Sunday, 21 December 2008

the medium is the message

or how i became confused with the unassuming clark kent…

intrigued? not half as much as my own consternation at being the object of such close scrutiny!

last week i fell victim to my very own lois lane, in the form of a review of Life of a Bluestocking in the metro's arts section, my so-called ‘mysterious’ identity the centre of an unlikely expose...!
it all started on tuesday with a flurry of phone calls between apartment, my mild mannered assistant miss ward and an intrepid journalist.

our hardnosed reporter rang to enquire about the event curious to know more about this ‘self styled’ spinster and shocked at her unusual longevity. 146 is quite old i grant you, but i come from a long line of valiant decrepitudes, with great aunt queenie still gamely quaffing gin from her hip flask at way past 9o…the men i fear didn’t fare so well age wise, but greatgrandpa jonty managed to pack many an adventure into his short 27 years, juggler and acrobat with pt barnums travelling museum and menagerie, until that lethal tumble whilst performing his world famous sword swallowing trick….

anyway, the inquisitive hack was sent links to my diary, posted the apartment press release, and dispatched sufficient photo footage of the first night to furnish all their writerly requirements but still the phone would ring and the same question rear its antiquated head. could miss niblock actually be real, or just a pseudonym for someone younger, perhaps she is completely imaginary? the readers deserved to know the TRUTH…

a bizarre and surreal experience, to find myself thus dissected and digested, discussed and deconstructed like a flight of fancy or an unlikely specimen. not a real person at all but an event or a conceptual artwork. it seems i have spent so long amongst the artists and their artworks that i’ve eventually blended in and become one myself. it’s a funny feeling of déjà vu, and perhaps that was my fate long ago in the museum stores – i simply got subsumed into the artefactiness of my surroundings, was classified, preserved and forgotten.

we reiterated the facts – miss niblock is quite real, a quirk of fate, a miracle, a quaint survivor from another era, coping as best she can in these peculiar times. the calls continued – they had unearthed the shadowy assistant miss ward who had discovered me lurking in the depths of the museum. what was her story then? where did she fit into this suspicious tale?

finally we revealed an indisputable truth, a suitable resolution for the reader, and offered it up to our lois. but it seems journalism doesn’t like this interpretation, preferring to issue a more prosaic version where unfeasibly robust bluestockings dont roam the earth, encouraging female escape, learning and adventure, inspiring new generations to carry on in their sensibly clad footsteps.

to this i duly retort -

dear lois,

today might have been the start of a beautiful relationship. together we could have righted wrongs and saved the city. the world simply doesn’t need a maureen ward, a well meaning but unremarkable and unexciting clark kent. no, what times like these really need is a fabulous creation, a daring and indefatigable flaneuse, adventurer and intrepid explorer of worlds old and new, an irrepressible, fabulous miss euphemia pubert niblock…

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