Whenever I have to carry a cardboard box, I find myself using it as a percussion instrument – drumming rhythms on its several surfaces. And whenever I have to open a cardboard box, I find myself impressed by the ingenuity of its construction. To my friend Jeff Smeltzer, who did computer-assisted drawing for the Sirrine company, or Mohib Pirbay, whose factory manufactured cardboard boxes for use all over Madagascar, the programs that print the templates for turning out these things are familiar, and there are artefacts of far greater complexity that the brain or the algorithm can devise, but to me it remains a wonder that each tab added somewhere can fit into a gap subtracted somewhere else.
Trying to make a Christmas cracker on the night before Christmas, I found I couldn’t get its necks tight. I didn’t know the trick, which probably goes back to ancient China.