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Friday, June 15, 2007

FFF Book No 2

I found this book when I was researching an illustrator called ‘Arthur Rackham’ ,
like Bantocks book it was in the wrong place at the right time for me. I checked it out of the library immediately after perusing its pages and squeeled with laughter that night tucked up in bed with the winters low wind growling outside. Theres a lot to be said about the cosiness of a bed and a good read. It makes for a better method of falling asleep than any pill and it makes you forget about the stress’s and strains of the day especially if its entertaining and endorphin boosting like this one. The book begins by explaining that Terry Jones and Brian Froud, during a period of unemployment, had taken up flower arranging at the Institute for the Criminally insane, whilst there they chanced upon a tin box with Quentin Cottingtons journals and two pieces of equipment buried behind the institute. A researcher of little known notoriety -Quinten Cottington - is obsessed about the fetid world of strange stains & mysterious smells and their overall r’aison d’etre. Having a famous sister , Lady Cottington, famous for her ability to communicate with the faery world , such is Quintens ability of communicating with the world of tarnish’s and putrid smells. Quentin's series of experiments discover the corporeal manifestation of stains and smells and as a result establishes that he can talk to them and learns what makes them unique. The stains voices were recorded and their images painted . With Jones & Frouds discovery of the journals and equipment (which consisted of a "Psychic Image Nebulising Generator" and the "Primary Odour Nasalising Gasificator" ) they can reveal the true nature of stains and smells in a very individual existence.
Jones & Froud are reported to have "located and interviewed over seven hundred and eighty stains and odours." in their research for this book. The fantastic artwork is a lyrical as Jones Hillarious words and must be read in all manner of English accents by the reader to ensure the ‘python humour’ of book is not lost whilst Froud lends his artistic wizardry to give a visceral corporealness to each of the olfactory sprites and unclean articles. Each page holds a discovery of species , and it's paired with the entity's image. It begins with Bule Ketty, an unhappy shirt-front stain , Vlad the Inhaler; a smell that lingers in an overripe socky kind of way, and then theres Roddy the Biker, who is the hazy stain one finds on the plexi glass of atm machines . Plunging itself onwards into the world of nasal extrusions, underarm smells , you can even find a type of stain which resides on the asphalt beneath parked cars and trucks that likes to do Elvis impersonations. Strange stains and Mysterious Smells is indeed a riot of dirty madcap fun and it is Jones & Frouds finest hour in their seven year partnership.

Here is a excerpt from the book on one such stain. I have purposely left out the ones I consider ’gems’ for the element of hilarious surprise.

The unnamed Smell sprite Rather surprisingly this is the sprite of joss-sticks. It actually produces some of the pleasantest smells to be found in the World of Olfaction, but it is, nonetheless, an unpleasant little creep. It has a deep knowledge of the nose and an understanding of scent that would make its fortune in the perfumeries of Paris, but it is insufferable rude and has as about as much social grace as a three-month old pizza.
It refers to people who light joss-sticks as "jossers" and affects to despize them as "pathetic hippie left-overs of the Sixties' drugs craze"That's what's wrong with this country," it told us, "it's never recovered from the pinko-socialist disaster of the sex-obsessed cup-cake lovers of pre-Thatcherite confection , What we need is a little more capital punishment and a little less Baked Alaska (a kind of dessert). Give the middle classes and those that aspire to join them something to aim for- like motorised pencil sharpeners or designer buckets- and you'll soon turn the economy into a laundromat worth creaming designer jeans for."
We both decided that we didn't want to hear any more of this politically incomprehensible rubbish and we moved on.

Conclusion? An unsavory read for filthy minds and possesors of dirty laughs


Flyinfox_SATX said...

Judith, a very interesting psuedo review. I am trying to determine whether or not you liked it? It looked like you were really looking forward to a good read but it dissappointed. After the start of a good premise and all...

I just sit here wondering if a demented mind like mine would get into the book....


Judith said...

I LOVED it! All these books that I will review every friday come from my personal collection- Really you would enjot it on so many demented levels!! (I guess thats what the appeal is for me)

Glamourpuss said...

Ha! What fun. It sounds very Terry...


My Reflecting Pool said...

I have a filthy mind and love dirty laughs. I think I need to raid your book shelves for more fun reads!!!! I adore that nose sprite. Wonderful illustration!

Judith said...

Good unclean humour

Im sure you have a laugh and mind like a sewer! Check out brian and his wifes wendys work at www.worldoffroud.com

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am charmed, Judith. And I have long been a fan of Arthur Rackham's exquisite illustrations.

Obviously, I need to order this book right now, without delay and posthaste.

Your blog is always an utter feast for the eyes besides your quite marvelous writing.

Judith said...

when I was 14 I painted rackham silhoettes on my bedroom and closet doors when I seen his sleeping beauty illustrations. You can surely see rackhams influence in Frouds work. I have a couple of fairy tale books from around 1940 that I will be featuring some friday especially for you! Its such a lovely and flattering compliment that you give me given that you are a such a lyrical and wonderful writer yourself.. Thank you!

slaghammer said...

I gave up fiction many years ago when it became clear that I could not be trusted with it. I simply could not stop reading and would put myself to the brink of physical shutdown by reading all night, often till dawn and beyond.
I have an equal obsession with history, science and technology but I am at least able to fall asleep sometime before daylight.
I miss fiction and your review drives the point home, but I’ll be damned if I’ll let it back into my life just yet. My neglected little pottery shop gets first dibs on the spare time that I hope to have in the near future.

Judith said...

I hear you - being a working mum my routine goes like this come home 5:30ish, bath children and clean up all that takes until 7:30 and then put them to bed - its then 9pm I have a chat to my other half and have a shower and its about 11-12 and I would dearly love to read books again but Im too shattered and usually at 1am one of the munchkins is trying to get into my bed- no rest or reading time for the wicked Im afraid - reading - the ghost of a lost love for me..