Sunday, 21 July 2013

The secret life of everyday things

"Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those who we cannot resemble."
(Samuel Johnson)

I've often been told I've a "wacky" or absurd sense of humour, inherited from Dad I suppose; I also find very basic, probably puerile, things quite funny. Terry Border is an American photographer and humourist who started creating ridiculous scenes with fruit, veg and household objects about six years ago. Using wire to manipulate and pose his apples, cornflakes and muffins in and out of context, his "Bent Objects" never fail to amuse me.
Terry Border subtitles his art "The secret life of everyday things", which I particularly love. My favourites are the cookie-crumbled who's down and out outside Tiffany's, the candle burning itself at both ends, the enthusiastic (hot)dog who's messed on the newspaper.
There's incongruity and the ridiculous all round us in this world. Just as I look back at photos of my PVC, pacifist-vegetarian-punk trousers and day-glow micro-mini skirts, future generations with an evolved sophistication will refer back to our hopes, fears and ways of being. In fact, there's an innate sophistication and satire in Terry Border's observations. Perhaps my PVC jeans were really sartorial satire; maybe that's why they were so uncomfortable...
Imagination is so frequently dismissed as day-dreaming, yet it produces little sculptures of wit and wisdom such as the creations here. Four hundred years before Christ was born, still centuries before Leonardo Da Vinci was doodling helicopters in his spare time, the Ancient Greek philosopher Archytas was creating bird-shaped, self-propelled flying devices. Once you start to view what seems unlikely or impossible as magical or miraculous, you can see the world as the bright and endlessly benign haven it was intended to be.
"King of Wishful Thinking" is an old favourite sing-along of mine from another of my most loved films. Like my lovely friend Ellen, I know whole swathes of dialogue from the film "Pretty Woman"; actually I probably know all of it, for all the characters. Other friends dismiss it as an unsophisticated 90's "rom-com". Apart from being gently witty and affectionately acted by the leads, it has it's own message. It's Cinderella with a sharp twist: Prince Charming, who sometimes isn't that Charming because he is Sad, meets Cinderella, who has a Hidden Heart of Gold which must stay hidden because Cinders is a Hooker (not the rugby type). Essentially, the Hooker knows more about truth and values than the Prince; he thinks he's saving her but it could just be the other way round. Of course, they live happily ever after, which is totally absurd huh?
I've included the song here mainly for Ellen, but also because after sniffling and smiling my way through the film yet again, I've been singing it for days. I usually only sing in the shower: I thought of joining a choir but they wouldn't all fit in my bathroom.

"On almost any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face."
Albert Camus


"King of Wishful Thinking"  Go West

"Kiwi getting ready for the Beach" (Terry Border)


  1. Love the photos ... they make one smile.

    I too used to sing in the bath. Then my neighbours broke all our windows so they could hear me better!

    Now I walk up and down the shower playing the bagpipes.

    God bless.

    1. Boom boom Victor! I love the sound of bagpipes although possibly not gurgling ones! God bless.

  2. Laughing once again Gisele, I love you to bits!!!! The photos are brilliant.

    1. Cute aren't they but also very clever..... Just like the best women in fact Chrissie. Love you too xx