Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The lives of others


I went to school in a very small town. The children had names like Gemini, Trinity and Lasagna. The town centre housed all of lifes necessities. There was a post office, dairy, pub and taxidermist. This didnt strike me as unusual at the time. It now seems a little strange. It all came back to me this weekend when I returned home for Easter. Walking into the garage the eyes of a freshly decapitated deer head locked with mine. I jumped in surprise. Six years in the city and I had lost all country roots. The deer body hung in 2 parts from hooks suspended from the rafters. On the floor there was blood, deer skin and mess. My brother operated a mincer as my father carved with his knife. I backed out of the garage quickly. It felt like the real life set of 'House of 1000 corpses'.

I'm uncertain how I feel about taxidermy even though I was quite familar with the practise during my childhood. Family houses were adorned with the faces of dead animals that stared blankly from the walls, animal skins covered the floors and home killed meat cooked in the oven.
Moving to the city, chickens were purchased instead of home killed. A walk to the supermarket displayed an array of packaged, frozen and scarily disproportionate carcasses. I would open magazines to find articles raving about jewellery that allowed oneself to be adornined in fragments of dead animals. Boutique perfume and skin care stores in the city displayed immortal parakeets, eagles and ferrets alongside perfumes from France and soaps from Spain.
It's all a bit strange, beautiful, scientific and terribly possesive to mount and reproduce a dead animal for display. It is simultaneously regal and white trash. How very very strange. All I hope is that I never end up stuffed and mounted on a wall.  

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