In the latest episode of our Lovesourced series about image-makers seeking crowdfunding, Alex Boniface talks to the hapless ‘Mr Flibble’ about his forthcoming book ‘I Drink Lead Paint;’ a humorous blend of absurdity, intrigue and extensive photo-manipulation.
Hi Mr. Flibble, how are you today?
Mr Flibble: I’m feeling feisty! I have the most splendidly radiant glow in my left nostril. It’s making breathing feel a bit like licking lemons, but that’s ok because it’s number 46 on my list of favourite things.
Oh, well that’s good news. So, you’re making a book! Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Mr Flibble: I once read a letter that said that people like books. Apparently books can make people more clever and I want my book to make people more clever so they’re more clever. My book is going to be lavishly appointed with pictures of me and stories of my adventures. So many stories and so many pictures. My book won’t make people more clever like every other book so it’ll be unique and better. It’s called “I Drink Lead Paint” and it’ll be deliriously splendid.
Dominick Reed, We can make you better…
Drinking lead paint doesn’t sound like a great idea to us, but who are we to tell you otherwise?! What’s your favourite type?
Mr Flibble: It takes years to develop a stomach micro-climate like mine, so you’ll be forgiven if you’re first experience of drinking lead paint sends you on an adventure to the finest wards of your local hospital. It took 17 years of daily drinking to even get it a few inches down my throat, but I’m well known for persevering at perseverance. I’m heartily glad I did, because now, I can imbibe the finest paints of the world. It’s impossible to have a favourite, but I once got to lick the freshly coated walls of the 2nd floor cloakroom in London City Council’s head office. That was back in ’73, but I remember it like it was tomorrow.
How are your toenails by the way? Still singing Elvis songs?
Mr Flibble: Sporadically. And usually at the most inappropriate times. I don’t even own any blue suede shoes.
Who is the mysteriously unseen Matron?
Dominick Reed, We are but flesh and blood…
Mr Flibble: No mind can comprehend her very girth, or the way the air fizzles as she wafts past you. She is my earth, wind and fire. She’s my elongated arm on cold dark nights – my protector from concrete. She’s all that and so much more, that I couldn’t possibly hope to describe her here. I’m sure she’ll feature more in my most splendid book.
You said that an angry horde of telepathic iguanas had discovered the world’s last remaining stock of vintage lead paint and held you to ransom. How was that experience, and have you managed to secure any more of your liquid love? We don’t want to see Mr Flibble die a sad and lonely lead-deprived death!
Mr Flibble: Never try to second guess a telepathic iguana, I say. Fortunately I’m a far more wily creature than they, which is why I adopted a technique of third guessing. I’d ask myself what I should do three times and just go with the third answer without further thought. Sure, I lost a few teeth and my life-long collection of marzipan, but when the iguanas received the eviction “letter” from the “Royal high emissary of telepathology” they “panicked” and ran for their puny lives. Let’s just say they won’t be troubling me any time this week. Fools.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating such a smorgasbord of humour and oddity?
Mr Flibble: It’s a little known fact that Flibble’s are excellent singers. I’ve sang with all the greats of this world and have even stood in for Kylie when she had to use the facilities (mid-recording) during her seminal “I should be so lucky”. If you listen again, 4th verse in, it’s actually me singing the second ‘lucky’. Yesiree. Still yet to receive the royalty payments. I think there’s been a mix up somewhere. Mostly though, I design things and some people even call me “Head of Creative”.
How would you describe your style as an image-maker?
Dominick Reed, The Worry
Mr Flibble: If you lived where I do, I suspect you’d have exactly the same style. Matron likes to keep the place in order but I’m allowed free-reign of the cavernous wards of sector G19. There, the light and textures of the walls are dark and mysterious and I’m free to roam and experience their delights. I have many peculiar adventures which make me squeal with delight and the pictures I take there embody this. People have often said I worry their synaptic neurons with a darkness and fear for my wellbeing, but I’m perpetually buoyant and I hope that shows between the darker edges of my pictures.
Do you have any photography heroes who you’ve taken inspiration from?
Mr Flibble: I don’t get out much and Matron only tends to let me see images from the outside world every third Wednesday. I admire very much others who have set about the challenge of daily out-pourings of their soul. I’ve enjoyed greatly the pictures from Boy Wonder and Dracorubio. Brooke Shaden and Miss Aniela are thoroughly splendid too.
You undertook a picture a day project for two years, how did you find the experience and has this helped with crowd-funding your book?
Mr Flibble: It’s a challenge, and a gruelling one at that. There were many days where I’d be busy scrubbing Matron’s machinery and finding the time and enthusiasm was difficult. But it was an experience that taught me many things – foremost about where to seek inspiration for new adventures. I know, because they keep sending me little electronic messages, that there are a great many people who have followed my antics, many of whom have since gone on to support my book. It’s all very exciting.
You are clearly a master of image-manipulation. What is your background in this?
Dominick Reed, The mysterious case of the mysterious case
Mr Flibble: I once spent three long days locked in a cell with a cucumber, a copy of how to cheat at Photoshop and 15 gerbils that had learnt to dance to Bohemian Rhapsody. The rest, as they say, is history. Though history fails to mention the years I spent as a designer of curious bits of software for curiously curious people.
What can we expect from the completed book?
Mr Flibble: It’s going to have pages, and pictures and pages and numbers and definitely words and pictures and lead paint and Matron and a cover and pictures. It’ll definitely be absurd, but I hope you’ll find the pictures make you laugh, cringe, boggle and dribble in equally balanced measures. Intense and bewildering, feisty and fraught, curious and splendid. Different.
Finally, anything you’d like to add?
Mr Flibble: Matron always taught me never to answer the 13th question. Never.
Mr Flibble is the brainchild and alter-ego of mystery man Dominick Reed, a keen amateur photographer and Senior User Experience Designer based in Cambridge.
To find out more about I Drink Lead Paint, visit Mr Flibble’s Kickstarter page.
Mr Flibble is also on Flickr, Twitter and Facebook.