Sunday, March 21, 2010

A la Recherche du Temps Perdu

About 17 years ago to store some of my performing kit I began using a heavy old suitcase that had belonged to my grandfather. The last time I remember seeing it was about 11 years ago. I thought I had long since lost the case and all of its odd contents until this morning when it turned up at my in-laws home.

Excellent! A wonderful suitcase (pleased: both me and Nadine) and an assortment of...things...accumulated over time (pleased: me. Eye-rolling: Nadine).

What treasures awaited? Here's a partial list.

pair of vintage plaid trousers
badly squished but good quality red bowler hat
three purple juggling stage balls
three Cuban cigar boxes
plate of plastic food from Japan: rice, chicken croquets and gravy
four slices of plastic beef

a bag containing:
set of red sponge balls
balloon pump
plastic champagne glass
broken Japanese mobile phone
two clown noses
6" long rubber tongue
one set of rubber frog's legs that you stick in your mouth so the legs are hanging out - you then wiggle a lever with your tongue to make the legs move (another proud purchase from a 100Y shop in Japan)
one whoopie cushion
two TTs (magicians will know)
one 'nail through the finger' trick
one rubber snot-dripping nose prosthetic (again, 100Y shop)
one set of critter eyes for hand puppets
one cassette of 1930s boogie woogie music: Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson

There's also...

clown horn
floppy Salvador Dali-esque clock
45 ballpoint pens
fake Dali moustache
one rubber bald-head
six rubber eggs
half a dozen small magic tricks
three more clown noses
another balloon pump
two rubber juggling balls
an enlarging-$2-bill trick (useless since the advent of the toonie in 1996)
two rolls of coloured duct tape
hiking blister kit
rubber ventriloquist's mouth-and-tongue puppet
fire-starting flint and steel set
broken fork (deliberately)
cap-gun (with four still-working shots left. There were five until ten minutes ago)
pair of silly glasses
tin of exploding-cigarette loads

Oh - here's another cigar box. This one has...

six boxes of matches
two nose-flutes
another flint and steel set
referee's whistle
ten band-aids

I would forgive you for thinking that in my younger days my show revolved primarily around silly things made of latex. In fact the vast majority of the things lurking in the suitcase were bought on a whim because they made me laugh (and, yes, think 'Wow - I could do something great with that!').

I was deluded. Almost all of it has gathered dust.

Though I'm looking at the plastic food and thinking, 'You know, that still makes me giggle.'


  1. Hey Mr. M

    Despite making fun of you in your last post (you tolerate me so well), I'm proud to say that I'm one of your few readers who remembers your suitcase from long, long ago. I hope that's earned me the right to be affectionately rude every now and again.


  2. Had anyone found and opened it besides you, I'm guessing they would have been thoroughly mind-boggled by that list of contents--unless it was a child, then they would have thought they'd died and gone to heaven. :)

  3. Bruce - you may abuse me as often as you like. I rather enjoy it simply because it gives me the right to dish you some right back.

    Jade - it was in a shed so no one else had opened it; I've chucked the really useless and/or broken stuff and I'm saving the rest for my 11-year-old nephew. I think I'll make him earn it.

  4. Nadine must be a very patient soul.

    I would definitely keep the fake food and find a way to tack it up on the wall of my kitchen. And the frogs legs thing may be useful if you are ever stopped by the police for a traffic infraction.

  5. I also forgot to mention the thick-lensed novelty glasses and the remnants of a bunch of silk flowers.

    And yes, Nadine is remarkably patient. She rather needs to be.