Rain on your wedding day is just bad luck, Alanis.











I’m crosstitching again.

After a hiatus of 14 years, I’ve flung the craft closet doors wide open and said “come one, come all, and watch me stitch like nobody’s business.” The vehicle that makes this emancipation possible? Irony: that clear unequivocal message that says how cool is it that I’m this pathetic!!!

Finally, no more sewing in the dark like a dirty secret or covert Spotlight ops where I shuffle in, ask for DMC threads in the most opaque bag they’ve got and then sprint out with the same bag over my head. Quite the opposite. Now I saunter in, commandeer one of the loudspeakers at the checkout and say “yo homies, what you got in the way of threads – I’m about to get my stitch on” and then cross my arms like a gang-sta.

A small caveat: one must be doing ironic crosstitch, and in order to do ironic crosstitch, one requires a suitably ironic crosstitch pattern. You start crosstitching rainbows and you’re out; unless it’s a clearly ironic rainbow with a pot of, say, mini rainbows at the end, or it’s got ‘crosstitch for marriage equality’ up top.

In order to safeguard the inherent irony of my work I have been stitching things like tetris ghosts and neon pink dinosaurs, which is super-edgy, because palaeontologists claim that those ones were the first to go. Apparently they punched like girls.

Just as rampant as irony is the ubiquitous woodland creature; so much so that I suspect the next generation will refer to this era as the ‘post-ironic-woodland’ age. From deer to sparrows to foxes – you name it, and it’s been whittled into a badge, hammered into a necklace or printed on a fluoro leotard for extra cool points. The situation is so dire that a trip to Northern America in the near future might be prudent: I have a feeling they’ll soon go the way of the dodo.

In fact, all you’ll be able to do, in twenty years time, when your kids ask you what an owl actually looked like is point to your badge/figurine/necklace/earrings/placard/diary/tattoo and say, “alas, little Johnny, he was all but polished off in 2014, made a resurgence in 2015, came back into fashion in 2016 and died shortly thereafter.”

You know who got the short end of the stick in all this, though, and that is the Southern Red-Backed Vole –a native American woodland mouse which has failed to retain any lasting popularity. Not surprisingly, he is on PETA’s little known “way too unendangered” list. You can’t even get a bookmark of him, and no one is more disappointed than me. He could have been very kitsch and very ironic and you could donate all profits from his sales to saving the rest of his friends.

I’m such a hypocrite, though – if anyone has contributed to the dearth of these animals, it’s me. I just did a mental check in my head, and I have – at the very least – a ceramic owl, a deer crosstitch made by yours truly (see above), a cut-out of a deer lacquered on wood, a swiss clock surrounded by forrest creatures, a sparrow necklace, a vague moosey looking animal on a tshirt,  and a small patch of mould near the ceiling which is very woodlandish.

Still I like to think that the sheer enormity of my collection is an ironic undermining of the phenomenon and a subtle critique of the vices of global capitalism. That, Alanis, is irony.


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