Thursday, 3 November 2011

Touching the Boss

Edwardian postcards can be very odd sometimes. I'll gloss over what our modern minds may make of this one. (I'm sure you don't need my help.) 'Touching' here means to touch for money, or ask to borrow. The man is meant to be dead drunk, (despite looking actually dead), and the woman pinching money from his pocket is... who? His wife, in her nightie? His maid? Not sure if 'boss' is ironic or literal.

Sorry for the heavy-handed explanation, but the thing is that we so often perceive our ancestors to be repressed, uptight and sentimental, and quite often the truth is anything but. This is down-to-earth, cynical humour, and it seems extraordinary now, to think of all the photography studios thinking up these comic ideas, staging them and putting them on postcards. The turnaround on these things was quite quick too, so it's not too fanciful to compare it to the likes of YouTube today. And like YouTube, the results were very mixed!

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