"BAGS I PUT UP THE HOLLY "
"MRS COCO BECKONING"
"IT WAS DELICIOUS AND THEY ALL HAD SECOND HELPINGS."
"I WISH WE HAD BROUGHT BRUCE WITH US."
Each book measures 17 x 22cms. If I profess admiration for this series you will think I am being arch or ironical. Everything about these books is poised, posed and utterly calculated. Every gesture is depicted at the peak, the apogée of its trajectory.
"Hold it there please,"said the nice photographer. "Don't move please for an eternity..."
Composition, pattern and location are not only pondered but implemented.
No messing about.
The stories by Elsie Harris are run of the mill but written with every joint rigid and every screw tightened. The series depicts the world of my childhood, as my parents intended but never achieved. Look at the size of the house, the lustrous colour of the food, the utter cleanliness of the work-a-day life. The three cases appear off the train, then reappear magically on the opposite page as if they have eaten the travellers.
If I were completely candid I would stress how much I enjoyed the very banality of the life revealed. A life smooth, contained and just around the corner from disaster (Suez, Korea, Bulganin and Kruschev).