Monday, 24 September 2012

Skin

(A picture of Girl in a wig- doing her 50s starlet face but not wearing mink.)


Soft cloud this evening, the sort that I want to pull down and wear as a cloud fur coat. This image bumps into another, swings it from shadow to conscious surprise. 1981: the full length beaver skin coat arrives in our house; the way I remember it, almost like it had come to stay, like it had brought its own monogrammed suitcase, arrived straight from the funeral of a relative. We couldn’t turn it away, because we were related, because it was bereaved. Fur was a huge taboo. To kill something you don’t eat, to plunder nature for callous profit? It definitely arrived with baggage. Inevitably, it was an object of wonder. When the house was empty, I took it from the wardrobe; it had a fine hanger, carved wood, maybe cedar wood. The lining was satin, smooth as a liquid. I put my hands on the rich opulent decadent fur. I understood why my Gran always said ‘fur coat no knickers.’ You would want to feel this against your skin. You could lie furled in this softness, the cold could not touch you. It was heavy on my shoulders, when I dressed in it, it made me think of story characters; the Snow Queen, Cruella De’vil; and it smelt of moth balls and oozed history, and most of all I thought of the tale of the Sealie Wife: seal folk come ashore and step out of their skins and if you take their skin they must keep their human form, but they pine for their seal skin and when they find it they will run to the sea, even leave their children behind, so strong the call, the connection.

(A picture of Lily Tequila, circa 1984, wearing fake pony skin.)

3 comments:

  1. Home to the sea...

    There you have it, a day when your words are more intoxicating than wine.

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  2. I think I understand how you felt about that coat. My grandmother had several mink coats, and some other furs, too. The mink was so silky soft and smooth. It felt incredible, but always kinda creeped me out. After she died, her coats went to several women of the family, and the creepiest one went to my mother. The thing had heads. Yeah, heads. I can still picture that ugly thing in my mind. And smell the faint moth ball scent that never seemed to leave it entirely. My mother never ever wore that thing. Nor did I when it got passed down to me.

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  3. Thank you Jacqueline- cheaper than wine too! :-)
    And Susan, that is exactly it! I don't know what happened to the beaver skin coat; don't want to know, so I can imagine it being spirited back to its real owner. A coat with heads?!

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