Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Grace Jones the tribute series - Tro tro to Lego

There is a grape-ice cream purple tro-tro** that whizzes around Accra on a daily basis, transporting it’s cramped passengers, sardine-tin style, from here to there. On the grimy back window, in bold white stick-on, it says: GRACE JONES.

I love this for so many reasons. As I caught a glimpse of it yesterday at a crowded round-a-bout, I grinned at the randomness that is my experience of Ghana. So many things are transported across cultures and time periods, that their significance is lost or warped to such a degree, it gains a new meaning altogether... Last week I saw a refuse disposal truck called ‘Annie Lennox’, but I digress.

Grace Jones was an icon to me in the 80’s, she represented a bold, defiant, androgenous beauty that spat in the face of the Farah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs ideal that we were fed in the media. Guys were somehow acceptable as the effeminate lace and make up wearing crooners, but women were largely in their box. Grace Jones sang off the wall music, and she was strikingly gorgeous in a scary, angular, aggressive way. I loved her.

So every time I see that old mini bus - so many years later, so far away, in such a different context, it makes me smile. I have to wonder what the driver’s inspiration was, in taking the time to paste those decals up there. I guess he thinks Grace is pretty cool too.

This all brought my mind back to Grace and her amazing, iconic album covers, which I looked up on Google in that nostalgic way. Her one album, Island Life, photographed and engineered by her partner Jean-Paul Goude, was my favourite. What I found, I thought worth sharing. It seems many others were so taken by the image, that they decided to do their own takes… with some um, interesting results ☺ Enjoy!

THE ORIGINAL - GRACE IS STRIKING WITH HER SINEWY DARK CHOCOLATE SHINING SKIN AND IMPOSSIBLY ELONGATED POSE. SHE IS ARTISTIC FORM. IT'S DEFINITELY A MEMORABLE COVER.



AND THEN CAME THE COPY CATS. I THINK THE FIRST TWO WERE ATTEMPTING THIS TO SHOW OFF THEIR FIT BODIES? BUT IT ALL JUST FALLS FLAT. THEY ARE NOT PULLING OFF THE ARTISTIC FORM...





THESE TWO... HAHAHAHA! GOTTA LOVE'EM



THIS ONE IS FROM A REMIX ALBUM CALLED SELFISH BY HARD TON



THEN THERE ARE THE WTF TYPE ENTRIES....



AND THOSE WHO TOOK IT ALL QUITE SERIOUSLY AND IMMORTALIZED THE GRACEFUL FORM IN METAL SCULPTURE...



AND THE BEST OF ALL... GRACE JONES AS LEGO!!!



Ok, I admit it... strange things amuse me.

**tro-tro - Ghana's answer to the non-existent public transport system. Private (usually old and rattling) minibuses that are used on set routes around the cities and towns, seating capacity is 12, passengers are usually between 15 to 25, plus chickens, sometimes goats... anything goes :-)
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57 comments:

Bob said...

Two small comments:

1. On randomness - I have seen a few shops in Ghana and I believe one tro-tro displaying the Confederate flag....and I really hope it was out of ignorance!

2. You might explain the origin of the term tro-tro to your overseas readers. It's an acronym - Totally Rusted Obstacle.

Janet said...

hahaha I'd love a pic of your Ghanaian GRACE JONES.

I adore the lego one most :-)

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The pale observer said...

Thanks for commenting Bob and Janet. Bob - I take it you know all about tro-tros??

Bob said...

Holli....I may not know ALL about tro-tros, but I do know that a flashing light on the back of a tro-tro does not indicate an impending lane change or turn; it is to warn you in advance from which side of the vehicle the next part will fall off.

The pale observer said...

Hey Bob - you DO know all about tro-tros! :)

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