Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Your Artistic Blasting Needs

The paradox, of course, is that the very people who work so hard and so desperately to keep the, er, cogs of capitalism running - who grow fat and rich at the same time as providing opportunities of income for the thin and the poor - are also the very last people you’d actually want, if you could choose, to keep the cogs of capitalism running.

The further paradox is that Pab Stencil, our hero, is a walking, talking collection of disparities that have neither origin nor substance. That is and further: he is a walking – or crawling, or however I want him to get from point A to point B – cipher. His history nil, his story nothing, his face open, honest and blank. Enough of an empty space for you to want to fill it with your fist.

This Pab, short for Pablo, was not, as you might reasonably expect, of any kind of exotic origin. That is, exotic as (merely) a broad definition of anything that isn’t from round here. On its own terms, of course, the exotic alluded to (the name Pablo of, what, Mexican origin?) would, in its actual so-called exotic reality, be, in actual fact, crushingly mundane and, paradoxically, much less exotic than even what we could muster up from round here. That’s as may be. Pab’s name was short for Pablo which, in itself, was a derivation (or something) of Paul. But we’ll go with him on this and let him have his Pab.

Pab’s birth was a good time ago and has nothing at all to do with the fact of his evolution (to be grand about it) into an old-fashioned advertising man. Which is how he manages, as inadvertently (and thus, he imagines, somehow innocently) as he may feel this to be, to keep the rusting cogs of capitalism nicely oiled (to exhaust this most clichéd and barren of metaphors). His birth and his childhood have very little bearing on what we currently have in front of us. It’s not as if, for instance, there was ever a chance of capturing him at the age of five, pen in hand, copying ads from his mother’s magazines. (Who is still alive, by the way, his mother. And his father.)

Our Pab then, working in an advertising agency, a copywriter in the creative department (creative, I ask you!), was as much a part of the process as anyone else you might care to mention who wasn’t actually in control of, or directly responsible for, the process. Which is to say that he was no Rupert Murdoch, as most people aren’t. He was, however, like most people, enough of a part (I could have said cog) needed to keep the whole thing in motion. In short, he was doing his bit even as he underplayed his bit or pretended that his bit was somehow of absolutely no significance.

At least though, you may imagine, at home and king of his castle, he was, this Pab, happy. Or rather, happy? Contented? Leaving aside the definition of happy and blah, he was, to some degree, reasonably accomplished, settled and, as far as he could care, reasonably satisfied. He wasn’t, as the phrase has it, at a complete loss. His wife, she was a bit of this and a bit of that. He loved her, of course, and she was good in the way she was expected to be good, and bad in the way of all the usual stuff that keeps couples up at night talking it through. Their two kids, teenage girls, were also part of the painting. Which was kept over there, dominating a different wall.

The whole point of this Pab can be gleaned (as if there was any other way of doing it) by way of his position in the here and now. Let him stand alone. Let him sweat under his own spotlight. Let him reveal himself. Or, at least, let him submit himself to our trial of revealment. We’ll get him yet.

This Pab was, by any definition, a pudgy, four-eyed loser. Forget the wife and kids, forget the job, forget the whatever else it was. He was, first and foremost, a pudgy, four-eyed loser who loathed himself only slightly less than all of the other people he loathed. Jews, wests, blackies, birds, poofers - he hated them all. Or maybe that’s a different version, a different tale? His name doesn’t fit, for a start.

This Pab was, by any definition, something of a pudgy, four-eyed loser. As he so often and so self-deprecatingly described himself to his vast collection of friends and family who he loved beyond all reasonable comprehension. This pudgy, four-eyed loser, far from being a figure of fun or hate, was, in fact, a much-loved and highly prized attraction at parties, pub quizzes and gatherings of all kinds. That is, you could always rely on Pab to be, at the very least, a bit of a laugh. But let’s not get carried away. At the same time as being that laugh, he was held in the highest esteem for all sorts of other sound and sensible reasons: his diplomacy, his intelligence, his ability to get straight to the point, his clear and open mind, his friendliness, his winning smile, his noble paunch, his cherry red boots, his way with women, his unerring knack of always being right, his collection of soiled doo-dahs, his massive knob, his turning tides, his humility, his generosity, his caring nature, his liberal tendencies, his love of animals, his spoils of war, his captains courageous.

Established thus, we have an emerging picture of this Pab as – well, as the above. Sketched out maybe, perhaps not fleshed out, he is at least now able to step forward into whatever adventures and ludicrous scenarios we wish to cast him in. The ‘fun’ of this, of course, is playing the game of seeing whether he lives up to all the fantastic expectations we have of him. That is, educatedly guessing – from what we now know of him – how he might react (not act) to the things that get in his way. Or maybe instead – although highly unlikely - how he will glide along the easy path that lies ahead of him.

So there he is, this Pab, on his own for the time-being, a remembrance of family in the background, wondering how he will resolve the conflict he.

Wondering how, rather, he will be supernaturally guided through the obstacles before him. So one minute he’ll be happily walking along Path A – or even crawling along Path A – and the next minute he’ll be in a position where he has to choose Path B or Path C in order to, you know, get to Path D. The ‘fun’ of this, of course, will be had in what happens to him on either Path B or Path C.

But Christ, who on earth can be bothered with it all?


Blogger Molly Bloom said...

The words will take us where they will. And the words are what make us. And the words are what guide and pull us onwards.

Whatever Pab does and whatever Pab says...he shall always have the words. And the words are a gift.

9:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home