Have you ever heard, children, of the bad taste fairy? She lives in the far away kingdom of Kiruna.
Once upon a time she was employed by the local council, in the ‘Arts and Recreation’ department, where helping people’s dream come true was her speciality, and very good she was at it too. But with the cutbacks and everything she found that this year her funding had gone to the ‘Konstmuseet i Norr’ (‘The North’s Art Museum’) project instead. This left the bad taste fairy without a job and too much time on her hands.
According to its home page, ‘The North’s Art Museum’ doesn’t exist yet – rather like the rest of ‘the new Kiruna’ it’s just an idea in someone’s head, waiting for someone to agree to build it – so instead this art project ‘takes art to the viewer and creates a fluid structure that promotes new ways of viewing art’.
Mmm. The bad taste fairy decided she couldn’t sit around waiting for art to appear in a non-existent museum. There were lots of spaces in Kiruna, which sometimes, let’s be honest, looked a bit drab, and they needed something doing about them NOW.
‘I’ll wave my magic wand and create some fun new things for the town, and then they’ll realise what a useful fairy I am and give me my job back’.
So she set to work. First she flew down the big hill until she came to opposite ’68 degrees bed and breakfast’ and a nice open area of grass. There was a large rock sitting in the middle of the space. ‘Mmm,’ she thought, ‘That’s a bit dull. I’m sure I can do something with that’. And do something she did.
The raven flew overhead and surveyed her artwork. It looked to him like blood on the rocks, or maybe creeping spot disease, either way not somewhere he’d like to spend time, and so he flew on by.
(The thing about the bad taste fairy was that she didn’t know she had bad taste. If she’d stopped to think, just for a moment….. it was on her mother’s side, her mother’s father always wore very baggy trouser (good for concealing the tail) and could have been a troll. The troll gene might have been passed down the line. It wasn’t bad taste so much as different taste. The bad taste fairy thought she had an eye for what looked good, and she did. At least for what looked good to her.)
Next the bad taste fairy flew into the centre of town which she decided needed a bit of cheering up. She liked birds, but most of them on the ground were just too small to see, and she had an idea for something really charming for everyone to look at.
It’s a ‘giron’, the white bird that Kiruna takes its name from. Only it’s a giant version of a giron. When the raven flew over and saw the giron he thought he’d seen the ghost of his great grandfather raven (returned as a giant white bird spirit) and he flew off as fast as he could.
Then the bad taste fairy flew to the edge of the town, and thought she would build something bright and wonderful that could be seen from far away. She couldn’t decide whether it should be natural looking, or artificial looking, so she made it a bit of both. So here it is, ‘Totem’.
In fact the bad taste fairy slipped up a bit here. She wasn’t sure she liked it – even she thought it might have been in bad taste. Such bad taste in fact, that some local people (including me) think it’s really good. The raven flying overhead wasn’t keen though – no good place to perch and far too brightly coloured for him.
Worried she’d lost her touch she rushed back into town. In the town square, in the middle of the car park, she erected a tall metal structure which looked like a pylon gone wrong, or a rocket half built, or maybe a bit of junk piled high to look like a tower. She liked it, and here it was, right in the centre of town.
The raven looked down on the tower. It didn’t look like much to him, but – hang on a minute – maybe it had some value after all.
So now the raven lives at no. 1, Raven Towers.
The bad taste fairy still hasn’t got her job back in ‘Arts and Recreation’ but is wondering if she has a future in Housing. Kiruna needs some good ideas for housing and she might be the right fairy for the job.