Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The cruel aesthetics of old people's stuff

As you get old, you need old people's stuff. Great design never seems to be a priority. In fact, much old people's stuff looks repulsive.

Take shower mats. Old people slip in the shower, right? Solution: a rubber mat that grips the slippery wet base, and that responds to the grip of your dear old toes.

Trouble is, shower mats, like so much old people's stuff, are usually ugly or boring or so boring they are ugly. More than ugly: vile, hideous, disgusting. Colours are modelled on slimy old pink nighties or the dreaded beige raincoat. Lumps in the rubber are like serious acne or boils. The texture sets your teeth on edge.

So OK, I did slip in the shower recently, the first time ever. Wham! Maybe it was a oncer. Maybe it was because I was simultaneously stepping into the shower and mentally listing the jobs of the next 90 minutes. (1. Shower & dress etc. 2. Finish packing. 3. Run to computer shop for replacement netbook cable. 4. Call taxi. 5. Catch plane to Tonga.)

Regardless, if you live alone, best not muck around with risk.

On my return I bought a handsome shower mat from Moore Wilson. It combines the beauties of a chess board, space age jelly, and a crystal prism twinkling in the sun. In the structure I see two extremes in harmony: post-modern industrial steel and the Tofukuji moss garden in Kyoto. Aesthetically I'm satisfied.

And for the next week I owned another beautiful image as an impressive bruise flickered through various permutations of blue, black, yellow and green. Nature's painting on my bum.

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