Tragedies of scale

the giant chicken The chicken-feeding lady and grossly out-of-scale chicken I found in a box of donated books brought to the Oxfam shop where I work, in their thoroughly pre-loved state. Being on a much smaller scale than most of her charges, she has a hard life, and this amorphous chicken is an especial problem.

a tender moment My buttock-firing motorcycle cop has a sensitive side, best brought out by the disco-camoflaged miniature dinosaur pen. Despite appearances he does not glow in the dark, and this and his size and his melancholy expression make him a rather sullen little dinosaur. He's a purchase from my local stationers, Honest Stationary, who often have neat toys.

that's a big rabbit ... The get-orf-my-land farmer came from a donation box at Oxfam. Here he's been startled by a Usagi finger puppet (a promotional item from a comics con). His dinosaurs look on in interest, wondering if they'll be eating rabbit tonight, while a giant little devil chortles at the potential for disaster (a Playmobil Trick or Treater). Just visible on the shelf below is the grin of my glow-in-the-dark wind-up super-deformed skeleton. The legs belong to a Kinder smurf.

best friends Talking Powerpuff Girl Buttercup and her best friend, a Mummies Alive! bad guy whose name escapes me. Yank on that arm Buttercup is clutching with her pathetic, fingerless hands and his eyes pop out on stalks, and the lower part of his face, his neck, and his shirt open up into a massive extendable jaw with teeth and tongue. Of course she likes him, he's gross and cool! And he quite likes the disquieting sense that he could easy fit inside her grossly swollen head. The purple cushion she's sitting on is a candle. I own lots of candles, but never burn any of them.

menaced by caterpillars! It can be a tough life, being a plastic dinosaur in my room, especially when your territory is the top of the cable box. It gets dusty, it's always buzzing with electricity, and those gigantic caterpillars are a positive menace. That's Xena's dagger he's pathetically trying to fend them off with. I wonder if she knows he's got it. Just visible at the bottom of the shot is the baleful beast of Bamburgh, souvenir of a very mysterious holiday.

caught by evolution In A Zed and Two Noughts, one of the mad twins says to the crazy guy who runs the zebra house (or is it to the Venus De Milo, who has arms?), "I found out what happened to dinosaurs. They grew up, got feathers, and took to the air. If you want to find dinosaurs today, you don't need to look any further than the chicken shed, or your egg-cup at breakfast. They turned into swans." Poor little red-eyed out-evolved Stegosaurus. Can dinosaurs cry?

out and about I wanted a doll I could pretend was me, so I looked through the dolls at the market until I found one with hair thick enough to cut off short, and took scissors to her, leaving her with short brown hair, with just a hint of a bald spot, and fat-suited her using an old cycling glove and elephant tape. The hooded top is hers (a Ken fashion) but the boots belong to Blue Cobra and the sunglasses are Action Man's. Her grinning flock dog is a sweet container full of tiny candy bones. Buttercup is also a sweet container (according to several of my male friends, the sweets taste like urinal cakes) though the snake just crawled on top of her head one day, curled up and stayed there. Buttercup can never share her sweets with me though; I'd never be able to fit them in the doll's mouth, even if it did open.

feeding rabbits Is it just my imagination, or have they got her cornered? Somehow I don't think the contents of her basket will placate these red-eyed monsters. They have the definite air of Night of the Lepus about them, and they are surely hungry for flesh, plastic flesh.

big slug! Not so much a tragedy of scale, more an unexpected benefit, this huge slug which is making a major snack for one of my Godzilla Babies. The Godzilla babies started the whole dinosaur thing. I bought them, one by one from the now near-mythical Cowley Road Market Hall (now long gone, just another bathroom shop) my impulse not to waste money (I was an unemployed artist at the time -- they cost 59p each) crumbling at the sight of their shiny heads and incomprehensible limbs. I made them into a nativity scene that winter, and very quickly came to see that they actually represented great value for money.

giant owls need gentle treatment The poor chicken feeding lady. Now she's having to feed tiny mice to gigantic owls. The toy owl was bought new (I may have mentioned my odd interest in owls?) even though I didn't like him that much. Except for the startled wings, which are in an excellent pose. He makes a great pawn for playing Cheapass Games, but she falls over too easily.

no, you can't take it home On second thoughts, take it home. It'll make an excellent pet, like anything you might find in the park, in the dark. Yes dear, you can call it Clarke. Of course I'll like this. I'll like this very much.

playmobil domestic Poor things. They want to be scary, but they're just tiny. Playmobil axe murderer (also available: executioner, cut-throat robber, devil, bandits (various) and my personal favourite, the wolf-pack and caribou play set) has had a falling out with the disco alien, who's getting all threatening with his hair dryer and curling tongs. Little Red Riding Hood has the real power, though: she has one of Hex's masks in her basket.

paparazzi · lurid stories · cover · epiphanies · friends · wall of toys · escape

Photographs by Jeremy Dennis unless otherwise stated