Sep 24, 2012

A Mile High Tale

Another colourful prompt from Tess at Willow Manor encourages more flights of fancy

Flying Down, 2006, by David Salle

"Do you really need the magnifying glass, Simpleforth?"
"This painting is not as random as if might seem at first sight, sir."
"Really?  Is that Simpleforth's view, or did you read it in Gombrich."
"Gombrich was dead before Salle painted this . . er . . painting, sir."
(Sotto voce) "I never learn!" (Aloud)  "I asked you about the magnifying glass . . "
"Notice the title, sir. "Flying Down"  The title is surely highly relevant to the central feature of the picture.  Or vice-versa."
"The spiral?  You or I can do things like that with the 'Twist' effect in Photoshop."
"Look carefully, sir, and you can see not one but two terrified faces, albeit upside down.  Salle has not only twisted the doomed passengers into a spiral of fear as the Cessna . .  "
"The little white plane about to attempt an emergency landing in the fireplace . . as the doomed Cessna spirals into the flames - " (He breaks off.)
(After a pause) "Proceed, Simpleforth. I daresay we have to hear a lot more of your commentary before we get round to the magnifying glass."
"It's not about a Cessna crashing, sir! It's the stack over Heathrow Airport!"
"It's the what?"
"See, sir.  You can't just stop a 757 or whatever in mid-air. They tend to plummet. So if there's no landing-slot available, ATC sends them round and round above the airport in a slow descending spiral, separation about 500 feet. It's called 'the stack'. Now, a plane going round in a circle leans over to one side. And the ground is looming closer every time round the stack. That, and the grinding noise of the flaps  . ."
"ATC? Stacks? Flaps? What are you talking about?"
" . .  of the flaps going down make the passengers think one of the wings has fallen off." (He pauses again) "That probably explains the little crane thing. Looks like a wing-section it's lifting, don't you think, sir?"
"Perhaps. But you don't need a magnifying glass to see the little crane thing -"
"Then again, sir, maybe it is a Cessna crashing after a mid-air collision with the goose that sheared off its propellor.  The goose looks out of control, sir.  But the Cessna's missing propellor is harder to spot."
"Ah!  So that's why you needed the magnifying glass.  You were looking for a propellor."
"No sir.  See that passenger with the bare bum? Maybe she was in the loo when the 'Please Fasten Seatbelts' light came on . . .
"Enough Simpleforth!"
". . in which case she'd be showing a panty-line don't you think, sir?"
(Longer pause, then -) "Pass me your maginfying glass for a minute, there's a good lad . .  "


  1. Excellent take on an otherwise doom filled painting. Send Simpleforth to the top of the class, Sir.

  2. I don't see a panty line...giggle...pass me the glass...

  3. Really clever, though now I must go find a magnifying glass to see things for myself...

  4. OMG ~~ a true flight of fancy Mag! Simpleforth started it!!

  5. Clever boy, that Simpleforth . . .

  6. Somehow I knew what that magnifying glass would be focused on! Bahahahaha!

  7. You certainly looked closer than I did. Well done.

    What is that blue and gold thing? Never did figure that part out.

  8. Thanks for explaining the whole thing. I couldn't see the connection to the bare bum but now it is all so clear. Though the terrified faces still elude me. I took a pass on this prompt. It was too....busy.

  9. VPL's certainly warrant closer inspection - to determine how they were made, perhaps? Maybe Simpleforth is planning to write a paper on the subject. Another fun Magpie from the seat of learning... hehehe!

  10. Well now that you've elucidated it, it all seems so obvious! But what of the fat man in the left upper corner? Perhaps the pilot of the cessna?

    1. Simpleforth thinks that the fat man in the left upper corner is Santa Claus with a sack of toys. He had to enlarge that corner of the picture using Photoshop to be sure of this. Santa seems to have missed his way coming down the chimney and become trapped behind the wallpaper.

  11. Very creative and I think Simpleforth was very clever in deducing the fat man (behind the wallpaper)was Santa Clause.

    Well done for spotting him Lolamouse!

    Anna :o]

  12. Clever fun, Doctor! I enjoyed sharing this great analysis! Thanks.=D

  13. Oh what a delight! So terribly English and most enjoyable. Still laughing after the second read!


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