Thursday, April 02, 2015

West Middle Derby (WMD)

Talking Heads, ed touchette, 1984, oil and charcoal/ 140lb. Fabriano CP, 22" x 30"
West Middle Derby rests peacefully beneath Mount Orwell in the Pearly Valley. Middle Derby to the east, South Middle Derby and North Middle Derby appropriately named. The Road to Derby Pier parallels the Palendor Escarpment to the west. Middle Derby became a repository of chic fashion and popular music during the 1980s. The township supports several museums dedicated to the preservation of pop art, lawn gnomes, and larger than life, stainless steel balloon animal sculptures.

West Middle Derby became an arts community when musicians, writers, painters, sculptors, actors, were remanded here whenever their work incited thought. The village became a refuge; work was uncensored and expressive.

We entered WMD in the dead of  a moonless night, having skirted the Middle Derby Dells where critics lurk, intending to waylay travelers headed for WMD. Our guide, a former Factory apprentice knew the secrets of influence and promotion so we passed through without incident. During our visit our excitement blossomed; our brains functioned; our health improved to the degree that we thought we might have stumbled onto a stoup from which poured youth and vitality.

Nonetheless, all things end so we left WMD promising to return in the near future. Leaving WMD, we passed through a series of magnetic loops. The consequent resonance destroyed any thoughts generated by what we had seen and heard. As well any traces of photos and videos recorded on our smart phones disappeared. Thank goodness I had a pencil and notebook to record some of our visit.

We noted a series of signs along the highway, remnants of a shaving cream promotion from the mid 20th Century. They'd been refurbished and read: Les artistes — sont interdits — de sortie. One of the older novelists had employed a gifted graphic designer to convert the last sign in the series to read Burmese Shave.  (Excerpted from Travels With My Aunt.)


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