Dora obituary

This is the obituary from The Times of 12th January 2002. It’s not credited, but I’m sure it’s written by Andy Martin

Here’s what the photographer Brassaï says about graffittists who carve their names in stone: “they want to save themselves from the wreckage […] Man holds fast to ‘permanent’ materials as though to a life buoy.”

Here’s what Martin says about surfer Mickey Dora: “With an essentially religious mentality, he was haunted by a deep sense of paradise lost, and looked forward to some catastrophic apocalypse restoring the original purity. Meanwhile, he continued to ride his own miniature version of the Ark, on which only he would be saved.”

And here is a stamp issued by the US Postal Service in 2001, as part of the series celebrating American Illustrators (self-adhesive! 125 million stamps printed). It’s one of Rockwell Kent’s illustrations for the 1930 edition of Moby-Dick.  Though in this edition, this image is printed within chp 105, discussing ‘Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish? – Will He Perish?’, it’s an image of a boat becoming wreckage. There is one member of the crew, at the end of the book, who will find something among the wreckage to cling on to: Ishmael uses Queequeg’s hand-carved coffin as a surfboard, to take him safely towards shore.