Discover more from Marian Bantjes is Writing Again
Ever amid the ethereal dreamform of micro verbals to macro wordiage
A number of years ago I received five massive catalogues from Renovation Hardware, who used to sell remakes of old hardware (handles, knobs, towel racks etc.) but had since moved on to selling “lifestyle”. The catalogues led you into a spectacle of stone greys, dry grasses and animal colours, and each page had descriptions of products along the lines of “Made from the rarest fibres of tumbleweeds, chased across the plains by barefoot indigenous children and carried back to their humble mothers, who chewed the thorns off with their well-worn teeth. One-hundred-year-old grandmothers then wove the silky tumbleweed fibres with her hands, fingertips worn smooth with the practice of this ancient art. Wrapped in artisanal paper made from thistledown, each unique Tea Towel is ready for your home.”
I got a lot of scornful pleasure out of those catalogues, and thought we had reached the nadir of advertising copy … until now.
A travel brochure for Goa? A spa in Tibet? Perhaps a psychedelic health resort á la “Nine Perfect Strangers”? (Note to worder: “Flipping” feels unnecessarily energetic here—try “rotating” or “inverting”.)
Wait, what? LIP BALM? I love how the words “beauty industry” come crashing in on the spirit-fluid wordling salad. (Note to worder: nix the word “industry”—why bring reality into it now? “ …is here to change the beauty.” sounds much calmer. Note from worder to productarian: Can we change “Stain” to something else? It sounds vaguely murderous or industrial. Maybe “Tincture” or “Smudge” or something new, like “Glavé”? Where a glavé is whatever anyone wants it to be?) The the final, stomach-churning lurch into the truth of the now comes when we realize all this … this experiential glavé, is for lip balm. Gender-fluid, Mother-honouring, ceremonial, proprietary lip balm.
Oh, and the customisable, modular lids and bases for your sculptural collection? There are two.
Six years inside a womb of wonderpots. The horror … the horror …
Because that’s what people do with their used lip-balm containers—we keep them for our species-fluid great-grandclones, whiling away the days, thoughtfully tracing our fingers over a brand mark, wondering where and when it all went so terribly wrong.
Precious envelopes of the body, vowing to infinitively split the soul from the affluent fingertips. The colours of lifeblood, tears of glittering C-beams touch our racially fluid models with the glavé of intergenerational motherhood. And the gentle price of the soulful offering … $220.
Time … to die.