Sunday, January 30, 2011

The flu, Australian Criminals and Morgan le Fay....

I've been down with the flu that past two days, and I'm still not quite right yet. But slowly, my chest has stopped burning, and that counts for something.

Recently, on the Etsy blog, a posting by Etsy member chaps676 brought forth some forgotten photos from the Sydney Police Museum. (You can read all of chaps676's blog posting here.) The photos feature men and women who'd had some run-in with the Sydney police force and were photographed and, very likely, fingerprinted.

The photo that I found to be the most arresting was that of Fay Watson, apparently snapped on March 26, 1928. There she is in her low-waisted, voile flapper dress, bobbed hair, long-strand knotted pearls, big fabric flower pin, and those heels--dare I say red?...could they be red? We'll never know, I guess, since the photo is in black and white--whose thin straps wrap around the ankles with more fuss than a Roman sandle. But it's her face that is most arresting (pun not intended). She's a woman with a story, sort of like Marlene Dietrich. But it's funny that, in none of the pictures, does she look directly at the camera. She consistently casts her eyes skyward in a gesture plucked directly from silent films or perhaps a publicity still...."Look to the sky, darlings!" I am assuming that the reason Ms. Watson is sitting for the portrait is because she's been had up for prostitution. Or perhaps she's been publicly drunk, but I suspect the former is the reason.
I Am Morgan le Fay

I think her name, "Fay", is so perfect for her particular look. I, too, once had an Aunt Fay, who was apparently both beautiful and wild, and after she ran at my uncle with a knife, was no longer welcome in the family. Or so the story goes. She was gone before I was born. Another woman had taken her place. Also, the word "fey" means behaving in a wild and unnatural way due to supernatural forces...or according to Scottish tradition, it can also mean the supernatural ability to make prophecies (Think of the sorceress Morgan Le Fay, Arthur's half sister). The French expression, la fée, also means fairy, the loose expression for anything supernatural. Morgan le Fay is a fascinating figure, who is perhaps unfairly vilified by later medieval literature.

So here is an image of a Australian woman who might not be entirely human, but maybe a little fey. Doesn't it look that way?

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