Rameau's Nephew



Friday, January 13, 2012


Plastic Scab

Cosmetic surgery has been in the news recently and, with some of the problems attached to it, one has to ask: WHY DO THEY BOTHER?

Anyway, that’s beside the point. Opinion is never a question of absolute truth. Opinion is another form of story-telling.  However, what I have to tell you about is the absolute truth: a backstreet in an out-of-season seaside resort (I won’t say exactly where because I don’t want anyone going there to check).  I stumble across a building that looks as if it was once a bijou cinema from before the days of déjà vu or dvds.  Along its frontage, there are the words SCAR MUSEUM.  It isn’t as derelict as I at first imagined. I can still hear the sea from across the roof: beckoning me. I wish to heed its beckoning. But I am beckoned instead by an actual human shape – from a dilapidated kiosk at the front of the so-called SCAR MUSEUM. It’s as if I’m being hypnotised.  I feel my cheeks being visually scoured for scars.

I pay over a £5 note. The only one I have. I see a notice that no change is given: just like on carpark ticket-dispensers, a fact that seems strange with a human ticket-dispenser in a kiosk.

“What am I paying to see?” I ask.  A little too late to ask.

“Don’t the name give it away?” the individual sneers rhetorically with a backward click.

“You have exhibits then that are ... scars. Body scars.”

“Yes.” The final s of Yes is certainly a hiss and a half.

I feel drawn within. There are cases with sloping glass covers and inside them things that – if I hadn’t already seen the name of the place – I might assume are damp disfigured postage stamps or crumpled bits of beige carpet or torn bits of old parchment.

I feel followed.

Not by the ticket-dispenser but by someone else covered in a huge pair of tights through the legs of which I vaguely glimpse bones.  And a face, through the gusset.

And that face seems to have right in the middle of its forehead a mystic Third Eye or, on closer scrutiny, an oriental cosmetic mark or, on even closer scrutiny, a patch torn from a 1950s toy.  A reddy brown piece of Bakelite or synthetic flashing that a toddler child might have torn from an Airfix model he had got fed up with glueing soon after receiving it at Christmas.

“I’m starting to heal, you see,” a voice tells me: pointing to the forehead with the reddy brown thing there. “All of me will be healed soon,” it adds.

I think to myself with a mode of story-telling needed during these days of Credit Crunch and Eurozone Crisis – that one can now never depend on demand streams, even supply ones, to process the end products of what one needs to manufacture for mere subsistence if not, one hopes, for entrepreneurial greed or financial gain.

I leave the building with a sense of downbeat silence unredeemed even by the one huge tidal teardrop that is the sea.  Everything mends in the end, though. Sort of.

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