelter of a polythene sheet. Slept soundly to the sound of rain.
Next morning. I open my eyes – I’m on my back – but I think I’m still dreaming; my blister’s abandoned my foot and is threatening me - from the ceiling: dangerously bloated, full of piss (instead of puss) and about to burst.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Memory Of Your Nose

Re the UFO – the unidentified flying orifice -, the nose I thought I saw on the Dick: it’s the fin of a quibble. Quibbles are cars of the future: flying cars; cars you land – park - on your roof.
But once I got my nose into the Dick – I’m on chapter 22 -, look what I found. I don’t know if Louis Panda’s song, ‘Memory of your nose’, actually exists, but I do know that memory and smell are closely linked; smell evokes memory in a way that no other sense can. George Orwell – after running a second-hand bookshop – loathed the smell of old books, and Freud’s obsession with the nose is well documented.
I’m trying to remember all the ‘nose-books’ I’ve read: Pinocchio; Gogol’s, The Nose, about a St Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own; Patrick Suskind’s, Perfume – the story of a killer; there’s a lot of ‘smelling’ in Proust, and much about scent in Huysmans; and The Plumber, how could I forget The Plumber book? I am the plumber (according to the mother in the children’s section of the library). Freud believed reproductive organs were directly linked to the nose. Nose holes are also inextricably linked to toilet bowls. 

Friday, 6 August 2010

Getting Your Nose Into A Good Dick

I thought I saw a nose on the back of a Dick: a UFO - not the one in the sky - the unidentified flying orifice nosing - smelling - its way round the spine of the Dick. And no, I haven’t been on the glue again. This is my fist dip into the speculative world – I hate the term, Science Fiction - of Philip K Dick. I know nothing about Dick, have never read sci-fi, I only bought the book in the first place because of its title: Flow My Tears, The Policeman said. A title I later found I’d misread. I thought it said: follow my tears. I’d already envisaged some distraught detective, stalked – his wet patches followed, literally – by a femme fatale, in a complete role-reversal of the standard crime novel format. No, more than that, a whole new genre of writing - a fusion of Tearjerker and Detective story - Cryme Fiction.
But seeing I couldn’t even read the title correctly, that might have been the end of it - and I’d never seriously intended to penetrate the Dick that deeply anyway. Not, that is, until I received an off-the-cuff remark from my next-door neighbour. The book was lying about (unopened) in my flat, when this neighbour eyed it, and said, ‘He - him on the cover - it could be you’. 
Is it the curly hair; is it the nose? I don’t know. But there is something. Now this is the second time I’ve been told that I look like a man on a book. The first was in a public library – I wanted to learn how to fit a toilet seat, so I’m browsing the books-for-sale in the children’s section; had my head in a book called, The Plumber – one of those illustrated children’s books on real-life professions (The Doctor, The Policeman, The Lighthouse Keeper, The Dustman and so on) – when this woman, a young mother, a complete stranger – pointed to the photograph of a plumber on the cover of The Plumber, and said, ‘You should buy that, you look like a plumber’. What, with this likeness and the Dick likeness: I'll be able to unblock noses. 

Plumber photographs © Chris Fairclough. 

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Nose Of Light and The Big Swiss Sneeze

If that nose belongs to that head - and this photograph wasn’t taken in Denmark, and we all know how thick telegraph posts are - God only knows how big the face is!
I was once almost flattened by a Danish Parachutist, called Lars Plugg; he had a tiny nose, but a hell of an expanse of forehead: you could have landed a helicopter between his eyes without him even blinking. 
I had a brief if somewhat dramatic brush with Plugg, in Switzerland, one day last summer. I was munching Toblerone beneath the Lautabraunnen Falls (the big Swiss sneeze, where Sherlock Holmes and his arch enemy, Professor Moriaty, fell to their deaths in a deadly struggle), I had a triangle of Toblerone wedged in my cheek, when ‘Plugg’ dropped out of the sky and landed almost on top of me. I shudder to think of the consequences of a direct hit from a Viking – a fast descending Dane - from above: the triangle of Toblerone would have been forced through the skin beneath my chin (like a chocolate-face version of John Hurt’s stomach exploding, in Alien)!
I was in Switzerland to investigate the strange case of ‘The suicidal cows of Lautabraunnen’. Local police were baffled when dozens of suicidal cows threw themselves – for no apparent reason - off a cliff in the Alps. In the space of three days 28 cows and a bull mysteriously died after they plunged hundreds of meters off a cliff down into the picturesque valley below. Local mountain rescue services using a helicopter had to be called in to remove the bodies.
Strange thing about that triangle of light under the chin: if you were to trace it, it would cover the nose almost exactly; a patch of light, the perfect nose guard against the sun. I can see the advertisement now: ‘the right guard is the light guard: the light-guard against the sun is the nose-of-light under your chin’. Warning: don’t use triangle of Toblerone to protect against the sun. Not unless you want a brown nose. And what drove the cows to suicide? Who knows? 

Sunday, 1 August 2010


A nose, like a mountain peak, is a triangle. It is the simplest feature of the face – or the natural landscape - than can possibly be drawn with a ruler. Noses are blown, and in the hills, it blows like hell. Mountains and noses are both prone to avalanches. You do not have to look far – you only have to follow your nose - to find many uses for noses. We are all familiar with: 'he wore his heart on his sleeve'. But it's also possible - if somewhat unfashionable - to wear your nose on your sleeve (as well as wipe it there, too). Structures such as bridges, cranes and pylons are made up of mountains of noses. But a nose, unlike a mountain, can be broken quite easily: like a heart.
Robert has come upon a steel tower for carrying electric power cables and he sees the whole framework is really a giant set of connected noses, leading to a break in the cloud that appears to reveal the Matterhorn.
The ascent of pylons is a branch of mountaineering all by itself, called Pyloneering, and is practiced by visionary children like Robert, to reach the clouds.