It’s a very odd thing—
As odd as can be—
That what ever Miss T eats
Turns into Miss T.
Walter De La Mare, Miss T.
As much as I used to love turning into a mouse, it kind of gets to you after a while. The ears are pretty cute if cute’s your thing, which it’s not, wasn’t or ever likely to be, so I’m looking for something else to be— and if I’ve learnt anything over the last few days, it’s that the female of species is distinctly off-limits.
You could say I’m on the market for a new barrel— a furry one, something that floats and preferably— something that tastes goood. Especially since I am having an extended vowel sound day…
I was chatting with my friend Delfinus some time ago about a similar subject. She’s from Illinois and unfortunately for her, had a peculiar blood condition which left her symptomatic of something rather less than alive, so there was not much else to do other than find a way to laugh at it. This was all pre-vamp chic, so being bitten by a vampires wasn’t quite the vogue it is today; and for a Christian: becoming affiliated with the dark side, had certain social quandaries and a similar ring to a teen-aged boys first foray into Playboy ownership.
Why else do you think we would’ve been discussing eating our neighbours pets?
She was philosophical about it, though it did get her down at times. It can’t be easy making friends with people and then eating them, can it? I’d even toyed with the idea of getting Hag to give her a few tips on what species of flesh tastes best and how to prepare it when you are in a spot— perhaps even consider opening an eatery for other Lords of the Undead, calling it Killer’s, specialising in corpses to go. But then again, I thought it for-the-best that not too many people find out about either of them, unless there were to be incentives like how to carve a wooden steak.
Like I was saying first of all, this mouse charade had to stop. I loved the ‘eeek-ing’ and I loved the fact I got to eat my weight in cheese whenever the transformation took place; but Autumn had started to give me looks. Brave she may not’ve beeen— since ‘positively cowardly’ is the only ‘pc’ in her routine— but when it came to getting a scamper on with only a couple of ‘eeeks!’ to defend myself, there are few realistic stands worth a chance in hell to bet against surviving— even if there was nothing remotely regimental about my cat.
This I suppose is still a dilemma, because it’s only a matter of time before I get eaten by something. And if I’m gonna get eaten, I want to taste goood!
Call me old fashioned, but I can’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant and found mouse on the menu— cat on the other hand? So I think I’m justified therefore, to conclude that they aren’t the best tasting rodent on the face of the earth. I wouldn’t even like to begin to imagine how much meat you’d get off one… Well, not again:
The last time I did, I declared that we should get a discount on the blind ones, only to be told that they were Chef’s speciality— reared in complete darkness in a cage strapped to the back of retired pit-ponies; something to do with the price of canaries spiralling out of control— and since they were gong to be killed anyway, it was cost effective to use them instead of the birds.
‘It all adds to the flavour’, said one old boy. ‘Thems there mices are bloody ‘eroes. Taste better then them others do too. ‘
To which I added very little but a wry smile and decided to try the fricassee’d panda. There is no doubt in my mind, that if they tasted like chicken there’d be millions of them— so dispute that at your peril.
So mouse-meat would not fill you up and in all honesty, would probably be bland. I find rabbit a little bland and they have a great deal more going for them then mice— but they don’t really have enough variation of sound to warrant a full coolness rating; much like the Martians, but they get discounted owing to their leathery skin; and our future monkey overlords who haven’t yet been introduced to the narrative— and besides I’ve already stated that I consider their meat to be a little tasteless.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is, that if I had to eat someone or something, I’m betting it’s the ones I love that tastes better. Take Autumn or instance. My special lady she may be, but if it came down to having to eat her or some dog of the street. I’d eat her. If I had the choice to eat someone I had genuine affection for or a contemptible prick— I’d choose my friend…
This wouldn’t land me in good stead if mine were the only family left standing after a catastrophic event leaving the globe unpopulated. Between the green blood coursing through Toebag’s veins and Hag— I’d rather suffer the fate of the Stephen King’s Survivor Type as opposed to tucking into either one of those two. At least I know I’d taste sweeet.
Since I’ve failed miserably in my attempt to make a point by neglecting the original reason for making it in the first place and ended up making several completely different ones; I’m not sure whether I should elaborate on my meat theories— which are rather wonderful; further my discussion on the animals I fancy becoming when the moment takes my fancy; why Hag would make such a poor hor d’eourve; pointing-pictures, monkey kings; the website that does tell you how to prepare rogue flesh when you are in a spot; or why cosmetic labels are linguistic wonders.
I guess either way it’s going to be a busy week.
Back to the dinner plate; for it is my drawing board—
And today my pen’s a knife and fork…
It looks like you can write a minimalist piece without much bleeding—
And you can. But not a good one…
David Foster Wallace
So with that in mind: I’d like to begin with an idea I had about using stray cats as temporary ‘cats-eyes’. They might not be as hardy as the real thing, but at least you could run over them nine times before replacing them— that said, I am in no way condoning the use of animals as traffic signals or road signs: I love cats, and with any luck the rest’ll be a little less cruel.
Minimalism is very much like dance— ballet to be exact— I am utterly baffled by it. It seems to demand a rather off-putting level of technical knowledge, knowledge I’m afraid would require me to slip into a pair of tights to fully gather. For instance, unless the performer actually falls over, it’s hard to know whether they were dancing moderately or spectacularly.
The same is true of classical music and art— where only an expert can really detect a wrong note or incompetent brush stroke— but with those forms we have the compensations of emotion, colour and story— except, admittedly, in the case of atonal music and art of the blank or practically-blank variety. And it seems that dance, whether classical or contemporary, shares with minimalist symphonies and abstract painting, a problem of narrative.
While great art can contain no story and bad art can consist of nothing but plots, our natural instinct when faced with entertainment is to try to extract a tale or meaning. When watching ballet, I was never sure whether to think he’s pissed with her or she’s trying to stab him or he’s asking the gods for, I don’t know— something?
The problem is that we’re most comfortable with art that achieves its effects verbally. It’s no coincidence that the mass art-forms are literature, cinema, pop, television and theatre. Even with a Beethoven or Mozart symphony, it’s comforting to have a programme or sleeve note revealing what the piece is about.
With dance I always felt as if the audience had to provide mental subtitles for what is essentially a silent film. Some choreographers compensate for this with the use of mime, but this just repels me further— mime being the only art form lower on my list than ballet.
I can only speak for myself, but I’ve found that learning about anything, not only improves your understanding of it, but also your ability make fun of it; should you need to lighten the mood in the the company of over-bearing pretentiousness of course. As such, I think it’s a point that should be hammered home in schools: if the class clowns think they’re funny now, imagine how funny they could be if they could read. The country that does will top the world’s league tables for achievement.
Minimalism is one of those things that needs to be snickered at I think, if not openly mocked— not just because it’s crap and because of the people it attracts— but for a combination of the two. There’s nothing better than observing the complete abandonment of reason that stalk those who follow it.
It just doesn’t have the stories. No matter how you attempt to roll it off the tongue, minimalism is dull:
A 20th century art movement stressing the reduction of work into a minimum number of colours, shapes, lines and texture with no attempt to represent or symbolise anything. It is sometimes called ABC art, minimal art, reductivism, and rejective art.
Now that just about sums it up for me: no attempt to represent or symbolise anything… For example:
Frank Stella, whose pin-striped paintings feature nothing but straight lines running parallel to the edges of the canvas for instance, delivered the ultimate sound-bite of minimalist philosophy, when he declared there was nothing besides the paint on the canvas and what you see is what you see. Wow!
Salvador Dali once gave a lecture in a deep-sea diving suit but had to be extracted from his metal helmet with pliers after becoming asphyxiated. Hilarious, but to a minimalist? I can imagine them either turning up their noses or suggesting he should have done it behind a screen, silently, with no audience— in darkness. What you cannot see therefore, is something you simply cannot see. A kind of Minimalism without the effort.
And what greater expression of minimalism could there be than not turning up to give a lecture no one would be present for anyway? I can imagine them patting themselves on the backs and marvelling at their brilliance and how triumphantly clever they are and wondering why no one had thought of it before.
That said, they must make wonderful house-guests, providing your plates are the right shade of white and the food is all the same colour. Quite…
The Minimalist sedulously eschew obfuscatory hyper verbosity and prolixity, in the smallest possible way of course— and therein is its charm.
As for me, I think I’m far too simple to really get it, beyond the facile syllogism it is what it is, but perhaps that’s the point. I like simple things, like carrier bags, no doubt for similar reasons: every time I go to the cinema there always seems to be hordes of children running about with them over their shoes. I don’t know why and I don’t particularly want to know. I won’t think less of them for their fashion choices and it’s not as if I will take a camera crew to their house and get the neighbours to re-decorate it.
But some people would; and decorators are as culpable as any for the proliferation of minimalistic lexis:
Share space between different uses
Remove formal spaces
Add double-height space
Reduce circulation paths
Build furniture into rooms
Use bedrooms for sleeping
Add a focal point
Bring in the outdoors
Invite natural light
Tie spaces together
Reveal the structure
Be playful and imaginative
Plan for flexibility
And all these things appear quite normal until you actually start to combine a couple of them— and then you get to the bottom of what they really mean. These are not scholars of the English language, otherwise they’d not’ve bothered. This is ‘verbosity’ merely posing as minimalism: bob-a-jobbers posing as intellectuals or stylists or whatever the professional nomenclature is these days…
The tying of spaces together to separate spaces make for endless hours of shuffling, especially once any formality of space has been withdrawn. But then again, what you see is what you see, so let us reveal the structure by bringing the inside out, whilst bringing the outside, inside-in; inviting ‘in’ the natural light to accompany the focal point. Hell, why not an indoor water feature?
Perhaps then we could entice raccoons to dinner; the sun past the zenith; sing a one word hymn to the dribble of damp bamboo; and find a way to squeeze through the space that was once formal.
I am curious though, as to how one actually reduces circulation paths unless you‘re actually tying spaces together: wouldn’t that cause asphyxiation and require evacuation with pliers? And how does one share space between different uses unless the different uses are in fact the separation and binding of space— is it prior to them being de-formed? Surely this taints the principal behind it somewhat.
If it is what it is— it must surely and can only mean, that it is and wants to be a de-form of some kind. Or perhaps it has no choice? Anti-art for no-one’s sake whatsoever.
And this is before we’ve been playful and imaginative by building our furniture into rooms. I know I can do it— especially after adding a double height ceiling; but how this would squeeze into the minimalist ethos, I’m not entirely sure.
As for extreme minimalism, I suppose less truly does mean more and to hell with ceilings altogether.
Thinking about it now though leaves me strangely depressed. Perhaps I should have stuck to thinking about:
aubergine juggling and
novelty uses for children as expressions of style;
all the other all important questions I haven’t addressed, including:
Is there room for growth in minimalism?
What do they really call themselves?
And if so, where does it go next?
I value little my own opinions but I value just as little those of others…
Michel de Montaigne