on 5 January 2014
Naturally, the origin of the plaster-casting thing, or things, arose many years before the pop generation came into vogue. Discounting Stone Age symbolic triumphant carvings and the fossilized protrusions of sea urchin fingers in flint, highly suggestive stimuli to other sea urchins, the earliest example of a physical probe-moulding that academia is aware of was a wattle & daub casting of `K', the middle writing partner in `Jerome K Jerome'. Although still standing in the Ashmolean, this object has been variously mislabelled as `Early ring-sizer' or `Edwardian quoiting peg' but the preservation of the evidence in the wrinkling is to my mind incontrovertible.
The version of the movement referred to in this work emerged in the very early 1960s. Possibly even at the infamous party where the musician Morris Vanson was advised to switch around his name to avoid an implied affinity with motor cars. Wild times. Paris, London, Brighstone. The practitioners were surprisingly durable in an artform that spanned the decades; and those gentlemen who modelled for the plaster castings were required to hold their nerve and maintain their courage, although they always managed to keep it up for these women.
There were oddities of course: Midge, Fish, Slash, Plant, Moon, Sensible and Marcella Detroit. A bit of a misunderstanding there, but soon cleared up and subsequently inspiring her `Bananarama', which apparently did very well.
Those were abiding memories from the 80s, like the time they sent Toyah out looking for a blocking spoon and she actually found one, but too late for poor James Brown, who turned out to be all talk anyway. People asked `Why just bands?', so they extended it to the political fraternity but, you know, too small and, to be fair, that's been abandoned since the last `Hey look, I'm Edwina Currie' party, when the hostess got stuck with alginate to the future Prime Minister for three days and they had to castle themselves into a B&B and announce they were in discussions on matters of concrete interest to the constituency campaign. Poor Norma. Such kind hands.
Many were drawn to the casting practice in the 1960s. I can still see Twiggy and David B hovering about, getting in the way with their posing and spilling the tumblers. `Twig!', `Snap', `Go left luv'. Cubists tried to take some of the castings and paint them, which added an extra dimension, then there was that nasty moment in New York when, after a truly riotous recording of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in, Sammy Davis Jr became so over-excited with a smile from Goldie Hawn, which may in hindsight have been more indigestion than invitation, that he poked his own eye out before they could get the alginate on and had to invent a car accident cover story. Who'd have thought? Such a slight build of a man, but very funny.
The scene fizzled and died much later on at the end of the 80s, when the girls and their copycats got into mixed media, epoxy, rubber, resin, Primula. The solvents used in this process got up their noses, cured people of blinking and made their heads spin until they lost their ability to write anything but utter rubbish. I feel so sorry for that dear Jilly Cooper and the Collins woman. Perhaps I should have stayed out of the tent as well, but we can only learn from history, not change it. My cocoa, nurse, if you would be so kind.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2013
From start to finish Plaster Scene is hilarious. Michael introduces us to some outlandish characters and plot lines which would seem at home in a classic Tom Sharpe novel. His writing keeps the story going at a good pace whilst keeping the reader entertained at every one of the many turns. From a new writer, this book is surprisingly good and I recommend it as a perfect summer/winter read for anyone who enjoys a bit of light relief.
on 10 July 2014
I found the first few chapters a confusing collection of unrelated stories, but I'm glad I persevered with this story, because when all the characters from those chapters came together, the story proved to be a funny romp through one farcical event following another. A lighthearted, enjoyable read.