Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Objective meaning

I was ill the other day. Not for long; not very dramatically. But because I'm a man I had to spend about twelve hours under the duvet, drifting in and out of my favourite form of entertainment when unwell, the radio. Don't get me wrong: I listen when I'm well too. But not half as often or as long as when I'm not feeling up to much. It makes sense, when you think about it. Books demand too much concentration; TV means sitting up in bed; while the dulcet tones of the radio allow you to drift in and out of a world of fascinating facts and have all your thinking done for you.

Yesterday, as luck would have it (and I'm only saying that now I'm back in the land of the living) I caught the start of a wonderful new BBC series, A History of the World. Running in partnership with the British Museum, this epic series takes 100 (well, 99) of the British Museum's most important objects and tells the story of human history through each one. A sort of every-picture-tells-a-story but with artefacts.

Why only 99? Well, they're leaving the best 'til last.... If a flint axe represents a thousand years of stone-age engineering, and a Cuneiform tablet marks the birth of literature, what single object best represents our age? You can nominate your choice, just as you can take part in the project at museums up and down the country.
They've made the whole thing as interactive as possible. But what I was thinking as I groaned my way through the programme yesterday (I'm a man; I don't do suffering!) was this. There's something missing. Although it's a new approach to history, although each object tells a different story and although the narrative they're creating may be different to that of kings, rulers, priests and princes there are a thousand objects that say nothing about history on the wider canvass but everything about our own, personal life-story: our history.

So, in the absence of being invited to submit your favourite personal artefact to the British Museum or having it featured on the BBC, I'm going to expand the special object project. Here's the idea: you pick a single object (or more, if you want) that tells the story of you or your family in some way. It can be anything: a ring, a piece of clothing, an old teddy; anything as long as it says something special about you or your family. You write about it, post a picture, tell the story, anything.

I'm calling it 'My Object Meme' or the MOM-meme for short. And I'm going to tag a few people just to get it going. But please don't wait to be tagged if you want to join in. You never know, we might even get 100 objects of our own to rival the beebs choice, and if we do I'll do an Erica (Littlemummy) and produce a video montage of each one. So, to start the ball rolling I'm tagging:


And in case you think I'm cheating, I'm posting mine on Thursday.

Happy rummaging!

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