Katzenklavier: The Cat-Piano

Illustration of a cat piano, from La Nature (1883)

Illustration of a cat-organ, from La Nature (1883). Image via Messy Beast.

When I was a kid, my weird and wonderful mother used to amuse us by picking up the cat and pretending to play it like a bagpipe, using its tail as a mouthpiece. Her improvised feline instrument has, sadly, been upstaged by my discovery of the Katzenklavier, a Cat-Piano (also known as a cat organ) dreamed up in the 16th century.  Continue reading

The Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships prosthetic limb 1992

An under-knee prosthetic limb, Croatia, 1992. “In a Zagreb hospital I met a beautiful, young and ambitious social worker from the Ministry of Defense. When she helped me to get certain materials, which I, as a war invalid, needed for my under-knee prosthesis, the love was born. The prosthesis endured longer than our love. It was made of better material!”

Museum of Broken Relationships broken dwarf

Divorce day dwarf, Slovenia. “… He arrived in a new car. Arrogant, shallow and heartless. The dwarf was closing the gate that he had destroyed himself some time ago. At that moment it flew over to the windscreen of the new car, rebounded and landed on the asphalt surface. It was a long loop, drawing an arc of time – and this short long arc defined the end of love.”

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The Disciples: James Mollison’s portraits of music fans

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Dolly Parton concert, Wembley Arena, London, 19 March 2007.

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Dolly Parton concert, Wembley Arena, London, 19 March 2007. “Dolly Parton is the most successful female country artist in history, with a trademark look- blonde wig and astonishing 40-inch bust- originally based on a prostitute in her home town. Some fans carried off the look with conviction, and for others the wig was just a party touch.”

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Oasis concert, Manchester Stadium, 3 July 2005.

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Oasis concert, Manchester Stadium, 3 July 2005. “The look of the band- hair brushed forward and green army jackets- had clearly influenced their loyal fans, mainly men in their 20s and early 30s. It felt more like a crowd at a football match than a concert. People arrived there already drunk and there was an atmosphere of latent violence.”

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Missy Elliot concert, Hammersmith Apollo, London, 28 November 2005.

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Missy Elliot concert, Hammersmith Apollo, London, 28 November 2005. “…The crowd were predominantly committed hip-hop fans, ranging n age from their teens to their 30s….we went for the girls who styled themselves along the lines of the star. It turned out that Missy had injured her ankle, and she performed that night in a blinged-up electric granny-cart.”

James Mollison, The Disciples series: McFly concert, Kings Dock, Liverpool, 9 July 2005.

James Mollison, The Disciples series: McFly concert, Kings Dock, Liverpool, 9 July 2005. “Bedroom-poster teenybopper sensations McFly were ‘the leading light of Britain’s boy-band scene’…The audience of girl was incredibly young- some as young as three and the oldest about 14.”

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Björk concert, Hammersmith Apollo, London, 10 & 14 April 2008.

James Mollison, The Disciples series: Björk concert, Hammersmith Apollo, London, 10 & 14 April 2008. “On my way to the concert, I felt a sense of regret that I hadn’t photographed her fans ten years earlier, when Björk was at her most avant-garde. But the crowd at Hammersmith turned out to be edgier and more alternative than I had imagined.”

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