Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hubcaps and Horseshoes

I'm writing a book about luck. Well, not just about luck; it's about the depths to which silly, pointless little foibles and superstitions have invaded our lives. Over the next few months I'll post a few snippets here (the earlier post about the number 13 entry was adapted from the book). In an effort to prove that luck is something you make yourself and not some 'power' or person, I've been been deliberately doing things in an attempt to improve or damage my luck. For instance, since January I've walked under ladders, carried icky dead rabbit's feet on my person, smashed mirrors and walked on the cracks in the pavement.

Has it made any difference? Wait until the book comes out ...

Meanwhile, this month I've been looking at superstitions surrounding horseshoes. And one train of thought took me in a totally unexpected direction. You see, I couldn't find a lucky horseshoe. Despite living in rural Buckinghamshire and despite the proliferation of little girls called Penelope trotting around on their precious ponies, I have not found a single horseshoe on the side of the road. For maximum luck, you should find a shoe and approach it from the open points end.

But this superstition began when horses were the primary mode of transport. So what's the modern equivalent? Well, cars have replaced horses ... and cars do occasional 'throw a shoe'. That's right. I reckon the modern equivalent of the horseshoe is the hubcap. So I've collected a few. For luck. But after a while, my long-suffering wife started to ask, "Why is the back garden full of hubcaps?" And I had no good answer. What could I do with them?

If only I'd been as smart as the wonderfully named Ptolemy Elrington. He's a Brighton-based artist who has made the hubcap into his medium of choice. And his work is extraordinary.

"Hubcaps are aesthetic in purpose, but ultimately of very little use," says Elrington. "They're automatically rubbish when on the side of the road, but with a little effort and imagination I transform them into something which gives people a great deal more pleasure. My hubcap creatures are made entirely from recycled materials; all the hubcaps are found, usually on the side of the road, and therefore bear the scars of their previous lives in the form of scratches and abrasions. I believe these marks add texture and history to the creatures they decorate."

I told him about my book project. He said, "I like the parallel of hubcaps and horseshoes being lucky. I guess they have been lucky for me as I've been very happy in my career."

I've posted a couple of pictures here but there lots more on his website here.

Clever guy.

3 comments:

Me said...

I have a horseshoe - we found it last year and when me and the child got home we hung it above the shed. Since then (no fibs) my mum died, my dad died, my job ended, I lost 7K per year on my salary, my marriage has broken down, I am buying a house, the survey found lots of faults, and my lover left me just before we ran of together....and I got bit by hundreds of mosquitos and ended up in hospital with anaphalactic shock....
Other than that I have been lucky.

Stig said...

I’d send you a lucky charm of some kind but I suspect that your house would burn down, the brakes on your car would fail and you would explode.

Things can only get better, surely?

Me said...

With any luck of course they will!!!