Now of course my sweet cousin & I had a real simpatico. (Stop me if this starts to sound like a eulogy). One day we climbed the ladder up to the second story of the court house my grandpappy had built & sat with our legs dangling over the balcony smoking sixteen packets of Marlboro Lights and sampling the vino from the mayoral cellars. We got to talking, oh, about lots of stuff. As you know very well my journey to Texas, and thence to Shitsville, has been an epic journey into the dark heartlands of my very soul. As it turns out Roger just rolled out of bed one day after a soccer final, blinked blearily at his alarm clock, and decided to go to Shitsville as a kind of joke. That explains the moustache & chaps & fringed jacket. Also Roger was a bit glam and I saw then he shared the same Lennon-like taste in glasses as our mutual great-great grandmama, dear departed Arabella Shitsville, who was nailed to the wall in a gilt frame, just above Roger’s sweet head and delicate neck that showed all the sweet bones sticking out.
I have already mentioned how the… uh, the respected citizens of Shitsville had ever-so-subtly, in a Texas kind of way (i.e. not subtly at all) turned against me as mayor since the advent of our sweet cousin Roger in our simple little town. He was a popular and beatific kind of boy, full of pep and joy de vivre, which is all very well and good. He always wore a gold ring on the middle finger of his right hand which showed a Lepidoptera in relief.
Let me take a minute to point out that Roger Shitsville’s mother had got up early to bake fresh bread for him every day of his eighteen years. He had never been hounded by a prying media into joining the uninspired ranks of the gainfully employed, he had never foregone his daily baths in the breast milk of first time mothers, never felt moral pressure to eschew his taste for diamonds, and so on. In short, for one reason or another, Roger never felt the need to clip his splendid blue, scaled Shitsville wings and undergo a reverse chrysalis into the grotesque yet strangely luminous, pale body of a Texas prairie silk worm, a very down-to-earth kind of grub to be, whose abject produce is considered to have considerable beauty, strength and value, I might add. Now, it was perfectly clear to me that the plain, simple folk of Shitsville were absolutely enchanted by this epicene butterfly, Roger Shitsville. Even some of the mutants from surrounding areas travelled to Shitsville (wearing sort of beekeeper nets attached to their hats to cover their faces) just to get a peep at the supine Roger, gleefully alcoholic and irreparably lazy, soaking like a flower in langurous bands of honey-coloured sunshine.
“We are not very close family but I think we are very similar,” he said, wrapping a pink feather boa tight around his neck.
“Roger, Roger: you are RIGHT,” said I, wrapping a Pierrot-like frou frou scarf tighter around mine. “Now attend to me, lad: I know you would very much like to be mayor, but it is not all boots and badges, cousin. There is a lot of work to do, and there is paperwork besides, and we all know that you can’t spell very well. You should just stick to what you do best (whatever that is) and be happy to leave civic, council and mayoral duties to moi.”
Roger agreed & went back to fanning himself with the back of an old 33c Tattle Tale magazine we had found in the back office. I was reading a back issue of Vogue, which I think is a disgustingly uninspired rag, full of fashion sycophants, but what do you expect to get in the dustbowl of Texas. In’t were a lot of pictures appertaining to the Dior S/S 2010 collection, by this time a neat retrospective. As it turns out, Galliano’s collection took its inspiration from bouquets of flowers, the kind you give to old actresses & opera singers, the great gross madames of the stage who have been playing Peter Pan for forty years running, in the faint hope that they will finally go away and die somewhere quietly if you load them up with enough delphiniums.
Now when it comes to Galliano, let me be very clear: the man is a turd: an ugly, anti-semitic dick of the highest order (like Cecil Beaton), who designs couture gowns for Disney princesses and Barbie dolls (also like Cecil Beaton, who is now mercifully dead). I would swap John Galliano for the re-animated corpse of Alexander McQueen in a smoker’s-quickened heartbeat.
But in the blue, blue peyote-drenched afternoon of any given Tuesday in Shitsville, the photos of his latest (and last, ha ha) collection for Dior set me to thinking thusly. The overblown, suffocating, cloying “blossom” palette was the epitome of Texas desert sunbloom chic: shades just this side of sunburnt, pink flush & red thrush (yes I said thrush), the lurid orange of a burning fag end in the electric purple of a Texas night, the triple shade of blue in the Texas sky, tortoise-shell & cacti green, dark lips and nail polish like fingers dipped in dried blood or crude oil. It also reminded me of the intense warning colours of certain kinds of poisonous frogs and butterflies (and oh, let’s chuck in some birds as well, chickens for instance, just for fun), or the bone-dry rattle of a certain snake, I forget its technical name.
Now I have always subscribed to fashion that works like this kind of aposematism. This tendency to become highly noticeable and distinct from harmless organisms is the antithesis of crypsis, or avoidance of detection. The benefits of aposematism are dual: creature one, the aposematist, (okay so I made that word up) avoids being eaten; creature two avoids an horrific & ironic death by poison because they had fair warning. Aposematism has been such a successful adaptation that harmless organisms have repeatedly evolved to mimic aposematic species, a pattern known as Batesian mimicry, or cheap “fashion” knock-offs worn by bogans, WAGS, and people who shop at ZARA. Another related pattern is Müllerian mimicry, where aposematic species come to resemble one another, but that is by-the-by.
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