Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Imaginary Investigative Undercover Review: Saint Manthing’s College for Living Statues

A few weeks ago I was away for some time, neglecting my duties as provider of hilarious reviews with slightly satirical undertones. I did not explain why you were not able to read any new material over that time, but now I can reveal my whereabouts. I was working undercover.

I shall explain. A while ago I was given a very intriguing tip-off by an acquaintance (who shall remain nameless, due to a bureaucratic error at his christening). A new school had just opened in the area, and word on the street was that there was something definitely iffy about it. The place was Saint Manthing’s College for Living Statues, and I decided to join up and analyse it with my critical eye.

My critical eye is my left eye.

Saint Manthing’s is one of those artsy fartsy educational establishments where the teachers wear flared trousers and sit with their chairs the wrong way round so they can lean on the backs. It specialises in preparing people for the cutthroat world of living statue work, training idealistic young people to stand still for extended periods of time. Optional courses are available in tableau vivant, costume design and making sure punters don’t run off with your hard earned cash while you pretend to hold an invisible bow and arrow.

I chose the deliberately-blending-in pseudonym “Katherine auf der Corgan-Hannitty-Colmes” and put my name down for their most expensive course. Once the semester began, I spent my first day in Saint Manthing’s being taught how to buy the relevant course materials, an education that I found both enlightening and stimulating. Apparently I need to hand over the cash and then I get my change. Interesting.

Upon the second day, the course was more as I had expected. My class were shown how to suppress coughs, sneezes, erections (using the ‘Joan Rivers Method’), and the urge to blink. In the afternoon, we practised our new-found techniques by acting as models for the life drawing class in the college next door. Some of my fellow students were a little bashful about taking off their clothes, but being a lithe Adonis, I jumped at the chance for some legal public nudity. So far, all seemed well.

Homework for the evening was standing still for an hour. I cheated, and only did 45 minutes. Somehow, the teachers knew and I was marked down for it.

Day 2 of my Training, and my skills are coming along nicely. Note the excellent paint job I did on myself.

On the third day of my tutorage, everyone in my class was shown a special ‘lying down’ position. This lesson was particularly memorable in that it marked the first time we were given props; most of us were handed rifles or guns of some sort, and the tips on handling the weapon authentically were invaluable. We were told that this pose was very popular in Eastern European Living Statue Festivals, and that this would be where we’d be making a lot of our money. So far, so good. The training was exceptional, and nothing suspicious had occurred at all. I was beginning to think my friend had given me some duff information.

For another week, our classes were inoffensive enough, with lessons in art history, balancing on one leg and target practice. We were taught meditation and breathing control, both of which are essential to being a good living statue. I must add a moment of personal pride here: I came in top of my class in a game called ‘Spot the Enemy Combatant’, which was a bit like “Where’s Wally?” (or, as people in the former colonies know it, “Where’s Waldo?”), but with camouflage gear. Things were going well.

Later in the month we had a careers fair, which also had nothing to arouse my suspicions. I spoke to unoriginal contemporary artists who were looking to hire living statues for exhibitions that would “subvert the traditional view of sculpture as a static, inert medium”. There were also hidden camera TV shows that were looking for living statues that could surprise old ladies who happened to be walking by. As well as these people, the fair had representatives from circuses, arts fairs, the marines and busking festivals. I got some good contacts here, should my imaginary reviewing stop paying the bills!

And so, after a month of training to be a living statue at Saint Manthing’s College, I have to say that this is a wonderful establishment with a top-class pedigree in preparing ordinary people for the lucrative and rewarding career of being a living statue. I’ve met some interesting people and made lots of new friends, from the other students to the staff, like Ms. Schnauzer and Commander Lewis.

To top all this off, I’ve been selected to take part in a student exchange, which starts tomorrow! So you may not hear from me for a while, as I’ll be putting all my ‘remaining incredibly still’ skills to the test in Iraq! They’ve even given me a commemorative rifle to thank me for my participation! They tell me that most of my time in Iraq will be spent lying down, which I can hardly complain about. How’s that for an ideal job, folks?

In summary, then, Saint Manthing’s College for Living Statues (co-owned by the American Military) is highly recommended!

Day 5: I am ready for my Living Statue assignment in Iraq.


Dr Zibbs said...

That's funny - I was undercover as well. Didn't the food suck? Not the taste, just the color. EVERYTHING was beige. Except the jello of course which was a fire engine red.

Falwless said...

JUST BE CAREFUL! I heard there are large desert spiders in Iraq that can really sting!!!!

Mo said...

Wait...hand over the cash and then get your change? You Canuks and your wacky ways...

katrocket said...

Living statues really and truly annoy me... all shady and deceptive, occasionally dressed like Elvis, picking on ya when you walk by them. WTF, dude? Do I look like a tourist to you?

They're almost as bad as those old-skool French mimes. Mon dieu! Je suis trapped in zee box!

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Dr Z: Wait, were you the guy who kept making fart jokes whenever the profs were talking? How was Statue College detention?

Fal: Thanks for the warning, but part of the training we received at St. Manthing's helped us to overcome fear of all desert creatures.

Mo: I know. Crazy. You've no idea how long I've been doing it wrong.

Kat: Yeah, mimes are awful. I hear that when Marcel Marceau died last year France had a minute's loud noise in his honour.

Anonymous said...

Make sure to take pictures and wear sunscreen. A bad sunburn can kill you.

That wasn't you at the mall this weekend sneaking in a practice was it? White shorts - towel around the neck?