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When Life is a Triangle


WHILE sitting in my beloved Falmouth the other day, people-watching to my heart’s content, I began reflecting on how round the British are - how spherical, globular and blob-like we have become over the generations, a by-product of prosperity and plenty.

Before you think I’m about to launch into a tiresome lecture on obesity, let me reassure you. As a 6ft 2in juggernaut weighing in at seventeen stone, with suggestions of a beer belly and a backside like a bull rhino, I’m in no position to lecture anyone on food intake. Bread and butter pudding with lashings of thick cream is my favourite dessert. That says it all.

No, my interest in body shape is strictly aesthetic. I’m fascinated by shape and colour per se, in much the same way a plumber is intrigued by pipe joints and stop-cocks.

That set me wondering what the world would be like if Nature had made us all triangular, with a three-sided torso, ditto arms and legs, and noses like miniature traffic cones. And what if all creatures had been built in a similar way?

With such thoughts throbbing inside my addled head, I set to work on this picture, which I’ve called Triangular Dog Walkers, an assemblage of three-sided people going about their wholly legitimate business without giving a second thought to their triangularity, a word I’m not even sure appears in the Oxford English Dictionary.

One of the great joys of retirement is that it gives one time to ponder such conundrums, like the implications of being triangular, oblong, pear-shaped or octagonal. Or whether life would be better as a bull walrus. Or what daily existence would be like if, like cats, we could jump nine times our own height from a standing start. What if we could hang on the wind like a herring gull, or negotiate a high wire like a baby squirrel?

I tell you what: all this harmless rumination and cogitation beats spending hours on end in management meetings. And if you can give visual expression to your thoughts, you have something to show for it at the end of the day.

Look out for Triangular Dog Walkers at my bicentenary retrospective in 2143. What do you mean, you can’t make it?


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©John Marquis, First Edition Press and Studio Books