FEBRUARY - Is this really love or just a game?

Here's a reminder: we have a preoccupation with the past. We study it, we celebrate it, we make sweet love to it. And not just the Freddy flicks and Froot Loops - we have our own personal past that we embrace & idealize & learn from. And in our lusting and learn-ding, we're able to pontificate & conceptualize & recognize patterns and threads -- and one pattern we've been able to unfold is this: February bites.

This typically has very little to do with the invasive holiday, the mediocre movie theater options, or seasonal depression. All superstition aside, February has, for decades, statistically brought us death and destruction - and every time we try to attribute it to superstition, circumstances prove us wrong. But to reiterate: we embrace and idealize; we find beauty in the chaos. There's an exquisite (though pointed) irony in the contrast of red hearts and gray skies, as well as a familiar comfort in the unity of love and sorrow. After all, any month that opens the door to festive candy and cardboard wall decorations is gonna continually get a second chance from us (and third, and fourth, and on and on...). In other words, we're gonna make the most of it...

Which brings us to the point of this sob story: our "theme" for the coming month. And that theme is: Games!

"Games?" you may ask without any specific inflection. Yes, games. Y'know: humanity's greatest distraction, notorious killer of time. The word itself carries a different concept for everyone: Video games? Board games? Sports? Role playing? Cards? Trivia? Well, we'll go ahead and validate your first reaction with a noncommittal 'yes' to all. There'll certainly be some obvious endeavors during the month, but there should be some surprises that we don't wanna spoil. 

Rest assured, however dumb this sounds, we will predictably showcase the artistic merits of our choices. But all pretentious stuff aside, the whole point is that we are going to enjoy ourselves this month, and you're gonna goddamn join in the fun.

- p&j

P.S. We had numerous options for the banner image for this update. In fact, the choice was so hard that we're just gonna go ahead and give you the rest of 'em...



 So what's the deal with gum? It's not a food, etc. When you think about it, it's really just a drug - a delivery system for sugar... But a lot of them are 'sugarless.' Is it the chewing? The 'mouth feel?' The packaging? Personally, I've never really done any drugs -- and the reason could've very well been because they didn't come with colorful wrappers or jovial mascots. But, when I was young, gum (and candy) had these things, and these are a few of my favorite things.

I hate when I hafta say "it's not like it used to be," but it's not like it used to be. One of the more popular brands right now is 5 Gum, which is... I don't really know what to say about that. It looks like candy directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. But, once again, for the bulk of the 20th century, bubblegum was "bubblegum" - a concept we've discussed very recently. And take note as to where that term comes from: loud, colorful, flavorful, fleeting excitement is what spurted this expression, and while we may be left with that very specific form of music & film, the source material has been sorely neglected.

But okay, let's back off a second. This has already gotten way too pretentious for what this is supposed to be -- I'm trying to accentuate the simple fact that gum and candy used to be packaged in museum-worthy designs of shapes and colors that could slice through your eyes and brains. I have a "sweet tooth," yeah, but my eyes are my favorite body part, and they were soaking up a world of fruit-flavored saturation in every sense. If I could describe the kid-oriented atmosphere of my formative years, it would be inundated with artwork that had more texture and aroma than the sucrose they were selling. And that made more of an impact on me than the straightforward side effect of their gooey insides. 

Art history is full of luscious depictions of of well-lit fruit, and it reached a sorta pinnacle in the last moments of the 20th century. And I was there. And it impacted and shaped me in ways that I can no longer clearly define in words, but I can feel it. Fortunately, I have this collection of handicrafts from when I was about 10 or 11 that was a direct result of my captivation: a made-up candy company that allowed me to riff on the visual and literal poetry of the Willy Wonka wonderland in which I grew up. It was an ongoing project: each page was produced months after the previous one as I scrutinized the period in which I was living as much as I look back on it now. I knew what I had, and I knew it wouldn't last - so I documented it in the best way I knew how.

From... let's say ca. 1994, here's my entire product line for The Sweet Tooth Candy Co. (patent pending)

- Paul

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