Relics and Reconstructions from the last Machine Age: Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, 1983

We found a box of exhibition catalogues in the Salvation Army thrift shop. Looked a bit like a clear out of someone’s possessions, them having passed away. There is obviously an undercurrent of bad news in charity shops, especially when you are around the old blazers and shirts that need cufflinks. I bought a pair of AquaScutum cuff links ten years before I needed any. The velvet box enticed me. I still wear them, and am planning to one day, ceremonially return them to the charity shop river.

One of the catalogues was of a sculptor’s exhibition of welded together odds and sods, from 1983. I would have been ten. All the photos are in black and white. Some look like crap film stuff, but some are placed or arranged in enticingly curious ways.

It’s the cheap photographic quality. And the eccentricity of the project. The artist would be in his late sixties now.

Look at this useless thing. Pointed off towards, what? It’s crap.






The field telephone is right on. You’ll get your dead granddad blethering down that line.










GreenBeard and YOREMAMA work for the Cyprus Potato Marketing Board.










“WhoMe” Mask is in charge and after your time sheet.










I’m not sure that Buffalo Man shouldn’t be situated at the centre of the Union Flag.








With any luck, the artist will still be soldering odds and sods together. All these artists. I hope I one day find out the name of the early twentieth century dancer who would dress as a squash. You could tell, though the photos were black and white, his leotard was striped bright yellow and green. He looked so happy. Men like these are like bees and sparrows. Normal things becoming rare.


About grahamcliffordpoet

Graham is an award winning poet, based in London. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing, and has since published nationally and internationally, winning many awards and performing at some of the most prestigious and well known Literary Festivals. His debut collection, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren.
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