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I now have my bundle of scratch cards back from Ludlow.

I am in a long term planning and preparation stages (it’s all taking ages) for my Bathe in Ignorance and Magna carta projects – am waiting on equipment and all sorts to get them further along, so I’m on a spontaneous working days yesterday and today and back to the nitty gritty details Thu and Fri.  Planned and spontaneous working I now am thinking ‘fast and slow art’ – fast for me being painting and slow being the projects that need many practical elements to come together to work, but that often come from those spontaneous sessions.

Started yesterday working on a 20x20cm wooden frame and now have moved on to working on an opened out cardboard box in circles, that then formed into a Loganberry, then sent me delving into my scratch cards – I was sure the UK National lottery had fruit themed ones, but no, it Bejewelled that looks a little like fruit machines.  Just now printing out fruit machine fruit images to work back into the loosely started painting.

Went on a family evening stroll last night and one of the images here shows the discarded scratch cards found in just 45minutes walking, it adds up to £27 and I found two scratch card designs I haven’t found before– the half a long strip ‘Million RICH’ with a black background and circle motiv in the centre, with wedge 7, 8 etc visible (likely a £10 card) and the purple and blue and pink £1 game store Cash match.

Once I started collecting scratch cards (few months ago), after simply putting them in the bin from outside my front door at first, I now see them whenever I go out, no matter what I’m up to.

The juicy vectoy images of fruit on fruit machines is iconic of small (yet repeated) loss on fruit machines and other starter gambling.  I try to avoid tv late at night, but when I do watch, I am horrified by the glamorous portrayal of online gambling as it is clearly very different to the actual experience.  I am drawn to scratch cards with the thought of the frame of mind people are in when scratching to see if they have won. They way the scratching away has been done in hope.  What, beyond or through the money, are they wanting and needing?

I’ll end with a poem by Martin Evans (poet taking part in The little museum of Ludlow) – his website :

Scratching the void

Three hundred million
Lucky Sevens printed.
Four foot wide rolls
tall as a company
a hundred and sixty strong.

John’s last pound
bought a number three from the shop
that had been two feet deep
on roll ninety one.

Outside, guarding,
a dog with its catch
hope fell to the pavement
with each fingernailed scratch
futile scrapings
to get at those numbers below.
An artwork of despair at
this milking parlour for
the hopeless.