• PrinceStreet

The Inventor (Part 1)

“I told your father, leave it to me, don’t touch that clock until I get home, I’m not sure where I’m going to put it yet. But oh no, he couldn’t wait could he. This is a big clock, not a small one. It’s a miniature Grandfathers clock, and it’s the only one we have that doesn’t need power (in case of a power cut), but it’s too loud so I have to put it on the other end of the bedroom. Now he assumed I meant I had no space to put it. So, as soon as I left the house, the tools were out. When I got back, I swear you wouldn’t believe it even if you saw it with your own eyes. He had gone and made a shelf to hold the clock right by the bed. Not a shelf that that you might buy from a shop, no, this was a fucking ice cream lid nailed to a block of wood. You know, the type that comes off an ice cream container. Who the hell in their right mind uses an ice cream lid as a shelf, what a fucking moron”. Pearl.

It could be argued (and my mother would be inclined to do just that) that my father is, what could be considered an inventor. Maybe not like the sorts of Thomas Edison or alexander graham bell, and maybe not quite as sharp as professor Klump, even. He may never invent anything as world changing or practical as the light bulb or the telephone, but he invents ‘stuff’ all the same.

These “inventions”, although unconventional, can sometimes be practical, like his garden tables or veg planters made from stainless steel beer barrels for example, which would once fill the whole garden, adding to his odd collections; or his bike-bottle-holders (now beer can holders) attached to his homemade garden bench made from a reclaimed concrete windowsill, named and engraved ‘Ebenezer’ after the demolished chapel it was taken. Sometimes though, his inventions are a little more stretched or jilted, scratching on the surface of madness, revealing his surrealist nature. Like the toilet roll warmer for instance, which needed a change of three tea-lights twice to three times a day.

For every problem there is a solution, but sometimes, for prince, the solution is another problem. I remember once, entering the kitchen of my parent’s house, where I went to turn the light on, and instead of my hand meeting a switch that had been there since long before I was born, my finger was met with the sharpest of prods. This was real stir to the senses. What the fuck was wrong with the switch? Why was something that was designed to do just one job now stabbing me in the finger? When I finally found the switch, which was now located on the other side of the door (for reasons unbeknown to me) I discovered that the original switch, had been replaced by a clock, and I don’t mean that there was a clock hanging in its place. This clock had been tailored, using the face of a small carriage clock, and had been embedded where the old switch had left a hole.

Prince’s inventions have to be-seen to be-believed, and even then you would look twice. His most suspicious and perplexing invention to date would have to be the “chamber”, this can only be described as a plastic eye sore, or as my mother once put it, an unfortunate state of affairs. Build around Ebenezer (the bench) the “chamber” was made of half-inch thick corrugated plastic. It was five foot by three foot, and about three foot tall. It had its own path leading to its hinged door with a green exit sign, and was decorated with toy soldiers, bullets, and brass ornaments. It had no roof, and overall it would seem to possess very little practicality, and if it did, it was not obvious. So you can imagine everyone’s reaction on the discovery of its true purpose.

When I asked my father why he had built this structure, and what it was for, his answer was simple, “to stop the draft when I’m having a fag”. Bewildered by his answer I was compelled to investigate this structure further. So I opened its door, where I discovered it even had a wheel that aided its movement, which he informed me, was to stop the door from scraping the decorated floor tiles.

One tiny step in, and I had reached its concrete seat decorated with its namesake. Then I turned and I sat down, leaning forward as I had seen my father do on numerous occasions, smoking his roll ups and contemplating the ways of the world. And that’s when I discovered, that the one and only purpose this structure had been designed to fulfil, had no affect at all. Not only did the wind still hit me around the ears, due to the height of the walls that barely reached my shoulders, but it also rearranged everything that sat inside, including a few plants, that had all but given up the ghost. I can only liken this chamber to a universal studios ‘twister’ attraction. If anyone had succeeded in keeping a roll-up in their mouth within its plastic monstrosity, they would still be trying to light it long after its walls had blown away.

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