Tuesday, 10 May 2005

enough with the handbags

Now that there is a kind of job coming up to keep me going for the next couple of years, I'm going to gradually wind up the handbag making business on ebay. It's not financially viable, and as I've grown increasingly stressed the last six months about not having enough money to keep up with the bills and rent etc, it's also become a deeply unenjoyable activity. I'll continue to make things and sell them on another self-hosted site, but I'll make far fewer, and make things that are really worthwhile spending my time on, and sell them for prices that correspond better with what they are actually worth.

I still don't feel fully committed to pursuing an academic career, however. The job market in my field in this country is so amazingly, mind-numbingly dire that it would be irresponsible and stupid to the point of delusion to plan any future that includes long-term permanent employment in the university system. For now, I just want to finish my PhD, and I want to see it published in book form, because I'd be so sorry to see all that work just shelved in the library and never seen nor read. Even I should be able to manage that within two years. I do believe what I'm writing is very publishable and even generally readable. The movies that are important to me and my argument aren't specially attractive in general but there is stuff in there about Fight Club so any eventual book will quite legitimately be able to display Brad Pitt's naked glistening torso on the front cover, which ought to satisfy any publisher.

Getting off track, there. I really meant to say that having spent so much time bloody thinking about handbags over the last few years means I have quite a collection of material for a book (or something) on feminine sexual masquerade and the meaning of the handbag down the last couple of centuries. (Ampersand Duck's comments on the last statuary post got me thinking about it again.) From the complete absence of handbags in Austen and Burney and other c18 women writers, to what Freud said to Dora about her little reticule and why she kept sticking her finger in it, to the apallingly capacious handbag Ernest Worthing was found in, through a bevy of femmes fatale and their jewelled evening clutches, to Grace Kelly's pregnant-stomach-concealing "Kelly" bag, right down to Marnie and her yellow, parading, vagina-shaped purse, where she keeps things she's stolen from men and also the succession of female masks she uses to trap them with:

I don't quite see yet how it fits in but there is something too about the modern obsession with immorally expensive status symbol handbags, and the booming trade in fakes, and the hysteria-laden public arguments about the ethics of "real" vs. "fake" designer goods. I would want also to include Kel Knight's Manbag, just because I do love it so very, very deeply. There must I guess be more relevant handbag stuff from TV-land.

Do other people think wistfully about projects they'd like to take up some time, projects that seem like a ton more fun that whatever is on the plate right now? I have a mental drawer full. Are they just highly evolved stratagems for procrastination?


Mallrat said...

ooh i love those projects.
I saw a great chandelier made of op shop finds- forks, knives etc, i'd love to try and replicate it.
there used to be a house near the astor where the occupants had made these gigantic papier mache animals - giraffes and elephants stompin aroudn the front yard.
i think may contain traces of nuts wants to make his own home made fanbelt (sorry that's an injoke)

Mallrat said...

just checked out the bags they're super. shall invest ina couple one of these days.
now check out this link. it's the only thing that makes me laugh hystericaly without fail:

Lucy Tartan said...

oh, god! thanks for that Mallrat!

Ampersand Duck said...

What a fabulous idea for a book. Don't forget that horrible trend of using handbags as dog-kennels. I was disgusted to find first-year art-school students imitating Paris Hilton during O-week this year. Haven't seen the little doggies since. Maybe they caused mayhem in the life-drawing classes!

Phantom Scribbler said...

I used to sell a bit of beadwork, but, as you know, the economics of craft work do not favor the crafter. You'd eat for a lot longer from the proceeds of a book with Brad Pitt's torso on the cover.

Laughed out loud at your "Marnie" screenshots. The things I never noticed while watching Hitchcock at 2AM while in high school...

Scrivener said...

As far as the side projects: Ab. So. Lutely.

And I have a hard time discerning whether they are genuine, laudable methods of thinking about the future and remaining intellectually engaged or whether they are, as you say, "just highly evolved stratagems for procrastination." After all, my dissertation was itself at one point one of those projects that I entertained wistful notions about during my comprehensive exams. In fact, I think every good paper I've written started out as a tangent from some other project that I had initially resisted because I was afraid it was mere procrastination. And now that I've come to recognize that fact, it's made it oh so hard to figure out whether I'm uselessly procrastinating or usefully procrastinating.

Susoz said...

I was at a kids party the other day - one of the girl guests (age 6) has the full-blown life-threatening peanut allergy. Her mother was showing other mothers the little bright pink handbag they bought together to put the girl's epipen and other drugs in, for her to take with her everywhere. But, the mother said, the girl is not yet old enough to really care about having a nice handbag, so it doesn't work as compensation for not being able to eat what other kids eat.

Lucy Tartan said...

The longer kids remain immune to the charms of shopping, the better.

Lucy Tartan said...

David, I'm at (or past) the point where any form of procrastination has any positive attributes.

The possibility of some sort of discursus into the semiotics of the handbag appeals to me though, because that might mean I hadn't wasted all that time welded to the sewing machine

Anonymous said...

But other people got bags they like. No waste.

I loathe procratination. I have made it a high art and a low compulsion.

But it has given me a lot of good ideas.

- barista

Brownie said...

The Defining Handbag In Cinema Moment is in Roman Polanski's 'Repulsion' when the Catherine Deneuve character opens her bag to reveal a dead rabbit. I have wanted to have a small corpse in my handbag eve since - in case the supermaket checkout personne wants to look inside.

Lucy Tartan said...

Thanks EVER so Brownie....that is definitely going into the collection!

brownie said...

a lit film adapt alert:
Notes From a Scandal, starring Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, will begin shooting this summer. The film is based on Zoe Heller's novel
What Was She Thinking, in which a young teacher has an affair with a school pupil.
also amusing: Stephen Frears is to go ahead with his film ‘The Queen’ about the relationship between the royal family and Tony Blair in the week after the death of Lady Diana.
Helen Mirren, in a move perhaps more flattering to Her Majesty! than the actor, is cast as the Queen. (those bits from The Guardian)

Please give your dept people my email brownieh &iprimus.com.au if they want all the nick cave filth in the world - I witnessed it all. even the mick harvey account in today's Age has lies in it.

Yout floor pillows are lovely, BAZ is a star and you could write the definitive work on time management I think. try to slow up this week xx hb

R H said...

Repulsion is a good film.

There aren't many.

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