When Celina and I moved to Hove in 2012, it was very apparent from the outset that there was little storage space in our apartment – no garage, no cellar and no loft! A lot of ‘stuff’, an over-worked modern word for everything and anything, had to go. I hate throwing things out, never knowing when they might ‘come in useful’, but that’s the whole issue; when might they come in useful? Next week? Next month? Next year? In five years’ time? I admit to keeping some things for really no good reason, apart from being a bit of a romantic. For instance, I have a collection of cards/post cards which bring back some lovely memories. Of course the original Post Card had ‘Post Card’ printed on the front; then came ‘picture post cards’ with a photograph of something on the front and space on the back to write the address and ‘Wish you were here’, which probably was not wholly true! So here is a selection of some of my cards I simply cannot throw away!
I’ve been known for having a positive attitude towards life, something I tried to work into my coaching assignments. ‘Bestie’ is a card illustrator. One client sent me a Bestie card depicting a man lying in a distressed state in the gutter and a stranger walking by; both wear Biblical clothing. The walking man turns to the chap in the gutter and says: “Oh! Stop moaning about your problems and pull yourself together.” And the card is entitled: ‘The Bad Samaritan’!
The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney has the most mesmeric installation I’ve ever seen. One hundred and three large stones from a river bed, suspended in a horizontal circle 11 metres in diameter by wire, no one stone touching another. Google it (Ken Unsworth) to see it! Just amazing; I treasure that memory ….. so I keep the card.
In the early 1980s I had to go and do a military reconnaissance of some type in Gibraltar and stayed in the Royal Air Force Officers’ Mess. My memory is a little vague, but somehow I’ve ended up with a 1930’s sepia photographic post card of a scantily-clad lady …. and on the back ‘The Thespians’ have written “Richard, Richard, Richard, where are you ….?!” and added ‘love’!. Maybe this should have been classified as much as the reconnaissance?!!
When I left Morgan & Banks to start up “The Yellow Palette”, my own coaching business, there was the obligatory farewell gift and the card signed by everyone in the office! Bestie again, showing a chap sitting at a table doing an exam. “While answering a question on surrealism his pen ran out”; and the pen has jumped off the table and is running out of the card!
I love the female body and admire those who have captured the essence of femininity. I have four cards: Modigliani’s female nude circa 1916, the photographer Annie Leibovitz’s depiction of Lauren Hutton lying in a sea of mud, Matisse’s Large Pink Reclining Nude 1935 and my favourite, Willy Ronis’s wife Marie-Anne. This famous black & white photograph shows her at their house in Gordes in Provence, naked, washing her face from a bowl; a pitcher of water stands on the rough stone floor.
There must be something about Bestie’s humour that gets to me, as another of his cards shows a grocer’s shop, run by a badger (not normal huh?). In the queue is a bear, a weasel and a rabbit. The bear is asking for: “Half a pound of tuppenny rice and half a pound of treacle please?” And the caption at the bottom? “Weasel didn’t like the sound of this.”*
I have a card of an aerial photograph of the Circus and The Royal Crescent in Bath. Together they look like a giant Question Mark, not something the Georgian architects would have been able to see from their earth-bound existence! I was born in Bath and Uncle Tommy and my grandmother lived in the Royal Crescent.
When I was running an Outplacement service, amongst other things I advised people how to be successful during the interview process. I am amused by a card showing an extremely large Hippopotamus, wearing a tie and a cross face, facing a small man with glasses. The man looks up to the Hippopotamus and says: “The bunny didn’t get the job because the bunny is cute. The bunny got the job because the bunny knows WordPerfect!” (WordPerfect? Gosh! That’s so last century!)
Winnie The Pooh featured in the early childhood of many here in England. A card shows Christopher Robin bringing Pooh downstairs: “Bump! Bump! Bump!” This was the only way Pooh came downstairs, on his head. And if you have never read “The Tao of Pooh.” (by Hoff), please, go and get a copy and read it …… now. It’ll improve your understanding of us humans and how we communicate, or not!
Just simple pleasures derived from a stack of treasured cards and post cards. Mere scribbles, you might say!
Richard Yates – email@example.com
*“Half a pound of tuppenny rice, half a pound of treacle, that’s the way the money goes, pop! goes the weasel!” an old nursery rhyme. Probable in Cockney rhyming slang that ‘weasel’ is coat and ‘pop’ is ‘pawn’….. ie pawn your coat to buy some food and drink. But ‘pop’could be ‘to explode’!