The rather news-thin Grimsby Telegraph newspaper has decided to jump on a fish-marketing bandwagon and declare today to be Great Grimsby Day. A day to be proud of the Grimsby area! Its scenic mudflats! Its thriving heroin-injecting scene! The active support for boxing and extreme wrestling seen in the town centre every Saturday night! The wide range of chain-based shopping opportunities, and the picturesquely decaying industrial areas. Be proud, people!
It’s a good thing, I suppose, that they didn’t get it confused with National Fetish Day, which – equally arbitrarily – was yesterday. I hate to think what would have happened. There’s not much of a fetish scene in Grimsby, after all; a couple of the regulars in the Lloyds Arms and that’s about it. I can quite easily imagine the Grimsby Telegraph’s staffers not understanding what the word means.
We’ve just been watching Nosferatu, the classic silent vampire movie, and one little touch jumped out at me. The menu screen of the DVD shows the cover image, a stylised pastel portrait of the titular vampire, but with one small difference: every couple of minutes, he blinks. The sort of thing that: when you see it, you’re not sure if it really happened.
It got me thinking about the nature of fear; and, particularly, fear of images. When I was younger, I had a book* full of exciting information for children and suggestions for fun activities. It had everything from face painting and magic tricks, to the colour wheel and the platonic solids.** I loved it – but one page, I was terrified by. The page – well, double-spread – on toxic and dangerous animals. I didn’t really mind the tarantula, and I can’t even remember anything else on the page: but what terrified me was the picture of a piranha down in the corner. It scared me so much that I wouldn’t dare touch it, even though I knew it was only a picture. I’d find a different way to turn that page, without going near the piranha. I can’t explain why I found a picture, essentially a picture of a fish with big teeth, quite so frightening, but I wouldn’t touch that picture for years.
* A pedant writes: as I rarely get rid of books, I still have it, and it’s still on the primary Bedroom Shelves rather than relegated to storage somewhere.
** Tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron, I think. I might have missed one. My favourite part of the book was also the longest: a project to build your own electrical trivia game with questions about the solar system. I never did try to build it.