18 August 2005

The Carter Brown Mystery


I found this book in a cardboard box out the front of a shop in Brunswick Street; and I have to say, the Carter Brown mystery has got me baffled.

Could this be an elaborately abstract advertisement for incontinence pads? Or feminine hygiene products?

Is this a bath? A toilet? A jacuzzi?

Is it a warning on the evils of drink – an artist’s impression of visual hallucinations brought on by alcohol-induced psychosis? (Given the choice between this and pink elephants, I know which one I’d prefer).

Notice the dodgy perspective on the elipse of the drink in the glass. This could only be possible if the drink was actually leaning uphill. That’s it: maybe this scene is taking place on a boat at sea. It’s all starting to come together now.

The cover says ‘A Brand NEW Rick Holman’. I’m a little disturbed by the redundent capitalisation of ‘brand’, but what worries me is the apparent transformation of Rick Holman! Rick, was your gender confusion so acute that you felt you had to resort to surgery? And Rick, you might have been a small man, but this is ridiculous! Or are you sitting in a very large glass, in a cryptic homage to Marcel Duchamp? Maybe that’s it - maybe Rick is a performance artist.

I think we may be getting nearer the truth.

So I’m thinking Rick Holman was an artist, decades ahead of his time, whose name has sadly been lost to history. Forced to leave his home by ship, Rick set out with his large special bath, ‘The Large Glass’, which he needed to deal with his incontinence problem.

Due possibly to his brave challenge of the stuffy gender conventions of the 1950s, and his pioneering gender reassignment surgery, the burning flame that was Rick Holman was snuffed out before his time.

That’s it. I think we have it. Suggestions welcome.

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