The Elsewhere Necktie Archive II – The Trial

Invited by Matt Douglas to participate in an exhibition based on The Trial by Kafka. The book, I think, is about how difficult it is to step out of a mind-set put forward by a convincing majority. K, the protagonist, is accused of a crime but is never told what the crime was. Convinced of his own innocence, he feels that if he goes along with the accusers the truth will out he will  be cleared.  Though things go from bad to worse he continues to acquiesce to his accusers and to turn up whenever requested. From the penultimate scene in the book it becomes clear that in effect K is volunteering for the fate  in store for him and he goes quietly to his murder.

The venue for this exhibition, ‘The Trial’ was very suitably the old police station in the middle of Bristol. The scene was set by the entrance.

an atmospheric entrance to the show

Gold Standard made a re-appearance standing in for bureaucratic obfuscation and deliberate misleading. It blocked the doorway and promised entry where none was to be found

The way in

A promised entrance

Almost everyone went towards the light and had to return along the very narrow corridor to get into the exhibition space and the video, a panegyric to a cathedral of retailing.

Beyond, in a lit space, was my tie installation. Hanging from threads were twelve Zipper-ties. I wore a badge which read ‘Ask me about Zipper-ties’, so I will tell you about Zipper-ties:

The Zipper-Tie is a wonderful American invention, the tie part is functionally the glider of a zip. The zip’s ends are joined at the top making a loop which goes over the head.  The tie can then be pulled up to fit under the collar; to the gentle zzzz of the zipper teeth. Once positioned correctly, there is a catch which prevents the tie from coming loose.

Find out more about Zipper-ties at:

Reasons to buy a Zipper-tie:

§         Not many people know how easy life can be with a zipper tie

§         Five seconds to put on a zipper tie

§         Its strong and durable

§         It’s a time saver

§         It’s very neat

§         the size always appropriate to your neck

§         Perfect knot – every time

§         Perfect length – every time

§         The grace and finesse of a regular tie with the ease and convenience of a clip-on.

§         Everyone should have at least one zipper tie

§         If you wear a tie every day you HAVE to buy one today!

Grant Heaps (he of bow-tied elegance) alerted me to the Zipper-tie, recalling it from his youth, of course I had no idea what he was talking about,  but I found a single specimen after he had left Elsewhere on his train trip.

For K, the zipper-ties start off with wide open zippers inviting use and promising ease, efficiency and end to worry. With the zipper pulled up snugly around the neck, they proclaim sartorial confidence, smart appearance and constant perfection, but as the noose tightens horizons narrow, possibilities diminish, focus is blinkered and thought is constrained. The final tie, with a tiny loop, is ‘Garotte’. The tie was taken up freely and consciously,  it was worn with pride, but when it became a  limiting restraint  it was not rejected.

Joseph K and the Amazing Technicolor Necktie

The ties were drawn on paper from ties in the Elsewhere tie Archive, the date probably between the 1940s and 1970s.  The one on the extreme right is undoubtedly 1970s, a handsome, heavy silk Jacquard number, which judging by the amount of wear,  been someone’s favourite. The structure of these ties is based on that of the single Zipper-tie in the collection.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s