Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 10 May 2014
Mrs Mills Christmas Special
Now is about the right time to start planning for Christmas.
This year, however, I want the run-up to December 25th to make loads of money for me and my loved-ones, rather than the usual crippling out-flow of non-existent savings which I for one am still paying for from Christmases of over 20 years ago, and this takes planning and fore-thought.
There is a company here in Bath called 'Love Honey', and it specialises exclusively in the sale and distribution of sex toys. Now I know what you are thinking - that a dildo is not just for Christmas - but sales do tend to peak during the coldest months of the year.
The two young entrepreneurs who started this highly successful company have recently launched a competition in the local newspaper for a prize for the best new design for a sex toy which they will put into production (probably in China) as soon as it has been road-tested to the extreme under laboratory conditions, and this is a brilliant stroke of P.R. innovation and advertising.
I used to know the editor of a Bristol and Bath based magazine, and he told me a long time ago that if you wanted to double your circulation during flagging months, the best thing to do was to demand your readers to fill out an enclosed questionnaire asking for their most intimate sexual preferences, then post it to the editor's office. When all these filled-out questionnaires arrive on the doormat, you throw them in the bin without so much as glancing at them, for the job has already been done.
About three Decembers ago, I organised an exhibition for H.I. in a private gallery, and it sold about 40% of the exhibits, which is not bad. Some of you even came to the exhibition (but none of you bought a painting), and it was a truly magical experience for me, opening up the gallery every morning when the snow lay thick outside and sitting quietly in the centrally-heated room waiting for an acceptable time to have a glass of wine from the huge stack of bottles which I had over-ordered the week before. I want to try and repeat this experience, but there is always a danger in trying to recreate anything nice from the past, so I am not expecting an identical outcome. It might not snow, for a start.
You know how you go into certain sections of trendy design or gadget shops, and there is usually an area dedicated to what the owner thinks will be irresistibly attractive to all men? Well I want to do something very similar, except I think I actually know what is irresistibly attractive to men, which doesn't necessarily involve sex.
It is all down to added value, and by that I mean that the value of an object can be greatly enhanced by its presentation alone, so the the price-tag reflects more than the sum of its constituents, in terms of materials used, or time spent on its creation.
The net effect of this approach will inevitably lead to accusations that I am trying to pass as offObjet trouvé as Art, and although I will not discourage anyone from making this mistake, I will be quite clear that this value-added junk is not sculpture, or at least not Fine Art. This is the reverse of what many famous artists do when defending what others describe as being junk. It works for them.
In any event, most of these objects of desire will involve quite a lot of expense to procure and produce. I often see an object which attracts me, then I think that I could make it myself if I really wanted it, so I walk away - unless I couldn't make it for the tiny amount of money it would cost to buy it there and then.
Confused? Well this notion all started out when trying to sell the hand-grenade above. I knew that these things hold a fascination for men of a certain post-war age, and this has nothing to do with the nasty consequences of having one thrown in your general direction. They are almost iconic objects to do with British Tommys and Dad's Army - not much to do with death and destruction now that 70 years has elapsed since you-know-when.
Having seen one sell (illicitly, as it turns out) for over £160 on eBay, I put mine up and it was taken down by eBay's authorities with a stern warning issued to me about flouting their safety laws. Fair enough, I thought. I know it is safe, but nobody else would do.
So I found the rest of the bits and pieces needed to return it to a working model - save for the TNT, fuse and detonator. I'm not that reckless.
Fitting these bits and pieces requires loading the firing pin into the body against a very strong spring. The spring - under this enormous, static strain - produces a tension in the object which can be palpably sensed without having to see it, and this gives the whole thing a quiet and menacing potential which can be sensed from some distance away. About 50 yards away, in fact - this is the maximum lethal range of a British Mills bomb.
But - here I go - I am starting to sound like an artist.
The other thing about Christmas for British people over a certain age, is that - in many households - honky-tonk piano music records were always standardly played at that time of the year by one of two artists. Winifred Atwell was one, and 'Mrs Mills' was the other. We very slightly preferred Mrs Mills to Mrs Atwell.