The Alternative Advent: Day 13
A boy’s best friend is his party planner—
Norman Bates was OK, but his mother was a bit of a bitch…
There are always positives to be to found in a situation, no matter how gruesome it might first appear. There are also strengths, weaknesses, advantages and threats. It’s a pretty simple process once you get the hang of it— the trick is to treat all these things as situations likewise and then repeat the process; because no matter how shitty things may seem, there’s always a happy smile in there somewhere for the more stubborn of you to find.
If however dogs, pigs and bulls are a little mulish for your tastes; or for the rationally ignorant: and it seems like far too much effort— there are always more heuristic methods to blag happiness back and plenty of places to download a mask with one if the inclination to think your way merry is a revolting proposition. With that in mind, I’ve always thought some kind of Eleanor Rigby themed site would be perfect for such a thing and if not masks, then at least second-hand cellos of funeral planning.
Anyway, it’s how I know I can be certain, more or less— to a point, that strengths can also be weaknesses, or at the very least contain them and versa vice.
Take the last couple of weeks for instance: I’ve yet to establish any form of satisfactory schedule with work or sleep— which depending on how you look at it may or may not actually constitute a schedule. On the plus side, it hasn’t prevented the development of advent material but it has stalled its publication. I haven’t been able to type freely, but I have been able to concentrate on visual content as a consequent and because of this, ideas which haven’t been codified have matured off-shoots and follow-ups that typify the tangentlemen I describe in a piece as yet unpublished but started to elaborate on, with the series which stemmed from Martian Shock Therapy.
The only problem with these tangents is that they have the irritating nature of post-modifying the pieces from which they sprung, causing the originals to become somewhat leaky from the top as opposed to seeping from the bottom, in a drip fed manner which almost demands revision of everything else. It’s a kind of incestuous literary flux I find most bothersome, since I tend to store a complete picture of whatever I’m working on in my head until it’s ready to be typed. The fact I have a dozen now that want to be bedfellows, not to mention thematically related is not as saucy as it sounds. It’s positively exhausting.
It still irks a little that I failed to fully explain ad-vention when I had the chance, but it’s been one of those painfully disruptive months where the mere mention of routine is enough to break out in bruises or cause it rain. I first conceived of Ad-venting in 2002, primarily as a verb that described a set of very particular thought processes and their end product. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas at first, but since the concept had been fully developed, I couldn’t resist giving a full Alternative Advent a go later that year. December has subsequently become a month I’ve indulged almost exclusively in ideas, creative supposition and hypotheticals.
Now, the ideas that provide the most mileage if they’re not immediately put to pen are typically the ones which have an underlying theme that can be shifted contextually and as a result allow for a flexible exploration of it.
Fine lines are always interesting in this respect.
This is one of those awkward ones which I’m in no doubt would tempt the path of polite conversation across that mark and back across them again. It just seems a pity it didn’t come about around the time the local idiot children thought it’d be wise to start knocking on doors expecting Halloween chocolate. I say ‘idiot’ with all the respect they’re due in regards to those of them specifically, who couldn’t wait until it was Halloween or dress up as anything other an ‘idiot’ child.
I am in all fairness to them: understating and feel great sympathy for whomever made them. I only wish I’d made good on my efforts and had a bowl of nail-clippings at the ready to out-post-modern them. Maybe next year.
In the meantime it’s worth noting that the genesis of ideas sometimes stem from slightly unrelated observations— in this case, the blur between news and entertainment, something as old as newspapers themselves, but also the difference between ignoring the nature of a particular content and being programmed not to see it.
At least ignoring something requires a degree of personal or intellectual intervention of some kind: a nice set of muffs or a door to close on cue works pretty well; whereas the other does not. And those afflicted by the latter are also an easy bunch to spot.
By using a slightly less sophisticated version of a Voight-Kampf test— it’s possible to identify them with none of the fancy equipment and silly questions. All you need is a piece of shitty journalism and a set of ear plugs: simply stick them both in and wait for an emotional response— or depending upon the subject; any response what-so-ever.
My idea for today then is really just taking advantage of this media induced scotoma— just to see what would happen if the next step towards bringing the ‘blur’ into the home was taken. We design a new set of Halloween costumes and accessories.
The Real Killer Costumes & Props Range
Because a lot of us have favourite serial killers or criminals: fact or fiction.
Norman Bates wasn’t all bad, once you get past the whole kill, exhume, stuff stuff— I once did a presentation on the horror genre dressed as Mrs Bates, complete with wig and scary knife and not only did it make for a riveting half-hour, it doubled to demonstrate the nature of this particular idea: the trend of bringing horror into the home, or classroom, Halloween, whatever.
So why not have the Berkowitz mask accompanied by a plastic .44 and a dog that barks commands when you pulled the string in its back; or the Bundy mask complete with a fake arm-cast and a rubber crowbar? Who would you choose?
Because I can’t wait for the year I have a hundred Dr Harold Shipmans come to the front door with their giant inflatable syringes followed by a hungry pack of Ed Geins wielding shovels and waste-coats made from other peoples faces.
Or an Action Figure?
It’s just a matter of taste…