As a little boy, the local newsagent shop owner assumed I was a little girl. He’d say so in a volume set lower, as I chose which sweets to buy from the pick ‘n’ mix.
He’d lean forward and say, “Aw, what a pretty little girl.” He’d turn away to address anyone else within earshot, swapping “Aw” to the end of the sentence, placing emphasis on the words “what” and “pretty”.
I came across this fragment online: An interview film featuring two characters living as husband and wife in a small, Paraguayan town. One that includes a large community of ethnic Germans, within its population.
While at no point in the clip is a date mentioned, the fashion, furniture, quality of the picture, sound and the historical references divulged, gives a feel of the late 1950s.
Most of the filming takes place in a spartan-furnished lounge, with the pair shown seated together on a charcoal-grey settee. A bland, greenish landscape painting hangs framed on the wall. To the left and smaller, a pictorial calendar displays August’s arrangement of a white teapot, cup, saucer and a pile of books. A ribbon-tied spray of pink carnations lay across the open pages of the topmost book. The wallpaper, floral and faded, completes the scene.
“Ja, nien.” The woman is wearing a sleeveless white blouson top and a black wrap-around skirt. Her make-up and hair are immaculate. Initially hesitant, she directs her answers to a man positioned off-camera, evidenced by the occasional plume of cigarette smoke drifting across the scene.
“And so it’s true, lo and behold I was the only one with a camera, the day Jesus was laid in his tomb.” Lottie holds the photo hardware up for the gallery crowd to scrutinise. A retro model, but containing more computerised technology packed into it, than available to the entire global effort for outer space travel, c.1954 – 1986. “So that’s my story and now I am ready to take some questions. You there, with the clown make-up, what would you like to ask?”
The beige-coloured painted walls of the gallery space, specially commissioned for the one-person, one-piece exhibition, has created a relaxed atmosphere. The critics from the press have been polite throughout Lottie’s monologue account, despite the only beverage available being tap water.
Joseph of Arimathea cries out: “Who, has left Our Lord’s mortal vessel slumped on the chair like this?”
Within the tomb, an elderly turbaned man emerges from out of the shadows. Dressed in an embroidered stola, a walking-stick decorated by intergrown knots helps bear the load of sombreness he carries as he shuffles into a space of light.
“I am Nicodemus of Judea,” his voice is hoarse, dry and pitched upwards, “High Priest of Sanhedrin and I swear to Almighty God, that it was not I. Perhaps, instead…” a stubby index finger extends outwards to form an accusatory pointing device, “it was him, over there!”