Frou Froü Paints Town Pink!
by Lara Schembri
[From the pages of The Daily Cog]
Rumour and scandal clank their way amidst the hazy air of our city, as notorious aesthete and controversial inventor Miss Jasmine Frou Froü reveals her well-kept secret to a not-so-welcoming public. Hoeder Reclick investigates.
Miss Jasmine Frou Froü is not so Frou Frou, or maybe she is, or maybe not. Of course, in our beloved city of New Monia, where well-educated and well-crafted opinions clash violently and graciously by night regarding the most minute and inconsequential of matters, this statement is also bound to be dissected and deconstructed, perhaps even dawdled with. It will, at the very least, be held up to the light and squinted at.
Miss Frou Froü, sole heir to the well-known Frou&Froü Animate-Animal Biscuit Company(TM), the brainchild of the late Mrs. Petunia Frou and Mr. Jondas Froü, has recently unveiled a most astonishing machine of her own design. The marvellous contraption is roughly accessible in the simplest layman’s language as a pre-particle atomic reproduction system. “To describe its purpose in the briefest of terms”, says Miss Frou Froü with pinky curled upwards, “my invention gives form to the Imagination, to those unreachable dreams which our Icarus-minds have forever sought…think it and it shall be I say!”
When questioned about that one fact which has drawn the disfavour of her critics, Miss Frou Froü replies ever-patiently to the plague of attacks that have hounded her: “I believe that it is due to my mild and feminine influence” she sighs, “that my harsh, manly machines have, quite of their own accord, sought to rectify the imbalance which resides among my much-loved community of peers…they have done so by obstinately shaping and rendering the concrete object of anyone’s thought in a most soft pink hue!” Spoken like a Scientist, a Poet, a true Aristocrat, says this humble servant of the Word!
I first make our charming lady’s acquaintance within the ornament-laden garden of her family estate, an ant-house of activity which doubles as her play box and work shop. Welcoming me with the widest embrace and the most skilfully drawn pucker, Miss Frou Froü immediately bids me to mount one of her topiary hedges! Despite my puzzlement, I politely oblige: “I simply cannot bear breathing outside the air of that fair muse called Progress!” explains my most gracious host, “Which is the reason why every natural aspect of my environment must be mingled with the Technological-Spectacular!” As her voice trails away, I clumsily attempt to balance upon a creaking, spluttering bovine machine, while our infamous swan gracefully races her moss covered giraffe to the patio where tea awaits us.
If only her critics could witness the mingling of Reason and Beauty which awaited me in this most delightful creature’s company! They might then have been persuaded to envision those steaming rods of steel which clothe our fair territory with a brighter finish than muck and oil! “Little Miss Jasmine has put forward the most preposterous of things…thinking she could ever push beyond a precocious talent for painting womanish trinkets and engineering mechanical baubles, she now presumes that her quaint little machine will be the saving grace of Imagination!”, declares the distinguished inventor Sir Bogley Banum III, that pioneer of pioneers who gave us our glowing city’s treasured heart, LUCIFER (Light Undulating Cable with Inbuilt Faecal Energy Recycler). Perhaps our much respected Sir Banum may one day be inclined to revise this most heart-rending of chastisements.
Meanwhile, Miss Frou Froü, a self-confessed lover of those monuments of the mind to which every devout Neumonian pays homage—those steadfast pillars: Science, Philosophy and Art—boldly challenges the obstacles which scepticism throws in the way of progress and the new: “Without infringing upon any moral law outlined by our great contemplators, past and present, do I propose to do what I do best; If any man, woman or child do have a Rational objection to the graceful tint of the rose, our beautiful cousin in Nature upon whom we model a pale comparison—in brass, resin, chiffon!—let them come forward this instant to argue the indecency as well as inefficiency of the colour pink!”
Over her passionate demeanour, our young lass also cuts quite an eccentric figure, flaunting ensembles which make old men pick their fat, shaggy brows off their eyelids and blink. The sympathy of her fellow Women also seems a distant dream: “Having just three days ago declared from my tower that ascetic minimalism will be the must-have look for the coming season, it is with much surprise that I observe that the sight of her and her garish creation haven’t yet reduced the entire populace to blinded roars of laughter!” says an indignant Lady Perdida Stiletto, the mastermind behind our charming ladies’ all-time favourite waist and rump manipulator, The AesthfixiateTM. Duchess Horatia Bumblefudd, our leading-lady in all matters to do with the appropriate etiquette and poise of our proud populace is not too impressed either: “Since when has a girl been allowed to speak without the aid of our very own miracle-worker, The Blabcrusher MMTM: we guarantee that it will whip any contemptuous young filly’s tongue straight into shape!”.
Oh harsh utterances indeed! Certainly, our heroine’s flash of blood-red stocking under tiers of prismatic silk ribbons may be perceived as brash, but so be it! This journalist must admit that the sight of a powder-puffed visage, a rouged fawn sporting a head of pearl-pinned hair is ten-fold more intoxicating than a black-cat spinster in her skeletal emaciation!
Miss Frou Froü offers me some light musical entertainment designed to drown out the sound of the workmen who loyally clink and hammer out her latest designs against the grassy background of our meeting. Blindly lowering the beak of a mechanical song-bird mounted upon a high head of dark curls, she causes the precious little gramophone invisibly nestled beneath them to play a vivid tune. This I at once recognise as the melodious mastery of the recently executed Francisco Martyr de Vellario. “What exquisite taste indeed!” I exclaim, only to draw a solitary tear from my kind lady’s fluttering eye, oaf that I am! “Oh, Mr. Reclick, never you mind my foolish sentimentality, though I hope you will excuse the pangs of a friend’s heart wrenched from its home!” Clutching in her little ivory fist an ample Rose-shaped boutonnière, from which there drapes a Rupunzel mass of bows and jewels, she ambles limply to a set of three oval portraits worked in the most delicate oils. Each subject bears an identical flower upon their noble breast.
Dear readers, these faces the artist has captured in a gauzy mist as distant as the memory of their models must now be to this fair creature who so piques our curiosity. For you see, our dear Miss Frou Froü confesses to an undeserving confidant that her heart aches at the fate of her three most bosom companions! “The untimely death of the radiant Francisco, torn from the love of his mistresses, as well as my loyal friendship! ‘Tis horrible Mr. Reclick, a crime beyond Reason!”, whimpers she. Those three regal faces, my tender readers, they are the faces of wasted luminescence. For who in this city has not heard of the exile of the beautiful pair of avant-garde milliners and dressmakers, Miss Serendipity Prima and Miss Tuscata Arioloma? And what of the execution of their mutual lover and friend, de Vellario, a musical genius doomed by the dullness of a critic who disfavours the intrusion of emotion into technique?
Our lady has now regained a stoic composure, and with hand to the blossom upon her heart, she looks out to the industrial burning and churning of our beautiful city, the smog of business and duty mingling with the pinkness of their natural counterparts in the setting sky: “I now fear my own cruel fate at the hands of my friend’s enemies” says she with quiet grace, “Though I would rather be executed this instant!—Amidst pink fog and satin bows!—Than live another day under the grey chugging of a world bound by practicality alone!” I could have sworn that only a moment ago her stockings bore a shade of scarlet red, though they now appear a clear and resolute sky blue.
Dare I say, let them have Pink! Sir Banum, Lady Stiletto, Duchess Bumblefudd, let them have Frou Froü! For in my lady’s house, there is Reason, there is Science, there is Art, but above all, there is Love for all three!
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