In much the same mode as ‘Fragrant Flowers’ was a magazine I was working on at this time. Its name was ‘Sic’.
‘WAKE UP AND DREAM!
‘Wishing to impart to art and life the rapture of a dream we have searched for the surprising through all the galleries and all the history books, searched for precedent to our newly advocated
‘LIFE OF WAKING DREAM
‘Dreams charm us by their strange non-reason, their setting side by side of objects quite incredible, by their surprise. It is for the surprising therefore that we search.’
This element of surprise was to be found, according to Sic, in a picture by de Chirico of trees sprouting incredibly from a bedroom floor, in Dali’s ‘Sodomy between a Skull and a Grand Piano’, in Lautreamont’s ‘Les Chants de Maldoror’, and in the ‘metaphysical shudders’ of Andrew Marvel.
‘Such surprises move us,’ the manifesto continued, ‘as deeply as beauty, and some of them, AS LONG ..... Not all surprise is lasting, but it is always diverting. In its briefest form it makes us laugh, for surprise is the Mother of Humour .....
‘Then let us inaugurate the cult of more
SURPRISE IN ART AND LIFE’
There follows a list of the ‘cults’ we wished to inaugurate;
‘... A smile more enigmatic than that of Mona Lisa ...
... Words more wonderful than those which Mallarme created ...
... Pigments more bright than those which Dufy used ...
... Lives more wonderful than that of Tamburlaine ...
... Machines more wonderful than that of Wahlstrom ...
... Sins more monstrous than those of Lautreamont ...’
The manifesto continued;
‘ALL THESE SHALL BE MATERIALS FOR OUR NEW
SURPRISING ART AND LIFE ...
MUSIC which we mention last contains
LESS SURPRISE THAN THE OTHER ARTS
‘True, Haydn’s most famous work is his Surprise Symphony, but our dreams are of more fantastic things.
Of the brutal concubinage of trombone and harmonium.
The swoop of the bicycle pump joined to the horror of a bassoon.
‘SIC will give you art in which SURPRISE, not beauty, MOVES YOU and CHAMPIONS THOSE WHO LEAD SURPRISING LIVES.’
There then followed some tips for those who would like to make their lives more surprising;
Surprising place just to have come from:
Surprising person to be related to:
The Emperor Heliogabalus
Surprising thing to do:
Perform the Hallelujah Chorus on two flutes
Surprising person to have at a party:
The thinnest man in Spain
Surprising thing to forget:
What B flat sounds like on the tromba marina
Surprising thing to find up an elm tree:
Judged by this manifesto, I believe ‘Sic’ could have been quite lively. However, so far as my memory reveals, not a single number ever appeared.
Jeremy Sandford FanClub Archives
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