Wednesday 5 January 2011

Pet Shop Puginesque

This Gothic psalm-board was made for me by Russell Thomas, and hangs in the stairwell of my house. The quotation is from 'West End Girls' by the Pet Shop Boys, and it is a line that has always intrigued me. My initial thought was to have it embroidered on a sampler in the Victorian style. I then considered a more oblique treatment, with aircraft carriers and spitfires on a cushion cover, the stanza perhaps picked out in Trajan a la Ian Hamilton Finlay. It was Russell who came up with the notion of a psalm-board such as would display hymn numbers to a congregation of church-goers. Fittingly, the frame is fashioned from an old pew-end, the gold-leaf lettering laid on a granite ground. The typeface is Sirona, which lends the piece its pleasing quality, particularly the kerning on the R and the K, as well as the caps on the A and N, and the G is as Gothic as it comes. I adore the enigma of this couplet, coming as it does at the end of this classic eighties electro ballad with its haunting 'How far have you been?' vocal rejoinder. I once glimpsed the Finland Station from the window of a coach bound for Leningrad, and to this day, wonder just what motivated Messrs. Tennant and Lowe to fashion such a wonderful lyric as this.


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