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Tony Hanning

is a Gippsland glass artist, whose works for GKW are:

  • Mother (Engraved milk bottle. C1950)

  • Bloke (Engraved broken remains of goblet)

  • Mr Badly Drawn (Engraved goblet)

  • Fisherman Harry (Engraved 7.oz. beer glass)

  • No one in particular (Engraved 7.oz. beer glass)

  • Useless article (Engraved Flute with Glass Shard)

  • John Citizen (Engraved Vegemite jar)

  • Someone's Aunt/Nobody's Mother (Engraved 7 oz. Beer Glass)

  • Mr Anybody (Engraved goblet in glass box)

  • Museology (Fabricated goblets in glass box)

  • Someone with a bucket on their head (Engraved 7 oz beer glass)

  • Mr & Mrs Anon (Carved cameo sphere)

  • The end (Carved cameo glass with 22ct gold)

  • Erased portrait of Lenin (Engraved goblet)

  • Commemorative goblet (Engraved goblet (Marioni
Portrait of the Artist as a Younger Person
No one in particular
'No one in particular' by Tony Hanning (photograph by Terence Bogue)

The Can of Coffee by Tony Hanning

I have secreted away, a can of coffee which I purchased from a vending machine in Kyoto in 1984. Having purchased the coffee with every intention of drinking it, I read the label and decided against opening it.

The label reads “Welcome to Heaven as Time brings softness found in this can.”

Whether it is a desire to preserve the contents to retain the novel integrity of the label, or fear of the outcome of consuming the contents, I cannot tell.

I am not yet ready for Heaven.

If time is a prerequisite for entry into Heaven, (as we are led to believe) there is an implied directive that the longer I wait before opening it, the closer to Heaven (or even a greater quantity of Heaven) will be imparted.

Whatever the case may be, the label has, in effect, rendered the coffee useless.

Now the coffee simply sits in the can somewhere at the back of the cupboard and with each moment that passes I am, like it or not, closer to Heaven.

I try not to think about this too much and it is only when I see the can at the back of the cupboard that I am reminded of my concern for it.

On the third floor of the National Gallery of Victoria there is a glass cabinet containing goblets.

Most of these goblets date back to the 17th Century.

Like the can of coffee, they have been rendered useless by labels.

Where once it may have been possible (and indeed probable) that someone actually drank from them, there is little, if any, chance that they will be drunk from again.

Like the coffee, time decreases the probability of these goblets actually being used for what was intended. Ironically, it is preservation and not decay which has rendered them useless, for most of them are in as good a condition as the day they were made.

Recently I rediscovered the can of coffee, and for fear that it may be thrown out by mistake, I transferred it to another secret spot and in so doing, happened upon yet another undrunk beverage I had secreted away many years ago.

This time it was a small bottle of Guinness. Still capped and untouched.

This bottle of Guinness is no ordinary bottle of Guinness. It is in near mint condition, with a gold foil around the top, and the bottle is of a heavily embossed glass.

The embossing reads “Commemorating the visit by Her Majesty: 1953” above which there is a larger embossing which reads “The Queen. God Bless Her”

The printed label of the bottle indicates that this is a limited edition, and given the circumstances in Ireland since its manufacture, it is fortunate to be thousands of miles from such strife and ought to therefore be considered precious.

My memory of stout is that if you drink too much of it you end up closer to hell than Heaven and as I am not a stout drinker (nor for that matter a drinker of stout) I decided that this is one old beverage I could well do without.

I telephoned an Auction House and was informed that it was worth nothing.

“Yours is a Collector’s item” I was told. “There is no market for Collectors any more. Those days are gone” she said. “These days people only buy and sell wine for either investment or to drink.”

This is a clear case of time not being on my side.

Had I sold the Guinness when the Collector’s market was still active, I might have made  some money, but as it is the bottle only takes up space.

But it is also taking up space in time and its fate is unresolved, so it remains out of sight in some sort of limbo.

At this point I feel that the only sensible thing to do is to make a cup of tea.