It had been two days. I had to get to a book shop lest my skin grew livid. I found myself passing a charity shop and walked straight in, years of habit inclining my head to the left so that it lay on my shoulder, the better to appraise spines. (If you do this too much the brain adjusts and, like the iPhone in browser mode, swings the vista through 90 degrees so that you see things the right way and cannot appraise spines then when you go back into the street and straighten your neck everything is at a right angle. Still, if you can’t take the heat…) Within moments I had eased from the shelf a copy of Andrew Crumey’s ‘Mobius Dick’, an entertaining and intricate novel of parallel universes that I had already read but had to give back to its owner but it’s always good to actually own everything you have ever read because you might want to use it somehow someday. Maybe. A steal at 50p.
Then I noticed a volume called ‘Vision & Difference – Feminism, Femininity and Histories of Art’ by Griselda Pollock. As I flipped through it, thinking “Come off it, David, who are you trying to kid? You know you won’t ever read it despite it being a snip at £1,” I found myself in a chapter titled ‘Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity’ and there, lodged unassumingly between two pages, was a colour photograph, a snapshot, in fact, possibly from Snappy Snaps or the chemist’s. Then I thought “For the sake of the readers of Strength Weekly I will transfer this photo from ‘Vision & Difference’ to ‘Mobius Dick’. My actions are perfectly understandable.” So I did this.
These are the questions that must be answered:
Is the guy famous or just a guy?
Is he dressed up or actually a footballer of the American persuasion?
Is the photo American?
Is the guy a woman?
Was the reader a woman? (who knew the guy)
Having read the book did the woman still like the guy?
Is there any reason, frankly, why she should not?
If the reader was the guy did he continue to play American football having read the book?
Is there any reason, frankly, why he should not?
If the reader was not the guy and not a woman and therefore another guy does he like football or was he just using the photo, in which he had no particular interest, as a handy bookmark?
If the reader was a woman who did or did not know the guy was her use of the photo a form of humour?
Was the photo applied randomly to the book by a reader of indeterminate gender for no reason other than, say, the chemist’s had accidentally printed two of that particular snap so they might as well use it as a bookmark although it is rather big?
Even so, did this undetermined reader appreciate that the inappositeness of the juxtaposition was, at the least, provocative?
Why is the guy’s shoe weird?
Why are his arms not rugged?