Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Chinese Whispers

After reading all the comments left on the four posts in which I tried to share the contents of a television documentary, I began to see that Blogland has almost been playing a game of Chinese Whispers with me. I don't know how many of my readers are familiar with this party game? I'd better try explaining, just in case. Participants stand, or sit, in a circle. One person chooses a short sentence and whispers it into the ear of his/her neighbour, who in turn whispers what they thought they heard to the next person. When the whispers have passed around the circle, then the original sentence is compared to the final version - usually widely differing and often hilarious because of it.

I'd like to assure everyone, the painted bodies were thoroughly washed and restored to glowing pinky-brown before the assembly gathered for that final meal, so they were not asked to venture forth looking like a tribe of multicoloured aliens. Nor were they topped up with alcohol to overcome inhibitions. I think the whole experiment proved, as Suldog so wisely deduced, that humans have been conditioned to regard nudity as abnormal.

Personally, the most fascinating thing for me, was how scientists had been able to come up with a theory which explained why humans are no longer born with their own, luxurious fur coat, not to mention the fact that they've been dressing themselves up (though maybe not to the nines) for the past five or six thousand years. Gives High Street Fashion a whole new meaning...

This lets me glide almost seamlessly (!) into the wonderful topic of needlework. Making clothes was a way of life, for me, from a very early age. I used to beg to be allowed to turn the handle on Gran's old Singer Sewing machine when any of the family were sewing up a garment, and could be trusted to 'Stop!' or 'Go!' on command of the one whose fingers, at the business end of the process, would have been in danger if I hadn't!

Dressmaking

Tape measure: scissors: material: pins:
chalk and pattern; now to begin.
Lay out the pieces. Try not to waste
precious inches. Don't cut in haste.
Shuffle the pattern till order appears
from chaos, using knowledge acquired with years
of how and when to cut and snip
for perfect fit from bust to hip.
Allow for turnings, hems and seams
and bring to life the stuff of dreams
as slowly you watch the garment grow
beneath fingers that pin and tack and sew,
machine and trim and turn and press.
So much work for one new dress.

16 comments:

  1. jinksy, you are such a creator of wit and wisdom, and patching pieces together to make anew - Very clever, you are, and multi-talented - I could not sew to save a life, not even buttons! x

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  2. Allow for turnings, hems and seams
    and bring to life the stuff of dreams
    as slowly you watch the garment grow
    beneath fingers that pin and tack and sew

    Good1

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  3. like the idea of the garment growing.
    I used to do life drawing as part of my A Level art. The scariest bit was when the model took her robe off. Once she was naked it was fine and i think only the first time was weird so i agree with the programme. anyway sure you've had enough of nudity now. Let's face it as humans we can accept the most ridiculous/cruel things as NORMAL

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  4. Loved the Horizon series Jinksy. Agree about the conditioning part. Whenever we saw someone showing a little bit more than what we thought was appropriate on TV and we were embarrassed, my mom would tease us, "I can see her nose and eyes too. It's the same thing, right?" Nope. It wasn't.

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  5. Ah, jinksy, I have just spent a wonderful half hour catching up with your posts (I've been flopping around like a landed fish with what felt like a combination of malaria, pnemonia and a very bad hangover - better now, whew!)

    I only saw part of the Horizon documentary and I was fascinated to read your review and sagacious comments on this interesting exploration into the human psyche. You do write with such erudition, y'know.

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  6. I like your poem, Jinksy. We had a treadle sewing machine when I was a youngster and Mama would sometimes let me sit on the floor and "pump" the treadles with my hands. I was trying to learn to sew on the machine at about age 8 and remember running the needle (and thread) through the nail and into my index finger. Fortunately, Mama was close by and rescued me.

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  7. From why people lost body hair to gram's sewing machine what a transition. My gram had one of those machines but I wasn't allowed to touch it.
    Great bit of poetry as usual.

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  8. You've sewed this one up! We played Chinese Whispers as kids, but called it Gossip, or sometimes Telephone.

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  9. Love the Poem! It reminds me of my mom who creates beautiful dresses for all of her grand-daughters. Jenni

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  10. My favourite Chinese whispers joke, Jinksy concerns the front line in a war, all the men in a trench - the Captain at one end wants to get a message to the Company Commander at the other and whispers to his neighbour - pass this message on - "send for reinforcements, we're going to advance." What the Company Commander hears is "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance."

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  11. "Leave a whisker here": funny! Thanks for dropping in and visiting me. We have a lot in common besides our age.

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  12. Now I want to know what all the talk was about. Not your booty in my kitchen window, was it?

    My grandmother used to MAKE me push her petal on her old singer. (But I loved it!)

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  13. That's one poem I'll never write! I'm a dud with a needle! Let us see the finished masterpiece!

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  14. OMG! I wisely deduced something? I think I have to go lay down. I must be exhausted.

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  15. In the states we call this game "telephone."

    Shoot, I would have found the paint so much more comfortable to face the world in!

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