Monday, 16 June 2008

Pinpricks Of Depression In An Otherwise Lovely Weekend

1) The Aisle Of Macabre Sculpture in TK Maxx, Lewisham. This is not a feature that is particular to Lewisham. It is in the mission statement of every branch of TK Maxx to achieve an Aisle Of Macabre Sculpture – grimacing cats, bodies entwined with a gloomy lack of eroticism and the like. But Lewisham trumped them all this weekend, with the Severed Otter's Head.

It is a curious piece of artistry. The otter seems to me a lovable breed. Who would revel in the concept of its decapitation heartily enough to pop this proudly on their mantelpiece? Perhaps only the world's least convincing hunter. 'Well, modesty aside, that one put up quite the fight, let me tell you. We wrestled on the river bank until I proved its master. Then I had its head glazed and jet marbles inserted in its eye sockets, the better to preserve my spoils. And now every visitor to my three-bedroom semi is transfixed by this trophy, begging me to tell just one more time the story of how I tamed the beast of the estuary. It is indeed truly the skill of the glazer to make it look precisely like a piece of roughly hewn china tat.'

Let us also pause a moment to reflect on how dirty the shelves of Lewisham TK Maxx are.

2) Dropped Soft Toy. Traditionally, this species is seen propped up on a fence or gatepost by a good samaritan who refuses to say die, hauled onto woolly tiptoes to catch the eye of its bereaved owner in case he should return to the scene to search for his fallen comrade. But this was an example for the eco-conscious 00s, captured lying prone in juxtaposition with a brown, garden waste recycling wheelie bin.

3) The man sitting next to me at Daniel Kitson's performance at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre who insisted on checking his cocking Blackberry every ten minutes. It was a glorious evening, with a heart-warming turn, a gentle breeze, tiny white feathers from the local birdlife blowing picturesquely across the scene like snow, twinkly lights, trees, and twinkly lights in trees. What could truly set the occasion off? Hmm. A cup of hot chocolate to warm the hands on? A cashmere blanket? An overhead comet? Wait, I know. A lit-up two-inch square of self-importance flashing regularly in my peripheral vision would be perfect. Thank goodness you're here, Mr Blackberry, with your chinos and carefully combed hairline of denial.

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