Sunday, 31 October 2010

Day 305, on vich it is Hallowe'en! [evil laugh] [31.10.10]

Dag tre hundrede og fem. Har de har, it's Hallowe'en! And yes, you read it correctly, it's spelt Hallowe'en, not Halloween. Y'see, it's an abbreviation of 'Hallow's eve[ning]' or something like that, so there should be an apostrophe where the V should be, much like in ma'am. The two apostrophe-separated letters form a sound, in this case 'ee'. Cause yeah, I'm a grammar Nazi with added phonetics.

Firstly, I'd like to state that I really don't like Hallowe'en. It's a stupid holiday thing, to be honest. No one has any idea what they're celebrating, which is pretty funny, but then there's the whole dressing-up thing, which I hate. Sure, I'd love to dress up, but not as a goddamn ghost! Or a vampire, that's just silly. Or, for that matter, a zombie. It all just seems silly, and they scare the bejeebies out of me every time they turn up at my door screaming 'trick or treat' in their little squeaky barely-RP accents. Plus, I have to give them sweets. For what? Putting a white cloth over their head? The KKK did that and they never got any sweets. And I can't even get out of it; I don't remember one time when someone replied 'trick' to 'trick or treat'. I'm sure if anyone did they'd be shunned by the community and no doubt stabbed to a bloody pavement death by the youths involved.

And that, kids, is why I've never gone trick-or-treating. And why I'll spend the rest of my life as a lonely Hallowe'en-hating bachelor who lives in his swanky modern apartment with only my chairs for company.

Before you go to bed - or, if you're in the US, go out and demand sweets from that elderly couple down the road - I have a little story to tell.

Let me take you back fifty years, back to the days of the 60s, when people wore flowery trousers and such fashion atrocities. They had big hair and thought everyone should be peaceful and not kill each other. And let me also transport you to a small country in the Baltic named Denmark, a country of great prosperity and even greater bacon. In Denmark there happened to be - and there still does happen to be - a town named Aalborg, a wonderful town with wonderful facilities but rather boring people.

In Aalborg, on the 31st October 1960, there lived a man in a large, SPOOKY, grungey-yet-neat house on a hill. Well, OK, on a bit of a mound in the ground, 'cause they don't really have hills in Denmark. This modern-styled yet VERY SPOOKY house was sitting atop this hill, effortlessly blended into the landscape with faultless gardening but still a SPOOKY ATMOSPHERE surrounded it like a licorice mist.

Around the house the little blond Danish children ran in the fields and farms and pig-places, celebrating whatever the fuck they do for Hallowe'en in Denmark. They probably call it Pøggeltingenføjer or some shit like that. Anywho, Jens and Ana and Gelle and their similarly named child-friends were running round collecting licorice from the friendly Danish neighbours in honour of Pøggeltingenføjer. But, in his no-doubt haunted house, the designer Arne Jacobsen sits and watches the children with an air of disgust.

The kids are having a fun time, but that doesn't mean Arne can't. He can have all the fun he likes with his drawing board and rulers. He's having a ball of a time, in fact. He laughs his evil Danish vampire-like-but-not-a-vampire laugh and returns to his drawing board. He's drawing up architectural plans. He even decorated his house for Pøggeltingenføjer by placing a small plastic spider in a drawer of his beautiful chest of drawers. In fact, he was putting it there because it was cluttering up his house and making his Egg chair's form look blobby, but he felt like he was doing his bit and honouring the design Gods of Denmark.

The children knew better than to disturb Mr. Jacobsen, especially on the night of Pøggel-whatever because he always went uber-productive out of sheer disgust for everyone else in the world. However, there was a new kid in town. His name was Jens, funnily enough. Unfortunately there are already 58 other 8-year-olds called Jens in Aalborg, so we'll call him Jens S. (for his surname, Sørensen). Unfortunately there are another ten Jens Sørensens in the area, so we'll have to call him Jens Sø. 5th. There, sorted.

So Jens Sø. 5th walked innocently up to the dirt-free doorstep of the Jacobsen Manor, which, may I add, was still VERY SPOOKY and DAUNTING (oooOOoooOOO etc.). He ding-donged on the doorbell, which had a rather sweet sound, and Arne looked up from his drawing board from the first time that night. As far as he could tell, it was only him in the house. He'd got married in his youth, but somewhere between then and now he'd misplaced/forgotten his wife so it was just him now. Him and his chairs and his drawing board and his love of design. The others didn't speak much.

Arne walked up to the door, finding his feet after their first use in weeks. One foot in front of the other, Arne, yes, they work like the legs on chairs but they move. It's a difficult concept to grasp, but he tried his best. He opened his door and looked out upon the young Jens Sø. 5th.

"Waggle tanga bagoonie!" said Jens Sø. 5th. Please note that I've substituted the Danish words for 'trick or treat' with 'waggle tanga bagoonie' because I'm sure it sounds something like that. Either way, Jens Sø. 5th said that.

Arne Jacobsen looked upon the child with distaste. These little people sure were daring. No one had knocked on his door in ages. The small person was holding out a bucket full of Danish chocoloate bars (Chokojum, Jeg Elsker Chok, Hvad? Ja, Chockolate!, Fuck ja chokolate, chokoladerenenernernenenggle etc.), licorice and shit like that. Boy, did Arne feel sorry for mankind, messing about with food, of all things. He hadn't had a meal in months. Every now and then, he accidentally fell onto his kitchen table and encompassed a biscuit with his mouth. It was a shock every time it happened, but it kept him alive, his doctor said.

"Vell hello dere," Arne said to the child, exercising his little-used speech box. Then he had a brainwave. Maybe he didn't have to give some sort of foodstuff to the kid. Maybe he could use this child for something. Functionality and all that. "Vould you like to come in?" He beckoned the child in.

Jens Sø. 5th looked with scared, wide, bright-blue Danish eyes at Mr. Jacobsen. He wasn't sold on the whole going-into-a-demented-designer's-house thing. But then Arne said "Dere will... be..." and, believe it or not, he managed to squeeze out the word he'd never uttered before, "fun."

Now I suppose you think I'm assuming Jacobsen was some sort of evil, spooky-house dwelling weirdo. But not really. It wasn't that sort of fun. I love Arne Jacobsen and I'd never insinuate that he did that kinda fun with a kid. Instead, the kid got scared shitless and dropped dead on Arne's doorstep. And, strangely enough, the kid's skin just slipped right off and cut itself into functional square-foot pieces. And that's how it got to be used on Jacobsen's first prototype of his Swan Chair. Honest, that's how it happened. I was there and all, in spirit at least.

The end.

Well that was weird. Obviously, Jacobsen is still a great designer and it's not true and it's a Hallowe'en story yada yada yada so don't sue me, bro. Enjoy your evening! [evil laugh] [thunder crack]

~John [sound of bats screeching]

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