Two Shells: the Foam Bed and the Free House (hte p.1)

06/05/2013 20:12


Junk isn't just junk. It's an idea. A man is out there, someone else, a metre from your fingertips. A man living in a non-running Peugeot 205. On his back the fellow wears a strapped-on foam tortoise shell that acts as a portable bed. With every window wound open, he lays out simple cold tapas on the dashboard and listens to the sky. The vehicle is a road test failure – all seats removed, pseudo-domesticated – it's a home. The cooking stove and wipe-clean folding table behave on the roof under a square of tarpaulin. Books in the glove box. Seven books read many many times. Front footwells now respected with essentials wardrobe items tucked into the left, since food and bottles go on the right, stacked between three loose pedals. One perforated water bottle (clear office style) angled from the roof provides a shower when sun-warmed stream water is tipped in. The petrol tank, with no engine to slurp from it, reinvents itself as an ingenious toilet. Hidden away is a car and man who live together. This car, this man. End out, their white boot lid sticker whispers: Solitude is whatever you want, whatever you've got.

Pock-marked metal makes a fine house for the unconcerned. Once accustomed to living inside a dead 205 the fellow ceased to be afraid of anything, his last anxiety tremor vaporised with a chuckle. This is a new man, with eidetic dreams for entertainment – a yellow chick under a lamp, the human equivalent; smiling, pure, and endless. His sense of amusement is peaceable at a world in disarray. All a person needs is a scrap car to keep them dry. The world, by now, could be a residential car park. But this chap's lucky to live in the countryside, some place where his toes squash the fresh grass at the edge of a field, prolific in pleasure. Always set up near some shade! is the unchanging advice – cold vegetation under the feet reverses every ill, even a mind prone to riding tower block lifts as it longs for the city.

Forget yourself as a bird flying south might. Forget what you're supposed to do. This is a vision.... working gently and quietly; confidently, and with nothing. A future concealed by leaves; a present dispeopled by cars that don't move. Sofas cease to exist, but there are trees and foam shells. We don't need a lot, but we need ourselves. What we must need is our own time. A scrap car gives you plenty of that. But what odd world would be filled with this time. And what coaxing part of the world would make time fall down, stun it into giving up. Fields are there, small yet immensurable. Nameless, at least. Horizon fields. A place full of an inspissated humanity that most unashamedly fans out when so much is stripped away. In the shade it breathes, sleeping on its soft foamed back without owing its chin to anyone. This is the blink of freedom... it conspires over old branches.


Freedom is a frozen dashboard, I predict. It just might be. This is a new man, after all. A human bed-house without economic value. It's easier this way, to digest a patient life. No earning or giving away wets his fate. The untroubled, unblocked person who could terrify the best of us. The man who next Tuesday's trees hide away.


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