This Is Not a Cat

Where poets, painters, photographers and other artists can mingle.
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bjondon
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Tue Jan 11, 2022 4:19 pm

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My father was always a little secretive about his 'demob' suitcase; never let us play with it, or open it on our own. Kept it padlocked, hid the key. As far as we could tell it was mostly empty. Sometimes he'd pull out a few wildly improbable sepia photos of him in the army, him in the youth group before the war, chest puffed out, mates for life clustered around him. He used to keep his diary and notebooks in there, so ok, he was entitled to a bit of privacy. But why he'd dragged that cumbersome wooden box, crudely smeared with grey paint through more than a decade's worth of bedsits and flats to finally stash it in the family house he so improbably managed to buy, back in the fifties, I don't know.

But I'm guessing it has something to do with this folder of 'drawings'. He always spoke about the war as if it had been the time of his life, the highlight being that odd prequel on the Isle of Man, interned with a flock of similarly destabilized 'enemy aliens', most of them seemingly artists or writers, escapees from the Nazis, granted (begrudgingly) a new life here in the UK, but then cooped up in this surreal 'holiday camp'. Stir crazy souls, they turned it into a sort of High Jinks University and according to Ernest, he was one of the stars, knew everyone, including Kurt Schwitters . . . He of the porridge sculptures, he of the Ursonate sound poems, he, the unsurpassed sweetly seductive master of improbably inventive modernist forms.

These last few 'typographs' - the folder, thumbed and splitting, was surely stuffed with something. Secrets? Long gone. Just a few last remnants, sparsely elegant, and of course, unsigned.



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Macavity
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Tue Jan 11, 2022 6:44 pm

Great Jules. The back story so absorbing.
bjondon
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Wed Jan 12, 2022 1:29 pm

Thank you Phil, I thought you might like it ÷)
J
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