Or perhaps Meet the Draculas? There’s something about that possessive hand, though, that makes me think this is all about him…
Surprisingly, the words for this collage were left over from the newspaper-culling session that led to the last Nonsense Newspaper Narrative I did. If only I could call this one ‘Nonsense’ too, but as we all know, history won’t allow that to be true. I find it fascinating that this story could be buried in ordinary, even boring, articles in a newspaper (a lot of these words actually came from a local paper – the letters page and an article about an escaped lizard offering the most interesting turns of phrase). I love how things can become abstracted too, ready to be reinterpreted. When I do these collages, I make sure I don’t sit down with an idea or subject in mind – the opposite, actually – so I never know what ‘narrative’ is going to emerge, or the image that might go with it.
When this ‘fiery’ theme emerged, it immediately put me in mind of the witch-burning trials that you read about in history textbooks and documentaries. Reading it through now it is finished, it’s rather horrible to think that these words might actually have rung true for some poor woman, many women, once.
Kind of eerie to think how the stories of history (and its ghosts) are always there just beneath the surface, waiting to be found, isn’t it?
A torchlit procession
I am set alight
I couldn’t believe how it had got there.
exquisite circles, They covered the skin
There is a loss of well-being
getting up the nostrils
I hear, however, that my
body was shining brightly
over at an angle.
The last time I did one of these was quite a long time ago, and it has been in the back of my mind to do some more ever since. I think I have said on here before that I enjoy making art and looking at art that combines text in some way, so doing this kind of thing is a lot of fun for me. Playing around with random words from newspapers until they fit together, teasing a little story (nonsense or otherwise) from a little pile of scraps also speaks to the part of me that loves to write, and the fact that there is always a story to be found surprises me and yet makes perfect sense.
I recently stumbled across one of those odd little corners of history: apparently in 1840’s London, there was such a thing as ‘The Hoop Nuisance’.
Here is a letter from ‘A PEDESTRIAN’ complaining about its ‘danger and inconvenience’ (particularly to shins):
Sir, – I have not for many years read a paragraph in The Times which has afforded me greater pleasure than that which heads your “Police” report of this day, conveying Mr. Hardwick’s just complaint of, and directions to Inspector Baker, on the hoop nuisance. As a daily passenger along the crowded thoroughfares of London-bridge and Thames-street, where boys and even girls, drive their hoops as deliberately as if upon a clear and open common, I can bear witness to its danger and inconvenience. I have at this moment a large scar on one of my shins, the legacy of a severe wound, which festered, and was very painful for an entire month, inflicted a year ago by the iron hoop of a whey-faced, cadaverous charity-boy from Tower-hill, who on my remonstrating with him on his carelessness, added impudence to the injury, by significantly advancing his extended fingers and thumb to his nose and scampering off. Aware that I had no redress, that the police would not interfere, I was compelled to grin and bear it while I hobbled away. The nuisance calls loudly for the interference of the Police Commissioners.
Your daily reader,
September 30. A PEDESTRIAN.
letter to The Times, October 1, 1842
I don’t know if the signature was put into capitals by the writer or by someone else, but either way, I love the appropriately forceful way it ends the letter.
I hope everybody had a lovely Christmas and New Year. In a fit of New Year resolve, I created a Facebook page as another place to share some art, as well as connect with a wider community. If you enjoy what you see on this blog, then you can like or follow the Facebook page if you want to as well (thank you if you do!): https://www.facebook.com/thegoozeberryjar
Here’s to a creative 2014!