Thursday, 27 November 2014

For sale: brand new traditions

Happy Thanksgiving, if you're in the US! I must admit, I always think of it as akin to a British Harvest Festival (probably because of the association with crops) and so the timing takes me aback every year because it's about three months later. It must be nice to have something falling in November to prevent the slide into Christmas mania; here in the UK Halloween acts as a bit of a brake, and Bonfire Night slows things down a little, but after that it's nearly two solid months of CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! and it can all get a bit much.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Doom with a view - times two!

Aren't these covers smashing? Both The Cornish Coast Murder and The Lake District Murder are from the British Library's range of reprinted vintage crime novels, and were originally published in 1935. I know it's always considered a faux pas in reviewing circles to talk about book covers, but I reckon these ones, with illustrations taken from 1930s railway posters are wonderful: appropriate for both the time and settings of the stories.

Friday, 21 November 2014

There ain't nothing like these dames!

Just a quick heads-up: Dulcie Demure (who I've been having burlesque classes with) is presenting The Queen of Neverminditsnamia, an alternative panto, this December. Burlesque has its roots in cheeky stage performance, just like panto, after all. It promises to be 'A theatrical burlesque production set in a mystical land of wigs, corsets and bloomers... and maybe the odd sausage!' Performers include Dulcie herself, Peach Schnaps, Chili Martini and Miss Cherry Bomb, and there should be a sausage-smuggling prince and a highwayman too.

I've put it on my What's on in Vintage Wiltshire page, which also covers the Somerset border area, but that's in sore need of an update so I thought I'd blog about it too. (I'll crack on with updating the events this weekend, I promise!)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Party frock angst

One possibility - my 1960s Evans 'Tweensize set

For the past few Christmasses work have given us all a bit of money towards team Christmas meals, so I haven't whinged on the blog about partywear since 2010. Now, however, we've got a party looming, and in the very swanky Pump Room at that.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Tea set for two

I've wanted a vintage tea set for ages. I don't know why. I do actually have one tea set, which my mum collected piece-by-piece when I went to university, using tokens from the local supermarket. That's 1990s - 1992, to be precise - so I suppose as far as some sellers would go it would qualify as vintage, though I haven't noticed a growing market for 1990s homewares in the same way as I have for 1990s clothing. (Tip: basically, you can't go wrong with pine furniture and slapping sun, moon and stars designs on everything.) Anyway, I've been kicking myself for the past few years for not snapping up a gorgeous Shelley set when I saw it for sale in Rolfey's in Bath.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Adventures in Burlesque part 2: When Doubts Attack!

As I mentioned a while back, I've been having burlesque lessons. If you spend much time on anything, it starts to matter more to you, and lately as I've danced more I've been really assailed by doubts. There are the obvious ones – I am far too old and heavy to be doing it, and when it comes to dancing I'm as well co-ordinated as a colourblind clown. Then there are the worse fears, that every idea I have has been done before, usually many times and in many ways. Bride of Frankenstein? Done. 'Heart Attack and Vine'? Done. It reached the point where I just felt the best I'd manage was ripping everything off haphazardly in about 30 seconds, bellowing, “THERE'S MY GROWLER, HAPPY NOW?” at the audience and stamping off.

(I might try it. I don't think that's been done before.)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Peaky Blinders, series 2: costumes and more

Before I go into the costumes I will say this: if you missed the second series of Peaky Blinders, you really did miss out. It was so much better than the first - and that was excellent. It's violent, and nasty, and the soundtrack may not appeal to everyone (though I think the music of Nick Cave, PJ Harvey et all works even better in this 1920s show than Jay-Z's one did in the most recent film version of The Great Gatsby), but I loved it. It covers an aspect of British history, the history of the criminal and working classes in the Midlands in the early 20th century, that usually gets plastered over by Downton Abbey-style schmaltz. The gritty industrial settings are really impressive, and make glitzy locations such as the Eden Club stand out all the more.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Fiddlehead, Cherie Priest

I read a lot of steampunk, for both work and pleasure. This is one I picked up in an office move at work, and it definitely counts as pleasure. I read the first volume in Priest's 'Clockwork Century' series, Boneshaker, for SFX magazine, and really enjoyed it, so when I saw the final volume I snapped it up (both work as standalone stories). I enjoyed them both so much I plan to buy all the others.