For some time now, illustrator, former in-house Facebook creative and now writer Jez Burrows has been creating a bank of brilliant stories created entirely from strange explanatory sentences in the dictionary. For example, he explains, look up the word “murder” in the dictionary and you’ll get an explanation of the word and this sentence: “somebody tried to murder Joe”.
“Who tried to kill Joe? Is Joe okay? Did Joe possibly have it coming?” asks Jez. “Who knows. All we know is that Joe exists in an example sentence. Sourced and edited by fearless lexicographers, example sentences are intended to demonstrate the probable usage of a word, but when surrounded by definitions and phonetic spellings they read like tiny pieces of fiction that got lost and wandered into the wrong book.”
In these sentences, Jez found the inspiration for a series of short stories repurposing and combining the phrases to put them into entirely new contexts, to often hilarious effect. Now, Jez is putting the final touches on a book dedicated to these stories published by Harper Perennial in April 2018, and to celebrate – and announce pre-orders – he’s made this very Christmassy film.
Starring an eight-person choir, My True Love Gave to Me sees The Twelve Days of Christmas recreated in absurd fashion using dictionary example sentences. It is, in fact, the second in a series of films, the first made with songwriter Tom Rosenthal gathering “fifty more ways to leave your lover”.
Written and produced by Jez and directed by Skyler Vander Molen, it exemplifies the peculiar eclecticism of the English dictionary and its potential to entertain.
- Izabela Jurcewicz uses her camera to become both a surgeon and a patient
- XYZ Lab designs a removable and “grotesque” fifth issue for Rouge Fashion Book
- Relive the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer through Summer of Something Special
- Intimate, safe and romantic: Ekaterina Popova paints the interiors of her friend’s bedrooms
- Alfie Dwyer on creating game-like worlds and moulding tangible films like “putty”
- Through playful forms, Bára Růžičková tackles the rigid structure of the design industry
- Facebook rebrands to distinguish the company from the app
- Jack Kenyon photographs the wondrous spectacle of the Supreme Cat Show
- &Walsh designs Zooba's identity inspired by the busy streets of Cairo
- A book chronicling tiny, bizarre treasures curated by Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf
- Find hidden squares and experimental inktraps in Fatih Hardal's FH Giselle
- Pentagram’s Giorgia Lupi on her data-driven designs for & Other Stories