- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Thursday, 24 September 2015
I love observational comedy. It’s my absolute favourite. To see or hear someone else's humorous take on a relatively ordinary situation, to which laughter is the only possible response, is just the most glorious thing.
I can still recall how much my face hurt from laughing so much after seeing a stand-up comedian a few years ago. I felt sure that I was going to either break my jaw, or worse lock-it, and have to go to hospital. At one point I did wonder, if, after laughing so raucously for over two hours, if it was actually possible to die from laughing.
Thankfully I didn’t.
So when I read Miriam Elia’s We go to the gallery and ended up crying with laughter. I just knew that the little book that I was holding in my hands was pure comedy gold.
I looked at it again. Really examined it. And what I was actually holding was an incredibly intelligent and beautifully produce work of art.
Elia, both an artist and a gifted comedian, has managed to produced something that is not only clever, but also an homage to the artist and illustrator Harry Wingfield.
Here is a perfect pastiche of an original Peter and Jane learn to read Ladybird book, that features the same key words and phrases model, that has been illustrated in a similar vain, depicting the two children’s visit to a modern art gallery with their mother.
The concept is exquisitely (re)produced.
Anyone who learnt to read with the Peter and Jane series will find this book hilarious. The juxtaposition of the style with the subject matter, is pure genius.
But it’s the slow build up of the text and the sudden realisation of what you are reading, that pays the greatest dividends for this tiny treasure.
The premise is that Peter and Jane and their mother visit a modern art gallery. There they encounter capitalism, sexual confusion, and the perverse conceptual Chapmanesque world of art in full medical textbook glory. Plus, there is the additional revelation of their mother’s latent unhappiness. The further you venture into this book, the more you notice its ingenuity mixed with its sublime deadpan comedic use of linguistics, and then their appearance as the selected key words at the bottom of each page.
It is just stunning.
Like I said, I cried with laughter.
If you like laughing, comedy, art and are impressed by ingenuity, treat yourself to a copy.
Book, genius, buy, laugh, keep.
We go to the gallery the commercial hardback edition was published on the 21/09/15 by Dung Beetle Books for £8.99 and is available from all good stockist. Or you can order from www.wegotothegallery.com The Kindle and iPad version will be available to download in October 2015.
Monday, 14 September 2015
Most nights before I drift off to sleep, my mind eases itself into this unconscious state of being by telling a itself a story or two.
As I lie there relaxed and waiting for sleep to arrive, these little stories will suddenly start to materialise in my consciousness. And as they swirl around manically, they appear to feature a series of interconnected vignettes that merge easily into each other, but that end-up as an unintelligible irrational set of thoughts, that make no sense whatsoever.
On the odd occasions that I have caught myself going through this sequence and have managed to examined the contents, I have wondered what the hell it is I am thinking about and why.
The conclusion I drew, was that it was better not to do this, as it disrupted the ebb and flow of what my mind was in the process of doing in order to enable it to sleep.
It had a purpose I concluded. And that purpose needed to be observed in order to unlock the door to its nightly sleeping chamber.
The mind is a funny space that houses all sorts of items covered in dust sheets and precious memories and artefacts that have been stored away from their relevance to our everyday present life.
Although they exist, we only access them when we are reminded by someone else of their existence. They are building blocks to our individual and precious history.
Major life events often flood our minds with clarity and uncover memories that we hadn't thought of in years.
As I head towards my birthday it is not uncommon for me to undertake a mental stock check. And as I have been thinking about the past a lot recently, it was only to be expected that the other night whilst drifting off to sleep, those swirling pieces all attempted to connect. And as they did, I stopped them and paused the process and started to think about a particular time in my own history and how it had connected me to the present.
As I lay there I imagined all of the pieces as they had occurred in the time frame like pieces of a puzzle. I then attempted to piece them together in some order. But this wasn't easy, as some of them wouldn't fit. Either the setting was incorrect, or the time I thought that it had occurred in was.
After a while I gave up trying to do this as it was proving too difficult. I needed a prompt, I concluded, to set me straight. But as it was just me and my interpretation of my histrionics, I had no one to rely upon for guidance but myself.
So I gave up.
But the one recurring element that was clear throughout these thoughts, were the people.
Family, friends and lovers.
The people were all there. At various times and settings (in whatever order they did or did not occur) they were all participants. And there were so many of them. I had recalled this particular period of my life as being quite uneventful and full of loneliness, but in retrospect, it was full of people and social situations that shaped my life and made me who I am today.
Some of these memories made me cry. I wished I hadn't allowed some of the people I had encountered to mistreat me the way that they had. And I also wished that I hadn't let go of some of the people I cared about so easily.
But, I hasten too add that I was a bit of an idiot at times. One that made some rash decisions that my youth seemed to allow me to do without the fear of consequence.
Then, as I lay there, the following question entered my head:Did I have any regrets?
And my answer to that question would have to be, that whilst I have no regrets, I wish that I had been more able to react in a more appropriate way. And I wish that I had possessed more foresight, and had not been duped by so many untrustworthy types.
That I had said no rather than yes. And yes rather than no.
And if I had the chance to do it all again.
No, I bloody well wouldn't.
You can remove that sentimentalised version of my past off the play list right now.
The truth is, I don’t even recognise that person any more (do any of us?)
I am happy being who I am today. How she got here, now seems irrelevant. More importantly, more than anything else, I am proud of my children and their children and of all I have been through with them and survive as a lone parent.
What an incredible journey it had been so far.
And whilst an array of memories may occasionally light the corners of my mind, I intend to keep making new ones for all of those pre-sleep moments still up ahead.