“Consider one of life’s original situations: that of a ‘Hide ‘n seek’ game. What a thrill to be hidden while someone’s looking for you, what a delightful fright to be found, but what a panic when, because you are too well hidden, the others give up looking for you after a while & leave. If you hide too well, the others forget you. You are forced to come out on your own when they don’t want you anymore. This is hard to take. It’s like turning too fine a phrase, so subtle that you are reduced to explaining it. Nothing is sadder than having to beg for existence”
Calle, Sophie & Baudrillard, Jean (1988) Suite venitienne. Please Follow me. Bay Press
Sebastian sat back in his chair and frowned as he read the open Word document on his computer screen, mentally kicking himself for agreeing to help out with the Mogwash pantomime for the fourth year running. Not only was he expected to be in it, but he was now being asked to help out with writing the script as well. Rupert, the Pantomime director and village overlord, had kindly sent him a rough outline of the plot, it appeared to revolve around a series of clues that would guide the hero to a long lost fortune. Sebastian twitched and reached for his whiskey; what was it with the villagers of Mogwash? First it was Scarlet with her bizarre blog encouraging her readers to follow a series of clues to find a mysterious ‘Bottle of Greed’ – as if – and now Rupert had got in on the act with his clues to find a treasure chest in Never Never Land [loosely based on the Australian outback as an excuse to get someone to dress up as a kangaroo]. Had they all gone completely mad? Were Rupert and Scarlet in league with each other? Was Sebastian really nothing more than a fictional character inhabiting someone else’s narrative? Was the postman going to start giving him thinly disguised directions to the whereabouts of his mail? Had the milkman hidden his semi-skimmed and Greek yoghurt in a location yet to be disclosed? It was all getting out of hand. He wanted to lie down and sleep, he wished to wake up in a world without treasure chests, or bottles of greed; he wished to wake up in a world where everyone said what they meant – in a world without a clue.
Be careful what you wish for, typed Scarlet, sometime later in July 2014.
My newly acquired status as a forlorn, slightly crazed misfit with a bottle fixation, at last endeared me to the bosom of village life, and I became a prime candidate for Sebastian’s care in the community initiative – a vehicle for him to explore the potential creative diversity among the villagers of Luddley-cum-Mogwash. To showcase our talents the first village fete for over three hundred years was organised in the grounds of No.3 Mogwash Mansions, a mock tudor art deco semi to be found at the edge of the village near the skate park. Prioritising my position, Sebastian gave me a trestle table set back from the rest of the fete – just down wind of the port-a-loo, so that I could display my bottles in an area that, in his own words, ‘would highlight the strong pervasive feel of alienation inherent within my work, encouraging the viewer towards sympathetic generosity’. From this I could only deduce that he was finally on my side, obviously finding my work as life enhancing and worthy of promotion as I did. I welcomed his support and flashed him a come hither smile; unfortunately, at this very same moment, he must have gotten an insect in his eye as he appeared to recoil in terror in response to my friendly overture. Evening entertainment was provided by George, a mild mannered post office manager with a large gnome collection, who for this one night made a miraculous transformation into Georgina, a dangerous diva with an unparalleled talent for outdoor operatics. With an ear splitting heartbreaking rendition of Don’t Stop Believin’, he brought the day’s events to a close. Finally I felt as if I belonged.
As the long nights drew in and then drew out again, the ‘bottle of Greed’, now nothing more than a hazy yet somewhat expensive memory, lay undisturbed. A more pressing concern now consumed me. In my haste, whilst creating ‘bottled Revenge’, I had misguidedly seen fit to use my own hair and clothing to produce the wax effigy, all silly superstitious fears had been pushed aside as I dispassionately pierced the effigy of myself with pins. My bravado may have been misplaced because since the creation of ‘bottled Revenge’ I had unwittingly become the initiator of a series of social blunders leaving those around me, hurt, betrayed, confused and perhaps a bit cross. I began to feel that I had been possessed by a demented demon hell bent on malevolent mayhem. A fine example of this was my first foray into ‘Bottled People’ (a new and exciting concept at www.wonky-words.com) and involved my best friend, Jules. My brief was to bottle her essence, to create a bottled representation of her character, of her soul, of her very being; to produce an object that reflected her innate charm, poise and sophistication. The pearl necklace bursting through the neck of her bottle is obviously symbolic of her sparkling, frothy personality, an idea conceived in what I believe was a moment pure unadulterated artistic genius. Jules, inexplicably, didn’t see it this way.
. . . had left misleading, often completely meaningless clues via her website. These included visual clues, whereby bottles would be photographed in unusual places, the most daring of which was ‘Bottled Flight’, whereby a bottle containing three large eggs rests precariously within a bird’s nest, 60ft aloft. Other clues were encoded within quotations and in a fictional story about village life. It is still unknown as to whether ‘Bottled Greed’ actually exists, indeed some remain sceptical as to whether Scarlet Blue actually exists, but an understanding of her work leads one to believe that the possibility of ‘Bottled Greed’ existing is highly likely . . . .