'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 12 April 2013

At the Fair.

Woah - a trip back in time the other day as I stumbled across one of my first artworks.

I did this when I was about (I think) seven years old, on one of those spinning thingies at the fun fair.  I was totally blown away at how easy it was to create a wondrous piece of art.  Of course, it was never that easy again, mostly because my definition of art has changed to require a decent period of time in the making.  But before I get caught up in referencing Dick Frizzell, Denis Dutton or Damiein Hirst, or the fascinating but fraught area of 'what is art?', let's head back to the fun fair.

Pee-making excitement.  Candy floss.  Wooden ducks being shot, toffee apples, clowns,  horses on roundabouts, and, the most scary of all (except the ferris wheel and rollercoaster, which I will never ever go on), the GHOST TRAIN!  Brrr.  I was so scared but not quite enough to not want to go on it -  ie, good scared.

The Ghost train at the Hawkes Bay A and P Show fun fair looked something like this.

But to me, even in daytime, it looked like this:

Absolutely wonderful!  Of course once you get on the little trains and go inside, it's a bit of a let-down, but never mind.  Anticipation is everything, especially if parents prolong it by making you wait four years before you're allowed a go.

Candy floss was the other thing:  When you first get it it's interesting in an academic sort of visual soft-focus way:

But once you've eaten half the wad and have a cerise tongue and a sugar hit as high as the Hawkes Bay sun, you feel more like this:

The other thing indelibly etched on my memory from the fun fair was the Negative Clowns.  There was a row of them, mouths open, slowly shaking their heads from side to side.

This isn't me.  I was in black and white when I was young.

If your three ping-pong balls slid into slots that totaled a high enough amount, you got a Prize. I think I must have been three.  And I still have the prize I won.  Dad held me up and I randomly popped the balls in one after the other, quite quickly.  Suddenly the man said I'd won! and could choose anything from the shelf he was pointing to.  What a thrill!  I chose a dog, because I adored dogs.
It wasn't until some years afterwards that I realised that it held a limp pheasant in its mouth.
It sat on my shelf, diligently dusted every Saturday morning until I left home.  I have it packed away, but it looks like this, only taller.


  1. Fascinating bit of your childhood! Great memories.

    Are you sure those clowns weren't actually inflatable dolls of the sort found (so I'm told) in adult bookstores?

    Editor's note: Whoa is spelled w-h-o-a....

  2. I have been in de-clutter mode for most of the week and have pitched lots of old papers, 'diaries', and photos of unknown people as well as the collection of knickknacks or tchotchkes that are taking up space. So I am truly impressed that you still have these things!
    And I remember that art work - I can see myself going to the church fair, making my splatter paint creations and coming home proudly to show them off before going back to make more. hve no idea where they went. Well, I do, they were binned.

  3. Thank you Robert. I have never been in an adult bookstore, so perhaps they are. I wouldn't know. Re Whoa, you are correct. But I think I've leave it there, because it's more the kind of woah that Snowy makes in the Tin Tin books, and I like it better speled that way.

    VioletS - I have been in de-clutter mode for five years and am still finding new old things!
    But it's getting serious now, and I have decided my desire to keep things can be thwarted if I scan them in and post them on my blog or 'keep' them on my hard drive. This has been binned! I am becoming a Sleek New Me!

  4. Hi Kathering, I love fairgrounds and travelling circuses and all that, and luckily here they are still quite popular ... but that ain't why I'm here (on your blog, not referring to my prescence on planet earth) today ....
    have you seen this cool (I think) video/timelapse photo thing from down your way?


    (or do you think you're up?)


    1. That was a rather lovely clip! Wow. Thanks Brian. (Sorry it's taken me a while to discover you left a comment...)

  5. Wow. That's a post with a lot of facets.

    I've been on that ghost train at the Hawkes Bay A & P show with the littlies as they were then. One, I can't recall which, really really didn't like it.

    "my definition of art has changed to require a decent period of time in the making". Isn't that a real piece of string statement? It's too big a subject for a comment box but it does cause me to wonder long upon the subject.

    "This isn't me. I was in black and white when I was young." I must must must plagiarise that some time really soon.

    1. You've just missed the most recent A&P show (Labour weekend) Geeb... But I was there! Post coming soon.
      And yes, I know the string statement was messy. Never mind.
      perhaps it was made up by my brilliant 'black & white' phrase. Which I'm particularly proud o, albeit in a humble sort of wayf.

  6. I never liked things that went round and round, or up and down, so in fact the ghost train was the only thing I ever dared ride at the fun fair...