My Dad’s Ugly Clock Wall
I got my copy at Sticky.
I was talking to this girl at Sticky one time: and she was telling a few of us about her dad’s love of what she flat-out described as just ‘ugly’ clocks. He sounded like a bit of a collector, and had an entire wall of them. It struck me that he probably didn’t consider them ugly, it sounded like he was quite proud of them. You don’t wake up one day to collect UGLY clocks, unless you’re an ironic hipster, and the chances are low that someone’s dad is an ironic hipster (less so in another generations time maybe). I confess I became intriged in her father’s collection, one he continues to add to. What was the aesthetic? What made one clock desirable over another? What was his curatorial bent? Who was this fantastic man? We all snickered about #Ugly Clocks and #Stuff Dads Collect and I told this girl she should totally make a zine about his collection. Seriously. She really should.
She did: Fast forward some months later. I came across this zine at the counter where we’d previously been talking: My Dad’s Ugly Clock Wall. My heart sang.
But are they ugly: I have to say….they are pretty bad. Mass produced 1960s and 70s kitsch wall mounted clocks. Kind of curated in the sense that they are all similar dimensions, maybe by the same manufacturer, maybe not. I have no idea where you acquire these, but out there in suburbia there’s a father with a passion. I can see how they would be collectable in a retro sense, but the question remains: is this girl’s dad a genius right on the fashionable retro pulse or is he just a man who really loves (basically) ugly clocks from an earlier era?
Can we talk about production values for a moment: So, a funny idea ended up as a zine, but guess what, someone couldn’t be arsed working out pagination so they’ve used one of those split pin things (aka ‘paper binders’) to hold together a group of cut out bits of card that they have then *pasted* colour print out photos on to. No no no no no. If you’re going to do something on small cards? Print the images onto the goddamn card directly.
Can we specifically discuss split pin fasteners: These handydandy little clippy things are probably a more unconventional means of binding pages FOR GOOD REASON. The following are legitimate usages of split pins because they take the technology and run with it. Batshit weird psychedelic paper birds with rotatable wings. Twirling daffodils. Hypermobile paper dolls. Chicks hatching out of eggs. Hypermobile bad ass spidermen. Timepieces. (omg the zinemaker could have made her dad’s clocks actual movable paper replications…)
My point is. Split pins are for twirling. Spinning and twirling.
More cut throat critique: The home photos of dad’s ugly clocks. Now come on. In the perfect world, you take down each clock individually and photocopy it straight on the glass for a wonderful black and white inky resolution. Or you take down each clock, and photograph it properly for chrissake (I’m looking at you sunlight reflecting off timepiece). Then? sit your dad down and get him to recount how exactly he came to own each particular clock. The when, the why, how much. You know. Go the anthropology angle on this fascinating subject. (The clocks). (Or the man). Or both. BOTH!
A call to arms: everyone has weird collections of things and every object tells a story. Go document the fuck out of it with the upmost attention to detail and respect. Learn how to paginate and photocopy double side and buy yourself a long armed staple. Change the world. Respect split pins for their unique technology. Make a killer split pin zine. Somehow, somewhere.