Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

My Week: Cooper Book and the Creepy, Creepy Toy

Usually the more writing I am doing at work the more I wind up writing in my journal (which is probably a contradiction that deserves some self-exploration) but this week a variety of things have kept that from holding true. So I will summarize my generally journal-barren week with two images.

Last weekend my local shapenote group sponsored our midwinter singing convention, where we sing from the "Cooper Book" rather than the more common "Denson Book". The background to that divide is intricate, political, sociological, historical, musical, and totally without interest to the general public. Among our visitors was Martha Beverly of Kalamazoo, who tends to sit in the second bench of the lead section which gives her the perfect venue for taking photographs of the leaders (who face that section). This is the photo she took of me. The tie is from the late 40s, when pants came up high and ties were wide and short. This makes me look like Bud Abbott or Stubby Kaye, I think, but I like this photo anyway.

The other photo I have is my Consumer Friday picture, of a "toy" I purchased this week during ocelot_flavored's visit when I took him for a quick walk through the wonderful local Dreamhaven Books. I previously saw this toy as part of a museum exhibit on comic books that I attended in New York City in December, accompanied by bearfuz, theoctothorpe, and bconn. It's a figure of Quimby the Mouse, an early character of cartoonist/graphic novelist Chris Ware. I found this compelling and disturbing beyond all reason and when I found it available for purchase I knew I had to own it, if only to work through the weird feelings it evokes.

I had no previous knowledge of Quimby the Mouse as a character (or the head of Squeaky the Cat that completes the set), but I have a great familiarity with what Japanese-made Mickey Mouse (and Felix the Cat) figures and their packaging looked like in the early thirties. This toy completely captures everything about those rare vintage wood-and-cloth toys, including the much much rarer boxes they came in -- boxes covered in beautiful festive Japanese paper with a colorful stylized comic image of the toy pasted on it. Also: These early Mickey toys depicted Mickey with a ratlike face, just like Quimby's here (or is it Quimbys'?). I don't think this toy evokes quite the same feeling if you are not familiar with the original. So here is a perfect reproduction of the general sense and style of these old toys, except, um, for some disturbing modifications.

I find this nightmarish. Perhaps you will as well.

Have a nice weekend, everybody.
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