Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Tuesday 29 may 2007

the rain only visits
when we are not stuck at work.
why does it do that?

I watched ‘Have I Got News For You’ on Friday, a comedy news-based panel game which features, as one of its rounds, headlines from an obscure magazine from which some words have been omitted. It is the panellists’ challenge to provide either the missing words or a suitably amusing alternative. You get the idea, I’m sure.
Last week’s guest publication was ‘The Barbed Wire Collector’, which I suspected might have been sheer invention on the part of the producers. As it turns out, it wasn’t. The magazine exists, and there is also a Barbed Wire Museum (two in fact, one in McLean, Texas, and one in Lacrosse, Kansas) which houses exhibits of antique barbed wire, dating from its invention in the US circa 1863. Later, ‘The Devil’s Rope’ was hailed as a marvellous device for keeping cows where they were supposed to be. Previously, it seems, cows were disappointingly uncooperative in staying put.
One’s immediate response to this rather unusual hobby is ‘Why?’, barbed wire not being the first thing to spring to mind when collectors and collecting is being discussed, but having given the matter some thought I find myself rather intrigued and excited by such an eccentric phenomenon.
The concept is, from my point of view, a surrealist’s dream (no pun intended). One imagines rows of glass fronted boxes, within each of which is a clipped section of barbed wire, extracted from its original context and presented as a small piece of art. Barbed wire, in fact, has already achieved a form of iconic status, as its very familiar and recognisable silhouette has long been appropriated into the public art domain and employed in advertising and fashion (particularly during the punk era), its meaning changed from its original intent, which was to prevent escape, to one which symbolises exclusion, i.e. to prevent entry.
Recently the Ugly One bought us a perspex toilet-seat into the lid and seat of which had been set several strands of The Devil’s Rope. I’m still working on the semiological significance of this. I’ll keep you posted.

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