Friday, February 6, 2009

Saucy exhibition draws to a close

An exhibition of cheeky postcards was available for the last time at Bournemouth's Russell-Cotes Art Gallery on Sunday.

The collection of Bamforth postcards (Secrets of Saucy Seaside Postcards) were exhibited there for three months, but crowds of people still visited on the last day.

There were people of different ages and nationalities laughing and giggling in front of the postcards.

Bamforth comics used to deal with taboo subjects, anything that was a bit embarrassing. Bodily functions, being naked and, of course, sexual relationships were favourite topics.

This explains the big notice on the wall saying: "Some of the pictures in this exhibition may be regarded as racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. We regret any offence this may cause. It should be noted that all the images were available to view in stationers and card shops across the country."

The cards feature fat ladies, down-trodden husbands, busty girls, with red-nosed men taking the lead. Next came drunken men, cheeky boys and goofy girls. They are essentially real people, but with certain aspects (bottoms, noses and bellies) exaggerated.

Like the cast, the scenes are essentially realistic and well-observed. Setting jokes in the bingo hall, barber shop and bar room gives them an intimacy and realism that makes the humour even funnier.

The whole point of many Bamforth jokes and comics was to be a bit shocking.

On one of the postcards, a woman says to the other who is in a very open swimming suit: "Heaven's - Are you trying to catch pneumonia?" And the answer is: "No darling I'm trying to catch a man!"

On another postcard it's written "Happy birthday to a man who can carry his drink" and there is a picture of a man going to the toilet with a glass of beer in his hand and a bottle in the back of his trousers.

There's also a postcard with a naked man and a woman in the bushes. It reads: "A nudist camp is where men and women get together to - Air their differences!!!"

It was also amusing to see a mother attempting to explain to her young son what all the cheeky postcards meant. For instance, a postcard with a picture of a woman on the sea shore, sitting on a tummy of a huge, fat, naked man said: "I'm writing this sitting on the front."

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