Hiya, so hell is here and it has a face, it's snarling at you, and it's floating outside of your window. Outside there was wind and rain, and now there is just an eerie, quiet darkness. Then this face rises up to meet you, huge and beaming, and there is a low growling sound coming out of it. The face edges nearer to you, and you feel fear but also you know you are safe behind the wall, behind the window, in your bed, and then—oh no—the face is getting closer: It's in your room, it's huge, it's enormous, it's bigger than space, it's bigger than the moon, hell is here:
What is the enormous, looming hell-face? we ask ourselves. And the answer is: It is a well-dressing-cum-Diana memorial put up this week in Chesterfield, England, which, as we have previously discussed, is where I am from.
Chesterfield has previously been notable for two things: having a church that is so shittily made it is remarkable even today and losing (not winning) an FA Cup semifinal 20 years ago. You see, now, how the large hellish face of Diana happened. That Chesterfield is built on ancient ley lines of crapiness, that every success comes from failure, and by extension, it cannot help but produce anything that isn't a shitty mess. This monster made of petals is the third-best thing the town has ever done.
Look deep into the eyes of the monster Diana and know that it is making this noise through its bared, rotting teeth: "Eeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeee—"
Volunteers made this, which we are supposed to use as an opportunity to excuse it.
No. Go through it in order: a hay-like hair plume the size of the rest of her head; the kind of haircut that seems designed to disguise a grapefruit-sized cyst, the Embarrassing Bodies of haircuts; teeth bared and wrapped in lurid pink lips; hundreds of teeth, thousands of teeth; a million chomping Diana teeth; two roses that seem to be scratched into a bench outside a bar; the memoriam "1997–2017," as if toasting to 20 years of her death; the eyes, the eyes; one eye tugged open and staring, as if the film clockwork Orange'd open with pincers; the other, lazy and rolling back, into Diana's bulbous monster skull.
It is, as well dressings traditionally are, made from natural materials—carnations, egg shells, cow parsley, leaves, and grass—which honestly just adds another sheen of mania to the whole affair. If you burnt this memorial, I am convinced devilish purple smoke would pour out of it, accompanied by the sound of screaming and the soft sound of a knife on flesh.
The council is mad that everyone thinks its rendering of Diana made from plants and cursed blood—Diana as a monster, Diana as a plate of ham—the council is mad everyone thinks the rendering of Diana snarling and unblinking is hilarious.
"The well dressing is produced by 14 volunteers using the ancient Derbyshire art of well dressing, which involves creating designs from flower petals and other natural materials," a spokesperson said in a statement. "All art is meant to be a talking point and that certainly seems to be the case with this year's design."
Do I take exception to having the definition of art explained to me by a faceless Chesterfield council representative? I do. "The well dressing is designed to attract visitors to the area, and if the publicity encourages more people to come and visit the market and local shops, then that can only be good for Chesterfield." I, for one, am planning a pilgrimage to the Diana memorial, to throw holy water on the dressing and sing sacred incantations, hoping my efforts will keep the cursed monster trapped in its petal prison rather than breaking out, huge and in need of vengeance, and laying waste to the country.
The Diana memorial stares into your soul and sees only darkness there. When you pass, you will pass into flames, not clouds.
A thing that happens when someone dies is that every action and reaction occurring in the wake of the death is marked against an invisible measuring stick known only as what they would have wanted. Sausages at the wake? It's what she would've wanted. Ashes compacted into a firework and shot out over the sea? It's what he would've wanted. Change out of your black mourning clothes into a tight shirt and pants for a night out on the town? He wouldn't have wanted us to wallow! It's what he would have wanted! Sell the house and all the valuables in it, plunging the funds into a single bet on a horse race? She wanted us to live, she didn't want us to mope! It's what she would've wanted! We lift the dead's skulls and rest them on our living laps and push words and wants into their mouths like gravel. Suing your own brother for more than half of the estate? He'll be up there, looking down on this, thinking: He's doing the right thing.
Consider the Chesterfield well-dressing Diana memorial. Stare into its rolled and unblinking eyes made out of parsley. The face, that's made out of leaves, eggs, and mud, looms close to yours. Eeeeeeeeee. We took nature and made it into something monstrous. And I know—deep in my heart—It's what she would've wanted.
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