Sunday, January 13, 2013
This One's for Britland, Where Showbiz David Now Graces a Posh Kitchen Wall in Southhampton
I hear from the Brits, and so they shall hear from me.
Just call me David Chipperfield, poster child from a vanishing line of Brit bit top lords, before they gutted the sawdust of raw dust. Soon, retrospectively speaking, will the image in which I appear, the taller bloke on display in the photo above, be hanging high in the United Kingdom, gazing down upon Steve and Kirsten Robinson whenever they convene in their Chilworth, Southampton kitchen over mysterious meat pies, scones, veggies (do they have those in the UK?) high or low tea.
Had I foreseen this fateful leap in my global presence, I might have rented lordly locks for the photo shoot, Or Beatled my bangs. The Robinsons, you see, reside in the very home where Mary Chipperfield once lived, where, in her lively garden, performing monkeys vacationed on the off season.
After purchasing the home, those royal Robinsons (anybody who hangs me on their wall is royal in my book) caught the circus bug, and have embarked on Chipperfieldian scholarship. Sad, the big top scene over there seems more looking back than forward or even sideways these diminishing days. Their digging goggled them to my blog, to the photo in my extreme youth that people seem to like. To me they wrote, "We love the photo of you in the old truck." They were hoping for a higher resolution, "... as this would make an amazing picture for a feature wall in the house."
Courier & Ives, have I a future?
I sent them the digital image, itself a scan off a color photo made from an Argus slide, shot in Scotland when I lived there for a long enchanting spell in the mid-'60s.
Giddy over my awesome acquiescence (I am so easy -- well, sometimes), iChirped Steve from his iPad. "That's fantastic, David. My very clever wife has already tweaked it so we can enlarge and have as a picture on our kitchen wall. You will be watching over us at every meal!"
Okay, kids, and watch your you know what. No Agatha Raisin microwaved stomach crunchers. (Fish and chips slathered with salt and vinegar, wrapped in newspaper, will melt my caustic glare to ravishing envy, so go ahead and make my day.)
Me and They: Like maybe millions, my family traces its variable roots back to one Admiral Byrd. Thus, my wonderful later mother, Mary Byrd Lewis. I'm supposed to be one quarter English, another quarter Welsh, with maybe a dash of the Irish thrown in. Other side: One quarter Swed, another, Bohemian.
Here, following, are some Chipperfield Circus images from the original post of December 2, still intact, down a fair scroll, to which I've added a few more, roused by Jim Stockley's comment. Sorry, Jim, as I recall, my Argus did not behave well in color under canvas. A pity.
Cheerio, my curatorial Chilworthians!
So circus fanish of me [on the truck]-- posing as if I owned the show. I, too, was young once.
Inside the big Chipper tent, during set up. Perhaps somebody across the Big Pond will recognized this man.
On the back of this photo, I wrote "This man (right), a prop man, took me all over the lot and behind the scenes
Such cozy, well tended little mobile home caravan. A far cry from your typical Kelly Miller Circus lot in the states (sorry, John and Jim, I just couldn't resist).
At the front door. I wonder if the lady on the right is a known circus person.
Looking back upon the Chipperfield program magazine, it's remarkable how loaded the show was with animal acts, almost one after another. Thirteen of some 18 one-ring displays! One was Zira, "the girl who swims with crocodiles (I have a hazy image of her act). At Roberts Bros. Circus, the same year, of 25 displays, only 8 hailed from the menagerie.
According to the program, Dickie Chipperfield worked the elephants.
A bonus, on the breezy Brit boards. We are at the Gaiety Theatre in --- "Oh, the air is lovely in Ayr!" Oh, how I loved those salty two-a-night music hall variety shows -- 6:15 and 8:30. So smartly paced by amusing skits, songs, and dancing production numbers. In Glasgow, the Pavilion with Lex McClain, and the Metropole, among other houses. Nothing like 'em! I got to know a Gaiety director Max Norris, had tea at his little apartment in Ayr, showed him some of my writing, he took it to read, and later sent me a nice letter, offering clear crisp commentary on lyrical lampooning. So, you might say I was tutored in the U.K. [see what I mean about trying then to take a photo indoors]
A land of graceful beauty. A land that fog makes love to.