Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bad Art: Just Say No!

I was acting as a marshal at the Reading Cycling Club spring road race today. For me, this involved standing at the side of the road just up from a lone shop at Goring, and waving a red flag as the great British public dragged itself from TV coverage of the London marathon, drove half a mile to the shop, parked sloppily, extricated themselves from the car with the cautious deliberation of a crab shedding its exoskeleton, limped into the shop, and came back bent under the weight of the Sunday Mail in a plastic bag. Before, on returning, abruptly driving off without signal or care, despite four of us anxiously matadoring away.
After the event, I diverted slightly to the village of Checkendon, where this macabre and unforgivably bad fiberglass sculpture has appeared on a previously innocent skyline. The slumped barn and corrugated outhouse outdo it in being sinister: the two cadavres look like second home owners lamenting the effect of some catastrophe that has hit their property value.
It has all the aesthetic charm of an album cover designed by a thirteen year old death metal fan, a combination of nastiness and sentimentality. Check it out, good burghers of Checkendon: have you no feelings? Have you no hammers?

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