Following several knock backs and aborted attempts to gain access to Paul Vanzella I have finally managed to jimmy the lock and enter the building that houses his workshop. It’s quite dirty to look at, yet remains aesthetically pleasing at the same time (much like a lot of his work). I have no doubt that I’m going in the right direction. There are bright flashes of light from the other end of this cavernous room, a cackling laughter can be heard along with a drone of generators
I’m entering the inner sanctum, the magic place that Paul (the Van Man) Vanzella creates his masterpieces. It’s hard to get into the corner, the bric a brack thickens as you get closer, then after squeezing between a digger and a airplane fuselage (that I’m sure I have seen before), I’m there! Blinking in the full glare of the spotlights lighting this whole area!
“WHO DARES DISTURB ME?” booms a voice from the shadows, I can just make out the outline of a figure in the lights. It looks like one of the aliens from Close encounters!!! Shock horror – Paul Vanzella is not human, hold on a moment, that’s hardly news is it, I mean we have all seen his work!
From behind me I hear movement, like the wind through silk curtains, suddenly I realise that I’m not here in the light on my own! Oh no the Van-man is in the middle of a shoot, that means if I turn round I’ll get an eyeful of Jo (No Clothes) O’Brien.
Trying to ‘nonchalantly’ turn around, I manage to avoid the expected whiplash and there in front of me stands No Clothes O’Brien ! In the nip , her birthday suit, wearing just a smile! Do I need to go on?
She looks less than happy at me being there! “how dare you” she squeeks, “we were just in the middle of recreating the Venus Di Milo! But we were going to call it the Jo Di Milo” ahh that explains the strange yellow sheen to Miss O’Brien’s skin, and here was me thinking it was jaundice. She makes no move to hide herself, instead she hisses, “best look elsewhere four eyes or I’ll turn those glasses your wearing into contact lenses!” she’s not joking there’s a real violence in her you can see it in her eyes and the scabs on her knuckles!
Turning back was where I got the whiplash “just do exactly as I say and nobody will get hurt” she whispered into my ear “isn’t that right Pauly?” she cackled. The lights dimmed and I could make the Van Man out a little clearer, he wasn’t an alien he was chained to the camera, in fact 5 camera’s hung round his neck making him visibly stoop, his ankles were chained together…a look of the defeated in his eyes he mouthed “Help Me…”.
So there we have it, Paul Vanzella is being held against his will and forced to take pictures of Jo ‘No Clothes’ O’Brien (his number one fan!), in her dastardly scheme to take over the bubble with the power and volume of her image. Oh the inhumanity of it!
I managed to sneak out of the Paul Vanzella image factory whilst Jo No Clothes was ‘ re-educating ’ Paul on what she considers acceptable behaviour. His screams for mercy drowned out the sound of my escape! Okay I appreciate that it was cruel of me to leave him, but fair reader, I was lucky to escape with my notebook! She’s a wild animal and as soon as I can enlist the help of 3 Commando Brigade I will return to save that poor, poor man from the clutches of that venomous wild woman.
Get on with it I hear you cry…
So what about the next instalment, well after much research and a twenty minute scan around the favourites board, I noticed that there’s this bloke called Mel Brackstone doing strange things down on the beach. Stop with the dirty thoughts you lot, I mean with his camera!… Oh, that makes it sound positively disgusting.
Anyway, moving along I went down to the bubble beach. The bubble beach is very different to the beaches that I’m used to elsewhere, the water doesn’t look like it usually does it’s more like a milkshake than normal water, and as for the clouds and sky well that’s just plain weird ! It was here that I first spotted silhouette of the man-mountain that is Mel Brackstone , he stood there with the surf crashing around him standing at least 7 foot tall and as wide as a garage door, the water seemed to part rather than try to wash him away. I was surprised that this giant was the creator of so many amazing yet delicate pictures. There was a loud crack which I initially thought was the sound of a rifle being fired, I later discovered that this was the manual shutter release of Mel’s salt encrusted camera. The shot taken he started wading to shore, a mass of thick unkempt dirty orange hair was the first thing I saw of the giant as clouds shrouded the rising sun and allowed me my first clear view of this man mountain.
Dear readers, I know there has been at least one fact niggling one or two of you up until this moment, may I point out at this stage that I had only managed 20 minutes of research before heading down to the beach, most of this had involved my locating flip flops, bucket and spade and tying knots in a hankie. It had completely escaped me that Mel could be a girl’s name, and her appearance in the surf had only affirmed my assumptions that Mel was indeed a big fella. Dear god was this woman huge! She towered over me, legs like tree trunks were encased in rubber waders, grief I never realised that rubber could stretch like that, or that it came in such large sizes! Her torso was encased in a dirty green waxed cotton jacket, well I assumed it was, on closer inspection I realised that it was a modified boy scouts tent. Readers, can I state for the record right here that Mel Brackstone is indeed a BIG WOMAN, some might say manly, what is certain is that she has a strange musky smell about her, it was hard to explain but certainly was a concoction between damp seaweed and decaying fish, I put it down to a life spent on the seashore and felt certain that it was in my best interest not to mention it.
Her eyes a very pale washed out blue, were distant as though they focused 10 feet beyond the back of my head. Later research has revealed that this is a chronic eye condition of extreme long-sightedness and is an occupational hazard for the true landscape artist, some of the great landscape artists could not see anything closer than half a mile. Indeed Mel’s condition was well on the way to this level of severity. She realised that I was there and with effort focussed in on me, Imagine a seven foot giant woman with wild ginger hair going cross eyed in front of you and you try not to laugh? Trust me the smell stopped everything apart from a smirk. “MY BEACH” she shouted, her voice so loud it nearly burst my eardrums! “MY BEACH, MY BEACH GET YOUR FILTHY CARCASS OFF MY BEACH”. It was right about this moment that I realised that all this time on the beach and constantly listening to the crashing of surf had resulted in a certain level of mental health issues for the lady. Either that or she was really pissed off about me being on her beach and my running away screaming “help, help crazy giant lady on the loose”.
Following my abortive attempt to interview Mel Brackstone I decided to find out more about the wild lady of the beach and why she behaves like she does. Interviews with some of the other beach bums that have made their homes in the sand dunes around the beach have revealed the crazy world of Mel Brackstone . She moved here as a child and now considers the beach as her front room. The time alone has resulted in her now being as mad as a box of frogs, she now see’s the whole area as hers , when she sleeps she uses old free papers as her sheets, which not only explains the titles to a lot of her photo’s and the destruction of the amazon for wood pulp, when she catches anyone taking pictures from her beach she forces them to hand over their camera and sells the artist into slavery as stock photographers!! C’mon why would they lie, I mean , beach bums, salt of the earth they are (and so willing to share their stories for a bottle of cheap booze). And so dear readers, I draw the curtains on another sad and pitiful image of life from within the bubble… sleep well.
I write this latest episode of the Soap Bubble from under the duvet, with one eye on the door just in case ‘they’ are out there and coming to get me. Over the past 4 months of my time at Red Bubble I have undertaken a secret mission on behalf of the senior management of the Community (the men in red) to uncover the dark and seedy secrets of Red Bubble. For the average everyday visitor Red Bubble would appear to be just a very well run, state of the art, art site (Peter the cheques in the post) but it is home to ‘groups!’ secret sects who gather under the auspices of sharing in one particular genre of what they call ‘art’. I have investigated several of these sects and found that quite a few of these are benign, okay so the HDR group are practicing alchemy, the sunrise and sunset group is filled with ancient sungod worshipers from around the world and the glamour group made me blush. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, for deep in the murky recesses of Red Bubble I have found a spectre-like informal group of shysters and ne’er-do-wells that go by the name of the ‘Bubblettes’ . This spectre-like group is not just content with being part of the Red Bubble fraternity and is continually attempting to take over the Red Bubble (much like Pinky and the Brain). The shadowy members of this group are believed to have strong links to organised crime groups around the world and it is believed that they are the masterminds behind some of the recent heinous and elaborate art crimes commited on Red Bubble.
I went deep undercover to infiltrate this group and found their lair to be a speakeasy hidden behind the front of the Red Bubble soapbox forum. This den of iniquity is run by the leader of the group Melissa ‘El Presidente’ Vowell aka Da Prez , a criminal mastermind of the highest order. She rules this corner of the Bubble with an iron fist using violence and intimidation to get her way. With the aid of her gang Artemis74 ‘Vice El Presidente’ aka the Banshee , Durotriges aka Da Bird , Jo ‘No Clothes’ O’Brien aka the Enforcer aka Little Miss Mayhem , Jared ‘Baby Face’ Poole and the lovely yet deadly gangsters moll Imogene Munday aka Jared’s little love machine .
I infiltrated their inner circle after showing my allegiance through a variety of different and quiet horrible ways and having to undergo an initiation ceremony where the head members of this gang painted themselves red and ran around naked, I discovered later that the naked part was Jo ‘No Clothes’ O’Brien’s idea and the others went along with it because they didn’t want to upset her. Once accepted by the inner circle my investigation has uncovered that this shadowy group has a far more sinister motive than that of a social group, akin to the evil SMERSH network from the James Bond documentaries on the telly, this group forces other Red Bubblers to buy their products .
I needed inside information into just what the ‘Bubblettes’ plan entailed, obviously the high council were unlikely to blab, I needed to talk to other sources, I soon discovered that this group was very powerful and none of the moderators would talk to me for fear of what would happen to them, their art and their families. For weeks I had no way forward on this story until I was accosted by a shadowy figure on page two of the featured portfolio, this husky voiced shadowy figure claimed to have been a member of the ‘Bubblettes’ but left following a difference of opinion with El Prez , since then he has had to change his avatar and is living in a constant state of fear that The Enforcer will be sent after him, the name of this informant has been muddled up to avoid identification we shall call this shadowy figure ‘Mrak Grmean’. His face hidden in a continuous shadow to avoid identification he went on to explain that the ‘Bubblettes’ are planning to use collaboration as a weapon, forcing other artists to work with them to make pictures. When they have entrapped these artists in their lair, using the opportunity of taking fantastic pictures as bait, they will inject them with a concentrated drug which they call ‘Scarlett washing up liquid’ this causes an immediate addiction to Red Bubble and once addicted these artists are then forced to join the ever swelling ranks of the ‘Bubblettes’ army. Investigations into this drug have revealed that it is indeed highly addictive and is a hard habit to break.
And so as I type this latest episode I realise that we are all in danger from this subversive group, I have spoken to the Red Bubble community managers only to find that they have a glazed look about them! They dribble a little, and claim that Melissa Vowell and Jo O’Brien are good for Red Bubble! I think that I am too late and they have all been knobbled by the ‘Bubblettes’ ! Who knows who is next? It may be you! It may be me! As I sit in the dark typing this journal entry I am aware that the forces of evil will not want this known to the rest of the Red Bubble. Wait, I hear footsteps approaching my door, the shuffling pad of bare feet on the wooden floor and a whisper of wind through silk… It’s No Clothes! The Enforcer she has been sent after me and what’s worse, she’s just outside my door! Oh dear god! Please someone help me!…I cower under the duvet… the door handle Oh no it’s turning… it’s…
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE EPISODES FOLLOW ON FROM EACH OTHER IN A SOAP OPERA STYLE. WHILST EACH EPISODE SHOULD BE A STORY IN ITSELF IT IS HOPED THEY THREAD TOGETHER. THERE ARE MORE EPISODES TO READ, JUST CLICK HERE! SOAP BUBBLE
please note that all comments are completely fictitious and intended to be humorous. The journal relates to my interpretation of the art and to stories that I make up about the artist as a bubble characters rather than focusing on the real people behind the art
why let the truth get in the way of a good story?