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PICA PAPERS 03


PICA PAPERS 03 A life in tins and boxes. It started by having a clear up. I decided to go through every storage cupboard in our flat throwing out unwanted items with the intention of finding room for wanted items. During this process I discovered many of my tins and boxes in all shapes and sizes. None of them were empty and some I had kept for over 30 years. It was time to take a look inside. I quickly realised that each one was an inadvertent time capsule. Could there be a greater significance to a type of hoarding that is still familiar to me? I systematically went I then took a simple digital photograph and made a visual archive. The process was unrelentingly mundane as I unravelled years of memorabilia and mementos. By observing each item in detail, I have produced an archive that is trivial, philosophical and absurd . I constantly had to force myself to go back and open another box - dusting became more appealing. It was compelling and oppressive, like a guilty pleasure without a reward. Why do I do it? Nothing has any market value, though many have some emotional value. The majority of items have a use: for the one time you loose a button from an expensive coat, the zip pull that could revive a rucksack, the golf tee that

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could ignite a round of golf, the 13amp fuse that brings an anglepoise lamp back to life. Some objects are inexplicable: 4 shirt collar stiffeners? I only wear tee shirts, 2 sticks of rock? I have sensitive teeth, 1 eraser attached to a length of string? that is the kind of rubber that smudges. Maybe I found the process angst ridden because some of the memories are not good. Therefore it is sensible to keep my first ever watch in a tin of Mackintosh’s Golden Toffee Wafers - my friends had digital watches. The Network South East timetable should stay in a plastic Lufthansa Cargo box when I set out on one of my excursions from London by train, it was usually the weekend and I was bored. A simple plastic toy which you shake to make a different profile on a drawn face reminds me of laughter that is no longer heard. Unfortunately this process will not end after this inventory of detritus, I can’t help it. All the objects have now been consolidated into one bigger box and there is room for more. Curating these objects has given them value again and they may never make it to the bin. To the small turquoise man encapsulated in the bouncing rubber ball, I salute you.

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Christmas crackers can sound like a gun firing.

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A silent wheeze, a loud guffaw, a thick racking cough, a tear.

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When London got too much, I would go to a large train station, look at the departure board and choose a destination.

Chatham—rows of small red brick houses built on steep hills.

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“She thinks to intimidate me by the use of quarter hours?” —The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

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My friend JosĂŠ drew this when he was a designer. He is a fireman now.

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Since record-keeping began, 15 people have been killed in the bull run of Pamplona

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If your single was pressed slightly off centre, adaptors made it worse. The needle would slip off the edge of the vinyl and you played the turntable. Hideous.

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Under the covers with Radio Luxembourg (208) was all about Top 30 chart rundowns. Unfortunately MW radio reception got worse at night. The Top 30 Futurist chart on Thursdays used to come and go in waves. A Flock of Seagulls and Ultravox never travelled well.

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Clydebank F.C. Meadowbank Thistle R.I.P.

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The ‘Etch A Sketch’ quality of this Printator scorecard was an early introduction to tabulated information. I used the end of a golf tee to note down the scores. These were magically wiped off by pulling the metal tab towards you.

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I saw the man in the tan raincoat almost everyday at the bus stop on Main Street, Prestwick. The bus for Buchanan Street, Glasgow would arrive and everybody would bustle into the same seats. This man looked respectable enough, an accountant or quantity surveyor? From the front and side the raincoat fitted snuggly over his suit and complemented a tidy leather briefcase. One day the man was in front of me in the queue to have his ticket punched. As he stepped up, I saw the back of his raincoat for the first time. The hem and around the edges of the centre vent had been burnt away like a taper made from newspaper.

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Q: Who is the Easter Bunny’s favourite movie actor? A: Rabbit De Niro!

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Admitting that I was good at sewing aged 12, was something I kept to myself.

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I would recycle my school jotters by rubbing out every pencil mark and sweeping the excess rubbings into the canary yellow shag pile rug.

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Within two months of receiving my Blue Peter badge from Biddy Baxter, I noticed the blue ship starting to fade. I would touch it up with a blue felt tip pen.

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Put a tic tac in your mouth and get a “Bang Out of Life” —1974 American Tic Tac TV commercial

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I received my first electric shock from a round pin socket.

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ASSORTED OBJECTS IN TINS AND BOXES— 1675 Lire 96 business cards ( various ) 39 small shells ( yellow ) 25 clothing labels 24 multi-journey tickets ( 1983 ) 20 paper clips ( various ) 18 half pence pieces 17 screws ( various ) 14 white pebbles 13 buttons ( various ) 12 Grand Prix calendar flags ( 6 with pins, 6 as flat sheets ) 10 metal clasps ( black ) 9 badges ( various ) 9 pieces of broken pottery 7 link chains 7 safety pins ( various ) 7 seven inch single adaptors ( 6 black, 1 red ) 6 watches ( various ) 5 key rings ( various ) 5 pieces of ribbon ( various ) 5 plastic bags containing buttons 4 AA Duracell batteries ( used ) 4 golf tees ( various ) 4 large silver coins ( various ) 4 shirt collar stiffeners 4 subbuteo balls ( 3 orange, 1 white ) 4 thread bobbins ( 1 with pink thread, 3 empty ) 4 zip pulls ( various ) 3 drawing pins ( red ) 3 homemade birthday cards

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3 identification cards ( various ) 3 tubes of glitter ( 2 silver, 1 green ) 3 yale keys 2 day passes for The Open Golf Championship ( 1997, 2000 ) 2 drawings ( by my friend JosĂŠ ) 2 metal petals 2 packs of playing cards 2 passport photographs 2 pieces of plaster frieze ( from Dalquharran Castle, Ayrshire ) 2 plastic counters ( 1 red, 1 yellow ) 2 push pins ( purple ) 2 reusable golf scorecards 2 sticks of rock 2 white plastic stoppers 1 13amp fuse 1 ball of thread ( various ) 1 Blue Peter badge 1 Boots Tele 110 camera ( electronic flash ) 1 bouncing ball ( glitter and small turquoise figure encapsulated ) 1 brass window blind cord fastener 1 cigarette lighter ( miniature Guinness bottle ) 1 clear plastic object with 11 small holes drilled in a line 1 cupboard door knob 1 din connector cable 1 one dollar bill 1 eraser attached to a length of string 1 fabric frog 1 five cent piece 1 football diary ( 1976 ) 1 fridge magnet ( red headed figure of a child with green and white stripped tee shirt holding a present )

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ASSORTED OBJECTS IN TINS AND BOXES—continued 1 lapel badge 1 leather identification holder ( black ) 1 marble ( green ) 1 Mercedes badge 1 metal disc with hole 1 metal hoop 1 metal spiral 1 metal triangle 1 metal turn key 1 miniature screw driver set 1 modelling knife ( blade missing ) 1 Network South East timetable ( Dover to London via Medway towns, 3 October 1988 - 14 May 1989 )

1 note ( Aunt Meryl ) 1 one Euro coin 1 one pence coin 1 pair of 3D specs 1 piece of decorative card ( gold ) 1 piece of driftwood 1 piece of shell 1 piece of white paper with 10 printed on it 1 Pinwinnie Whisky felt bag ( purple ) 1 plastic bag containing 1 orange balloon 1 plastic bag containing 2 buttons and 2 safety pins 1 plastic bag containing 2 white fabric roses 1 plastic box containing bracelet beads 1 plastic bull ( with ribbon ) 1 plastic curtain hook ( clear ) 1 plastic fastener ( black ) 1 plastic game ( black chain is moved to make different face profiles )

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1 plastic gun ( yellow ) 1 plastic hook ( black with small hole ) 1 plastic rabbit ( white ) 1 plastic racing car 1 plastic silver clothes peg 1 plastic strip from packaging 1 plastic thimble ( orange ) 1 plastic whistle ( blue ) 1 polaroid photo 1 polystyrene sushi tray 1 pumice stone 1 restaurant receipt 1 round pin plug 1 rubber disc with hole 1 rubber hoop 1 rubber monster 1 Sharp radio ( Airwave, Medium Wave ) 1 silver medal ( in black plastic wallet ) 1 small plastic brush ( grey ) 1 spinning top 1 stone ( glittery ) 1 table tennis ball 1 tape measure ( blue ) 1 Tic Tac box containing semi precious stones from Australia 1 wallet ( black ) 1 white ceramic disc ( inscribed with “CCD 30� )

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cover image—96 business cards

Michael Dancer | principal 160 Queens Drive Glasgow G42 8QN 0141 .424 .0401 07769 .866 .203 http://iampicapica.tumblr.com michaeldancer@dancer65.plus.com

© Michael Dancer 2012


Pica Papers 3  

An exploration into obsessive hoarding.

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