Bicycle bits (twopence coloured*).

I've been waiting with pleasant anticipation for the promised box of bicycle parts to arrive from Saltspring's Velo Village pART project (referred to in a previous post ). What would be in the box? A hundred or more bicycle parts, but which parts?
In any case, a few days ago I went down to start the fire and the day, and on the way for kindling found a cardboard box on the front porch, lit the fire, and carried it up to the house to open over breakfast with J. 


Opening and exploring was not an unmixed joy - like some Christmas presents, it was very nice, and thank you,  but not quite what I'd wished for and sent into the sky via the chimney. 

However, it made a brave display, all one-hundred  (mostly small) pieces:


Looking at them again as I write this, I see a lot of attractively coloured, beautifully made, interestingly shaped, but in a functional sense, useless junk. The nuts and bolts are, literally, just not there. Almost no item relates to any other item - other than forming some part of some generic common whole. There are sprockets, but no hubs (well, actually there are three, including the red stepped starfish-shaped things, but they don't fit any of the sprockets). There are no bearings, even if there is a front hub and two crankshafts (7 o'clock). There are bits of a front-fork assembly, and some intricate components of some sort of shock-absorbing mechanism; four small chain-tensioning sprockets (4 o'clock) and what might be, but isn't, a cage for them at 10 o'clock. Several brake levers (and even a very nice pair of brake shoes, next to the black starfish), a set of shift levers, three (?) cranks (no pedals). And many more shapely but nameless "components".

So? The guidelines for the event (or "competition" for there are prizes, quite nice ones too) require that I use some 20% of what is there, to make a piece of artwork (not the same, I think, as a "work of art"). Before the box was opened I'd had vague and hopeful visions of planetary gears and ball-bearings and chains, maybe even a wheel with spokes.......and that somehow they would arrange themselves into some ingenious pastiche of an 18th c. celestial mechanism.

After breakfast I took some pictures and then put everything back in the box, closed the lid flaps and hid it under a chair where I could ignore it for a few days. Perhaps my unconscious is working on things — that's the idea, anyway — but if it is, I can't say I'm aware of it. (Well you wouldn't be, would you? ed.).

(Background music: Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli: The Rome Sessions, Vol 1. Track currently playing: "I Can't Get Started")

*"Twopence Coloured": R.L. Stevenson remembered walking down Leith Walk as a boy, and staring at the "twopence coloured" cut-out paper representations of theatrical personages in the window of an Edinburgh stationer's shop. There's also a short, sweet, archival Pathe film of two ladies nimbly working on snipping out the little figures, colouring them and then enacting a miniature stage scene... (