Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Strange Things I Have Seen

At the Science Museum in London on Saturday I visited an exhibit called "Dan Dare & the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain." Dan was a 1950s English comic book hero, devoid of superpowers but possessed of that plucky can-do spirit that the British so love. The exhibit nicely integrated the futuristic comics with the strides the UK made as it pulled itself out of its post-WWII doldrums. There were examples of "modern" design and objects from the early high-tech sector. Among the artifacts on display in a section on Britain's airplane industry was this sign:

I love that wording: "Car parking inadvisable." Ya think? Huge spinning metal blades--huge experimental spinning metal blades--and, just maybe, you shouldn't park your car near here? That's taking English understatement to an extreme.

The New Christy Menstruals

There's really nothing exceptional about this paper bag, which I snapped hanging in the bathroom of the lodgings I stayed in in Cambridge last month. And yet it seemed to be begging for deconstruction.

PHS is a provider of "washroom services." "Disposal Bag," well that's sort of redundant isn't it? It's the drawing that struck me most. How best to illustrate the bag's true purpose: to dispose of certain feminine hygiene products? With a woman, obviously. But a bare-shouldered woman in an antebellum hoop skirt, the front pulled up coquettishly, exposing a single foot? Does that say tampon to you?

Just as it would have been too much to replace "Parking Inadvisable" with "No Parking," so the people at PHS can't bring themselves to replace "Disposal Bag" with "For the Disposal of Feminine Hygiene Products."

You Spin Me Right Round
I'm getting obsessed with capturing the world around me in all its mundane glory. Or should that be glorious mundanity? Watch this video and you be the judge:


Ken said...

John - why isn't the middle pedalo spinning?

There's a melancholy feel to this - are you sure you're not having an early mid-life crisis?

mark from alexandria said...

So close to the V&A and you skipped "the Supremes Story", how shocking!

Henry said...

So everything starts spinning right after John's trip to the Brewery. Hmmm....

Ken: obviously the middle pedalo isn't spinning because there is a dead middle-aged man stuck underneath it.

Mike M in Columbia MD said...

Perhaps it doesn't spin because it didn't go on the brewery tour with John and isn't "lubricated".

Anonymous said...

Apart from those that are kept in stately homes, of course. Elephants that is. The trousers were watertight, which is a benefit. The inclement weather related to a private indisposition. I once travelled to Bangladesh, where I saw toads mating. There are chain stores in Bangladesh, I'm informed.

John Kelly said...

@Ken: I already had my mid-life crisis, a little early but then I've always been precocious. I'd like to have another but I don't think I'm allowed.

@MfA: I had literally 45 minutes at the Science Museum, in between a West End matinee ("The Harder They Come") and an 8 p.m. curtain ("The 39 Steps"). I recommend them both.

@Henry: Dead man under a pedalo? Wasn't that a Morse? Or a Radiohead song?

@MMiCM: I wonder whether I'll have alcohol-withdrawal when I return to the USA. The Quarry House pours a nice pint but it's not a place I can walk to.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

The disposal bag is thusly named to avoid embarrassing you squeamish menfolk, of course.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait until you get back to the WashPost . . . it's gotta be soon.

You obviously haven't spent much time in women's, uh, washrooms. That bag just screams "tampon" to me. Perfectly unexceptional, unfortunately, in the ladies room.

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