Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Let's talk about Paloma Picasso.
   I know. That's just me. The way I process information. Anyway, I don't just make this stuff up. It's true that I do make stuff up, but all kinds of source material is swirling around.
   There are semi-deliberate decisions. Often I find I make a choice based on three or four sources hanging out as part of some random coincidence.
   Flying in loose formation.
   I just note coincidence and plan accordingly.


One of Picasso's many children, Paloma is the character most people remember out of that crowd.
   She's one-point-five of those types with a sense of inherited fame hanging around her - that's neither one thing nor the other.
   Paloma is remembered for something that she always does, except when she doesn't.
   And though that has nothing to do with me, it's one of those scraps of info that I filed away and made use of in another area entirely.
   Yes, Paloma is known as Picasso's daughter. But there's something else she is really really known for.

   She doesn't always wear lipstick. I guess she could actually sleep in it, but, ew, poor pillows. If she uses pillows.
   Okay. She doesn't always wear the slap. But she's known for the particular shade of red when she does slip into lipstick. That red shade, according to what I heard, is always the same.

   If you dig deeper into that story it's not true, of course. She tried many red lipsticks, and went for fire-engine red as much as possible.
   The brand changed. And the shade varied. But the lipstick was red.
   Paloma tried different shades until she came up with her own. What else to call it, but Mon Rouge. These are the things I heard about Paloma Picasso.

   She wore specific fire-engine red in-your-face lipstick - which is the point, we must suppose.
   Picasso eventually wore one shade of red - her own product - and much of the marketability came from the designer's making use of t
hat lipstick and no other.
   You could argue that everything manufactured is of limited edition...
   Earth milk from this planet's moo-cows is a limited product. Once the planet dies, that's probably it for moo-cow products. Unless we export ourselves to other worlds.

   But the milk just won't be the same, will it? Even moo-cows that evolve on far-flung worlds won't produce our stuff. It could be chemically similar, but humans are built to complain about how things just aren't the same.
    Everything is of limited edition.
   And so it was, is, with Paloma's specific red lipstick. It's not manufactured now. Once she started wearing one specific shade of lipstick, designed by her own mind, she stuck with it.

   What does she do, now? She has her own private stock. As long as that lasts, and as long as she lasts, she'll wear the same shade of lipstick.
   It's red.
   I kept this in mind. No, I don't wear red lipstick - or any other kind - in case you were about to laugh as you asked.


Paloma did her own thing.
   I took that lesson in lipstick and applied it to my presence on book covers. Let's stick with red and talk about periods. If you mention periods to me, you provide menstrual imagery.

   Blood. Life-cycle. Red. However, your decidedly American origin indicates you might be discussing full stops.
   These handy dots at the end of sentences.
   I can't say how I jumped from Paloma Picasso's lipstick to full stops. 
The story stayed with me, and I eventually applied some essence of it to thoughts on book covers.
   What do I always do on my book covers? I use full stops. Because full stops aren't generally used on book covers.

   This is a deliberate design decision, at odds with the world of books. And it's all Paloma's fault.
   Though I must take the blame.
   You'll see the punctuation on a book by E.L. Doctorow, L. Frank Baum, or Dorothy L. Sayers. That's about it as far as usage goes. I wanted to do my own thing.

   A Paloma lipstick thing. So I experimented and settled on this business with the full stops.
   For consistency, I apply the full stop to author name and to book title - whether the book title is a complete sentence or not.


I want this Paloma Picasso moment on my book covers. My demands aren't that outrageous. Full stops with everything, courtesy Paloma Picasso's lips.



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