Tuesday, 20 November 2018

KILLING JOKE ROUNDHOUSE

Last Saturday the ArtPix and Arcane Publishing teams had a staff outing to London.

We were off to see the mighty KILLING JOKE, but first stopped off at Portobello Market, as we hadn't been there for a while.

A couple of years ago there were dark reports in the Evening Standard of property developers buying up bits of the market and inevitably turning them into flats. But I'm pleased to say that doesn't seem to have happened ... YET!!!

It still has its brilliant vibe, with the gorgeous houses and tiny antique arcades all crammed with amazing bits and pieces. Traders in the streets were braving the dipping temperatures and huge crowds, with yet more tempting vintage delights.

I've always been intrigued by the market, to me it feels like a timeline of London.

You start at the top of the street, with the very elegant Georgian and Victorian townhouses and their pastel shades, where you'll find the traditional old-English style of antique shops. 

The further down the street you go, the style of houses, sounds and stalls gradually change. The houses start to look slightly ramshackle and Dickensian, and the stalls have a modern and diverse range of art and food, reflecting all sorts of cultures.
You then finally get to the Westway, that huge flyover teeming with cars above you, and it has changed completely, with fantastic dub reggae booming out, cool clothes and record stalls everywhere, and a yet more diverse range of food.   
It really is a reflection of how London has progressed and changed over the decades, with new people and cultures adding to the mix. A great place to go and curiously this is where Killing Joke first met, formed and immersed themselves, adding that unusual dub and dance edge to their music.

Just around the corner is another of my favourite old haunts, the Music & Goods Exchange shops in Notting Hill Gate. Back in the early 90s I used to work near them and spent virtually every lunch hour in the record shops!!!  
I'm pleased to note that these haven't changed either, with that slightly Heath Robinson and relaxed air about them. I've only sporadically gone there in the last few years, so was good to have a proper root around. I came away with a few unusual and very cheap albums.

Then on to the main event of the day ...
KILLING JOKE!!

The gig at the Camden Roundhouse was their last date on a truly marathon tour.
I've lived my whole life through music, my alternative world view, fashions, knowledge have been influenced by some truly extraordinary bands that have opened my eyes to things no news programmes could ever do.
And above and beyond all of them are KILLING JOKE, who when I first heard them, changed me forever. No more mainstream music for me anymore!!!
So like me, and everyone else there, their concerts are a celebration. 
They are currently riding the wave of a renaissance, finally getting the recognition that, actually, they really did know what they were talking about all along!!!
And also the fact they are astonishing musicians, still no-one can play a guitar like Geordie Walker, and fascinating people off stage.

So if you feel inclined, please do check them out!

Here are a few piccies, as taken by Carya Gish ...


Jaz Coleman conducting the mayhem, with Youth on bass.



In full flight now ...



A good view of the cavernous Roundhouse, the ever increasing gap between stage and audience, and the usual array of slightly bemused looking security.



Geordie can just be seen on the left, behind him is his legendary guitar tech Diamond Dave.
Unfortunately we were too far over to get a glimpse of drummer Big Paul Ferguson and keyboardist Roi.


Can't wait for the next tour ...

Friday, 16 November 2018

RETRO LIVERPOOL FC

Know a Liverpool fan and just can't think of what to get them for Christmas??!!

Well, look no further, as I have the perfect present for them ...



A handy little table, that has been decorated in retro Liverpool items!!
It features Reds programmes from the 1970s and early 80s and some original Shoot magazine cuttings of famous players.

Loadsa Liverpool legends are on here, including Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Bruce Grobbelaar.


And here's John Barnes and John Aldridge!


You'll have to be on the ball to get this table!!


An advert for the Liverpool F.C. Supporters Club, from an original 1971 programme.


The Reds' impressive trophy haul, that was to be added to all throughout the 1980s.



The table is an ideal gift, as not only is it a complete one-off, but when Liverpool are on the telly, it can be placed next to your armchair as a handy place to put your beer, snacks and mobile!!!


You can find it in my unit at The Customs House, down on the seafront in West Bay, Dorset!!



And if that wasn't enough, I also have another exclusive Reds design, on a canvas frame, which can be hung on the wall, to make a perfect Liverpool living room!!



AND, I have yet more Reds related stuff in there ... a Liverpool flag, programmes from the 1960s to the 90s and many original designs on greetings cards, frames and fridge magnets!!

Get on down there now!!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL

Anyone watching the BBC drama of John le Carré's book The Little Drummer Girl?
Well, for any retro fans out there this is a right old retro treat!!!

Set in the late 70s, possibly very early 80s, there are loads of carefully chosen and exquisite retro pieces decorating each scene. 
Gorgeous tables, lamps, homeware and then of course the clothes and the cars!!

But then in one scene in Episode 2, there was a strange sight ...

A fantastic Art Deco Shelley tea set!!!







What an odd thing to plonk in a scene set in 1970s West Berlin, some very English ceramics from the 1930s.

It did actually look a bit out of place, but I was so pleased to see it, as I've got exactly the same cup and saucer. Here it is below ...



And they have a precious teapot, which must be worth a fortune. I was too scared to watch, just in case one of the actors broke something!



So watch this scene and play the Deco Detective!


© All pix are copyright BBC.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

100 YEARS AGO

... the Great War finally ended.



And after the photo opportunities for politicians, royalty, and religious leaders are done, we can reflect on the utter slaughter of a generation at the hands of these very types of people who start every war.

No-one can ever, as much as a few historians and commentators will try, justify the senseless way the war was conducted and how lives were thrown away by arrogant and incompetent generals.

Some will argue that vital lessons were learnt on the Somme ... all were thrown away in the massacre at Passchendaele a year later. 

Haig only kept his job because he was a friend of the king.

Siegfried Sassoon worried people would soon forget what had happened, but ironically, thanks to people like him we DON'T forget.



Aftermath

Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you're a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same--and War's a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench--
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack--
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads--those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.


©Siegfried Sassoon

Thursday, 8 November 2018

LET'S HAVE A PARTY!

... 1940s style!!!
With this fantastic recipe book from 1946!



This very rare 1st edition was printed barely a year after the Second World War had ended, and is filled with great cooking ideas and amazingly cute drawings! 


With Britain still in the grip of severe rationing, some of these recipes may seem a bit optimistic, but it has a fabulous charm about it.

The drawings were done by Emil Weiss, who was quite a character, and worthy of a book himself.
He was born in Moravia, now in the Czech Republic, and was a cartoonist, architect and commercial artist. He ended up in America post-war, where he was an illustrator for a magazine.




And the illustrations he'd done for this book are wonderful, with his two characters messing around on each page and doing the recipes themselves!



Two inventive recipes on this spread, 'The Salad Clock' and 'Mock Toadstools'!


The toadstools were a combination of hard boiled eggs and tomatoes, cool!!











Near the end of the book is a section to write in your own recipes, and brilliantly someone has!!



So you get a few free recipes! Including ones for Peppermint Creams, Walnut Candy, Fudge and Candied Orange Peel 




Of course the worst part of doing all that cooking is the washing-up ...






If you fancy doing a bit of 1940s cooking, then rush along to the VINTAGE SOMERSET FAIR at Wells Town Hall on 10th November and find this fantastic book on my stall!!
See you there!!




Tuesday, 6 November 2018

COOL BADGES!

Don't you just love badges?!

I've got a great little selection here, some dating back to the 70s.



There is a right old mash-up of subjects, including a fantastically cheesy 1980s Smash Hits badge of Kylie Minogue!!




Another one from the 80s, a Radio 1 Roadshow badge.




A classic Mr Men badge, featuring Mr Happy.



And a brilliant Green Cross Code badge, that was a road safety campaign back in the 70s featuring actor Dave Prowse, somewhat better known as Darth Vader!!



I also have this rather nice 1950s Phillips Cycles badge, which apparently are "Renowned the World Over"!



If you are pinning your hopes on picking up one of these pin badges, then pop along to this Saturday's VINTAGE SOMERSET FAIR and find them on my stall!!
SEE YOU THERE!!


Monday, 5 November 2018

1950s SHOP DISPLAY GIRL

This is a super-rare stand-up wooden shop display.




Finely hand-painted and decorated, this 1950s advertising item would have sat on a counter or in a window.

My guess is that it would have been in a department store and been part of a display featuring a perfume, soap, or perhaps a range of make-up.

You can put her anywhere you like, as she has her own stand, and is exquisitely detailed, with a fabulous '50s feel.
It would look great in any vintage fan's home!











If you run along to the VINTAGE SOMERSET FAIR in Wells on 10th November you can see her there!!
Just look out for my stall!




Sunday, 4 November 2018

WILFRED OWEN 1893-1918

Today I thought it was important to remember and reflect the 100th Anniversary of the death of one of Britain's literary titans – Wilfred Owen.




Considered to be the finest of the First World War poets, his unique and descriptive use of words have become a lasting legacy of the expression of the futility of war.

Initially coaxed and encouraged by Siegfried Sassoon, his poetry grew darker and more profound as the war dragged on.

He had an unerring ability to tell an absorbing story within his lines, filling your head with a thousand images. Where Sassoon would purposely use his anger to get his defiant message across, Owen would often quietly and effectively just tell it how he saw it.

His death, just one week before the end of the war, was a tragedy in itself. It also left a huge, empty chasm, where we can only wonder as to what this sensitive and intelligent man would have become, and what he would have achieved with his pen.

It was hard to choose one of his poems to illustrate his craft, especially with the magnificent Anthem for Doomed Youth and Dulce et Decorum Est shining like beacons of light, but I've gone for The Sentry
Another story within a poem, which to Owen, as an seasoned front-line soldier, would have experienced first-hand. 

Do please read his other work.



The Sentry

We'd found an old Boche dug-out, and he knew,
And gave us hell, for shell on frantic shell
Hammered on top, but never quite burst through.
Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime
Kept slush waist high, that rising hour by hour,
Choked up the steps too thick with clay to climb.
What murk of air remained stank old, and sour
With fumes of whizz-bangs, and the smell of men
Who'd lived there years, and left their curse in the den,
If not their corpses. . . .
                        There we herded from the blast
Of whizz-bangs, but one found our door at last.
Buffeting eyes and breath, snuffing the candles.
And thud! flump! thud! down the steep steps came thumping
And splashing in the flood, deluging muck —
The sentry's body; then his rifle, handles
Of old Boche bombs, and mud in ruck on ruck.
We dredged him up, for killed, until he whined
"O sir, my eyes — I'm blind — I'm blind, I'm blind!"
Coaxing, I held a flame against his lids
And said if he could see the least blurred light
He was not blind; in time he'd get all right.
"I can't," he sobbed. Eyeballs, huge-bulged like squids
Watch my dreams still; but I forgot him there
In posting next for duty, and sending a scout
To beg a stretcher somewhere, and floundering about
To other posts under the shrieking air.


Those other wretches, how they bled and spewed,
And one who would have drowned himself for good, —
I try not to remember these things now.
Let dread hark back for one word only: how
Half-listening to that sentry's moans and jumps,
And the wild chattering of his broken teeth,
Renewed most horribly whenever crumps
Pummelled the roof and slogged the air beneath —
Through the dense din, I say, we heard him shout
"I see your lights!" But ours had long died out.


©Wilfred Owen

Friday, 2 November 2018

HACKS COUGH SWEETS

Take a peep at this ...


This hugely evocative tin conjures up old-school shops, with their vast array of tins containing sweets all lined up !

Although this one is for cough sweets, as the poor bloke hacking away shows, it really stands out with its amazing bright orange colour.





Made by White Hudson & Co. Ltd of Southport in the 1950s, it makes a great display piece in a kitchen or living room, and can still be used as a storage container.






If you don't want to be hacked off and miss out on this, then hurry along to the VINTAGE SOMERSET FAIR in the beautiful city of Wells on 10th November, and find it on my stall!!! 


Tuesday, 30 October 2018

TOP DRAWER STORAGE!

Ever wished you could have a handy, stylish and vintage way of storing your bits and bobs?!

Well look no further as I have the perfect solution!!!



In a classic case of upcycling, I've rescued these fantastic 1930s drawers and given them a new life.
They can now be used to store away all that stuff on your desk, kitchen, living room etc!

They have so much character, especially with their original brass handles, that have spaces for labels.






And with the added splash of colour from the retro-style wallpapers, they really do make for a cool vintage look.







If you are drawn to these drawers, then lucky you, as I bringing them along to the VINTAGE SOMERSET FAIR at Wells Town Hall on 10th November!!!

SEE YOU THERE!!