Dodger Bogbrush Saves a Bit of the Universe
The Concept The Treatment
Back in 1973 I was on holiday with friends in Barmouth, Wales.  There was nothing much to do - the average age of the local inhabitants then was about 80 and there was a distinct anti-tourist (maybe even anti - English) feeling to the place.  The pubs closed on Sunday, too.  I'm still not sure why we chose it.

One day I walked with the others along the esplanade (which was totally deserted - we were the only visitors) and I saw one of those "instant" photo booths.

I was willing to do anything to alleviate the boredom, so initially I thought about taking some "straight" photographs since I hadn't had my picture taken in quite a while (largely because I never seemed to take a "good" picture).

I dropped some money into the slot, and sat on the stool with a fixed grin on my face.  I waited.  And I waited.  And I waited.

Finally, in utter exasperation and thinking that I'd lost my money I leaned forward to see if the machine was even switched on.

Flash!  Oh, no.  One wast... Flash!  Damn, I wasn...Flash! Drat this... Flash!  All four wasted.

I stood outside the booth in the chilly air and waited for my useless photos to be developed.  When the strip of four finally came out of the machine, every shot was terrible and out of focus or only the bottom half of my face or the top half of my head.

At first I was annoyed.  But then my special idiot gene kicked in, and I had An Idea.  I pulled out all the change I had - enough for about twenty photos - and went back into the booth, armed with my old fishing hat - pressed into service to try and protect me from sunburn (not that there was much sun around) as a prop.

Boy, did I have fun.  I contorted my face both with and without the benefit of the hat - I could have won first prize as a gurner (except you really need to take your teeth out to do justice to true gurning).

By the time my friends had become aware of my absence and retraced their steps, I was waiting for the last of my works of art to come out of the machine.  I spread my body across the delivery slot so they couldn't see what was being printed, which aroused their curiosity so I was unceremoniously dragged away from the machine.

The results were pretty awful - but for the next three days, whenever the tone seemed to head towards morose silence, all I had to do was pull out the strips of photos and hand them round.  Instant merriment, courtesy of Pete's ugly mug.

A little later, when I looked at the faces more closely, it was possible to see a sort of family resemblance, and so I gave each one a name, a title and a relationship.  Some even had an air of femininity about them - as long as you classify the hairy weightlifter look as feminine.

From time to time over the years I would whip the photos out at parties and other gatherings, mostly as a test of people's ability to continue standing relatively close to me after seeing the images.

The results were interesting - especially since I seemed to gain a reputation for being stern and authoritarian-looking in later years, and the photos provided concrete proof that there were in fact a few bats playing skittles up in the belfry.

A couple of the photos ended up in birthday cards, to underscore the fact that there are not only screws loose but a veritable hardware store Up There, and so those are, alas, missing from the cast of synaptically challenged misfits that constitute Dodger Bogbrush's extended family.

Just recently I fished the photos out to give them an airing and realised that maybe they could form the basis for a really dopey story - a sort of Dude, Where's My Brain? kind of opus.  The family tree can be seen here.

The treatment will be available on WriteSafe and here.

Last updated: June 2, 2002

Peter Brooks

© PC Consulting 2002