Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Window-shopping whilst broke


One other thing to add to the long list of things which irritate people like me: When someone attaches a notice or whatever to a lamp post or wherever with a plastic cable-tie, and does not trim off the excess left after tightening it. Maybe this is a mild form of OCD.

I am really interested to know if everyone is the same as me in this respect: I can look at absolutely anything and know exactly how it feels without having to touch it. I don't mean that I have some idea what it must feel like, I mean that I know exactly what it feels like. Occasionally, I will test myself with this, and I am never wrong.

This may be why I cannot understand why some people feel the need to touch sculpture, or why anyone other than blind people are offered tactile experiences in museums and galleries.

In the British Museum, almost every 3D artefact has a notice to one side of it either forbidding it to be touched, or inviting people to touch it. I guess that these notices are primarily directed towards children - who go there in large numbers - and it could be that none of us can accurately predict how something solid is going to feel without quite a lot of experience.

If I touch or handle something which is not intrinsically useful, it is to try to extract some sort of invisible essence from it, or just simply so that I can say that I have touched that thing to someone else in the future. A bit like shaking hands with Elvis.

I think that the biggest tactile shock I ever had was as a child, playing around in some loose leaf-mould in our garden one Summer day.

I unearthed a large chrysalis which was a deep, shiny, rust-brown, and it appeared to be bullet-hard. As I picked it up, it squirmed, throbbed and writhed in my hand in self-defence, and I actually screamed in shock as I threw it back down into the earth. That was the only thing I can think of which caught me out.

I need no reminding of what a young woman's backside beneath a thin layer of silk crepe feels like, and it is not worth the criminal conviction by pretending that I do. The courts take a dim view of this sort of thing these days, no matter how old you are.

"I would like my advanced age to be taken into consideration".

"We did".

31 comments:

  1. Maybe your touch thing has something to do with your profession and your artistic sensitivity ? ..... I'm quite ' arty ' and think that I, too, have that particular treight as well as the OCD cable tie thing.
    Slightly off of the subject but similar ..... I see faces in EVERYTHING .... not just in the sky or a fire but EVERYWHERE !! .... it can be quite spooky sometimes.... Oh God ..... that makes me sound weird but I'm not . XXXX

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    1. Let's hope they don't start to talk to you...

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  2. You must have been born to be a sculptor. I was thinking what Jackie said but she beat me to it. I am quite tactile but can't keep my hands off things.

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    1. Really? That's interesting. I don't think I was born to be anything, really.

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  3. I know what you mean with regard to the touch thing...I am the same and yet curiously silk and satin do not feel smooth to me...I can't bear how they feel in fact...rough and nasty...wtf is that all about? as for the invisible essence, do you think buildings soak up energy or emotion?

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    1. Silk doesn't feel silky? I was behind someone in a shop the other day who had bought a magazine with a plastic 3D cover photo on it, and the assistant could not bring herself to touch it - she was panicking about having to touch it - because of the feel of the ridged plastic,

      I have an open mind about buildings like that. I am prepared to believe in anything.

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  4. Interestin g post Tom. It reminded me that years ago my previous husband, who was himself a painter, and I went to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition opening do. Everyone there was all dressed up and obviously keen to be seen rather than to look at the exhibits. When they had finished their wine and canapes they just left their plates and glasses on the sculptures. I found it infuriating and we never went again.

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    1. It's amazing how rude some people can be, especially if there is alcohol involved. I should know...

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  5. Your feel for not feeling things sounds unusual and is not something I have experienced myself. Not that I have any compunction to touch things, especially museum exhibits (unlike my older brother who once got us thrown out of the Victoria and Albert Museum because he could not resist plucking the strings of a violin that was on display). The cable tie thing is something that would nag at me though. In 1970 when Fleetwood Mac released Albatross I remember watching a TV performance of this and one of the guitarists (possibly Peter Green) had a long strand of excess guitar string springing around at the end of his guitar and I always think of this when I hear that track.

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    1. I can understand the compunction to pluck the strings of an instrument on display. It is the same with guns. Give someone a pistol, and sooner or later, they are going to have to pull the trigger. They can't help themselves.

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  6. I have had the urge to " touch" almost every sculpture I have ever seen ....
    What does that say about me

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    1. P.S. I hope I didn't do any damage last night. Sorry.

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    2. Here's a sober response to your comment. The worst thing about bad sculpture is that it gets in the way or becomes a trip-hazard. As soon as someone pronounces their work to be Art, then it demands some sort of respect from everyone which it does not deserve.

      Then there is the way that all the breasts of classical marble figures become grimy if people are allowed to touch them. When I go back to a white marble figure which I have been cleaning at my client's house, it always has a darkish smudge around one or both of the tits. I know which of the staff with dirty hands and minds are the culprits...

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    4. Oh, you changed your mind then.

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  7. Not trimming the end of a cable tie is just untidy, as is leaving the trimmed end on the ground. As is not removing the notice or whatever when it's past it's prime. That's the long and the short of my opinion.

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  8. Ha! excellent ending Tom.
    In my opinion, even the trimmed ends are nasty and sharp, but leaving them untrimmed is unconscionable.

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    1. Hera is an admission of possible mental illness: On the rare occasions that I use cable ties, I have to stop myself from cutting the corners off the cut ends so that people don't scratch themselves on the hard plastic. I can just feel those sharp ends now as I write.

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  9. Up at the barn, our electrician used those things to attach all the cables to their wire cages, and left the long bits dangling. I had to go round cutting them all off; why he didn't use the shorter ones I'll never understand. But there's an awful lot about our electrician that I don't understand

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    1. If you buy them by the 1000, then you aren't going to use shorter ones when you got so many of the others. Not cutting them off is just lazy!

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  10. I fought the urge to touch the bum of a young man in a pair of well fitting leder hosen in München once, and I still regret it. I do however know exactly what it would have felt like - and yet...

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    1. A YOUNG man in lederhosen? Had you drunk many steins of frothy beer when the urge came over you? Touching any part of any person in lederhosen is something I find very easy to resist.

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    2. Young but legal, if it had been legal to touch strangers, ahhhh I did dance the polka later. That was after the tiniest tasting of the local liquids...

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  11. Tom you are turning into a photo thief with an obsession with New Zealand! Although a photo from The Dreamstress' blog (she is my friend and the sewing teacher at my business) is highly apt as we sewing types are very touchy. You can see it as they walk into a fabric shop - out shoot the hands as they feel their way along the bolts. It is essential to touch fabric, and the drape, weight and texture are therefore called collectively, The "hand" of the fabric.

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    1. Yes, feeling fabric is something I do all the time before buying clothes. I can immediately tell if something is pure wool or a wool mix by touching it, but I can do the same by looking at it too. Feeling it is quicker, and because it is going next to your skin, it would be unnatural not to feel it first.

      I cannot believe that the photo is from your friend's blog! I typed, 'silk crepe' into Google and this was what came up which was useable. All the rest were of dresses which people were trying to sell, and not one of them featured a nice backside. Please apologise to your friend, but at least she has had a free advert!

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  12. I am quite tactile and do like to touch things -- even though I may know how they will feel. Fabric (I was at one time a seamstress), wood, stone. I would not, however touch statuary, though it might be tempting, for example, to touch the folds of statuary clothing.

    Once at a picnic with my brother and his wife I went to pick from my thigh a piece of peach cobbler that had fallen from my mouth. As I picked it up it moved and I screamed -- it was a slimy slug that had fallen from the tree under which we were sitting -- much to the great amusement of my sister-in-law, my brother, and the maid...

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    1. Yes, the unexpected is irrationally shocking! I run my fingers over marble that I am restoring if I am re-polishing it. It is quite easy to miss patches which feel rougher than they look.

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  13. Is there anything that you don't like touching Tom ? I don't like wet wood and washing up a wooden spoon makes me go funny in the fanny !!!!!!! XXXX

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    1. Well you should never have used the spoon for that when you were younger.

      I don't like touching hot metal and broken glass.

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