Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Time travelling In Retrospect

Toot toot! That is the sound of me blowing my own trumpet, because I have been told I should do it more often. Why am I blowing it? Because I have a feature on art deco travel destinations in the latest issue of In Retrospect magazine.

I don't really talk in detail about my day job on this blog, as I'm usually keen to keep work and play fairly separate. I work in magazines, and really believe you need an interest in the subject to do a good job, even if you're doing mainly sub-editing like I do, or layouts. (Obviously it's absolutely essential for writers.) This means if I'm not careful to maintain a division between work and play, the work can end up bleeding into my free time and stressing me out. That's also why Crinoline Robot is an absolutely non-commercial blog; I spend all day working to create something to please other people, but this blog is made to please myself. If I started taking a commercial approach, I'd be on the highway to Stress City.

Writing for In Retrospect was fun because I got to submit an idea for something I wanted to write (I got my boss' permission beforehand). I'm not going to repeat my feature here, but I did want to talk about my aims in writing it. First, I was keen to keep it international: there are some fantastic deco destinations globally, and I wanted to mention some of the major, yet less well-known locations. Shanghai and Mumbai may not be the first places that spring to mind when you think of deco, but they really are important, with both a high number of deco buildings and distinct regional styles. Of course, from Miami to Morecambe I didn't miss out the obvious places.
Burgh Island hotel. Deco paradise.
On top of that, I wanted my feature to be relevant to lots of people, not just the white and/or western. Often people speculate on why vintage seems to be a strongly caucasian subculture – Nora did a fascinating post recently on why Asian people don't often wear vintage – but one thing we can all do to make a wider range of people feel like vintage is for them is celebrate amazing vintage from around the world. That can open up debates about wrongs done in that period, but just as I'm sure none of the vintage lovers I know would actually like to live in a world where women were expected to give up work on marriage, same-sex relationships were illegal and there was no NHS (might not get a choice on that one...), I'm pretty sure that we can celebrate the beauty of places like the Lakshmi Insurance Building of Mumbai without wanting to bring back colonialism.

(Um, how did I get on this soapbox?)

Shona from Heyday! wrote about beach pyjamas. DO WANT.
The magazine is really packed with all sorts of fascinating stuff, from opinion pieces on topics such as 'Authenticity' (Ava Aviacion) and 'Is Chivalry Sexist' (G. M. Norton) to articles on 20th century men's underwear (Mathew Keller) and the history of burlesque (Blaire Rowland interviewing Lena Mae). There are book reviews, including Porcelina's one of Vintage Fashion Complete, telly reviews and a really good national events listing. One of the things I really love about In Retrospect is that it's written by both male and female vintage enthusiasts, so the topics are diverse but all absolutely fascinating. If you like the look of all that, you can see a preview and buy a copy here.

20 comments :

  1. Well done you, that's great news!

    and you should definitely blow your own trumpet more often (I know I should blow mine, there's just that reserved Britishness that tells me not to!)

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    1. Yeah, it feels weird. Plus I work in magazines, so everyone I see at work has stuff published in a magazine, it's normal here. BOOKS on the other hand, I'm always impressed when people get books published.

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  2. Yay to blowing your own trumpet! Especially when you've done such a fantastic job as you have on that article. Always love your soapbox moments too, keep them coming xx

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    1. Inclusivity is one of my hobby-horses, I'll ride that one around for hours. Vintage for all!

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  3. Yay! That's great news and it sounds like an ace article. I'm off to look. Mumbai rocks. We stayed at the circular towerblock Bentley's on Marine Drive, the Art Deco marble bathrooms were to die for and a snip at £14 a night! Volos on mainland Greece is another Deco gem, looks just like Miami only with ouzo & olives. x

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    1. Oooh, I hadn't heard of Volos.

      Kolkata is the place I really want to visit - I'm not sure if I still have distant family there as my great-grandmother was from the city. Mumbai does look splendid, though, and I'm very envious of you having seen Marine Drive, it's said to be spectacular.

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  4. Huzzah for trumpet blowing and why shouldn't you??

    I saw a programme about the Deco buildings in Mumbai and was just blown away.

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    1. It's been on telly? I missed that one!

      The thing I love about the Asian styles is the way they made deco their own. Deco was influenced by styles from all round the world anyhow. In China, the clean lines worked fantastically with Confucian ideas about art, so you get a very clean style and a lot of circles and straight lines. In India, with its tradition of amazing statuary on temples and other buildings, the figurative side of deco comes out. (Thinking about it, that's true of deco everywhere; in Napier in New Zealand there are Maori elements worked into deco.)

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  5. Congratulations! How exciting for you x

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    1. It's so nice to be writing travel pieces!

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  6. Well done for getting your article in print, and what an interesting subject. I certainly have never thought that an appreciation of the art or style of bygone eras equates to an endorsement of the political or social mores of those times.
    Btw - beach pyjamas? What are they, a top paired with flared trousers? I had no idea! xxx

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    1. Beach pyjamas are ace! I'm kind of surprised they're new to you, as they strike me as a very Curtise sort of thing. They started in the 1920s as beach cover-ups, and are essentially really wide trousers plus a more fitted top - you get a lot of backless or halter styles in the 1930s. They're often very colourful and brightly patterned. I've got a repro pair I had custom-made for loafing round the house in; I treat them as a stylish alternative to a onesie...

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  7. Toot that horn loudly and proudly!

    I'll be interested to have a read as I love Deco, but can't stand Miami. I'm breaking out in hives just thinking about the place. *Shudder*. It was OK-ish in the late 60's-early 70's, but then it all got rather bleak. I know people love the place, but it always left me feeling horribly depressed.

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    1. I have never been to Miami - the closest I've made it is Cuba, which I suspect wouldn't go down well! The buildings look lovely, but I suspect the place is too lively for me. Chicago is the place I want to go in the US. Chicago and Yellowstone.

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  8. Magnificent!
    I am so happy to read that you have been published in a "vintage-friendly" magazine. You deserve it; the horn-blowing, the trupmpet-playing, the violin in the background.. you deserve the praise, Mim!
    Woo-hoo!
    As you know, ArtDeco is featured in a lot of my posts, since I'm loving the era's shapes and sizes..

    A huge hug and a congrats!

    Marija

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    1. Thank you!

      Deco is a lovely style. So elegant.

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  9. It's a lovely piece, you blow that horn! How else will people find out about things? It makes me want to go to the Burgh Island hotel even more now. I visited the Midland, and it was breathtaking. I'd love to see Napier too.

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    1. Oh, that's good to know about the Midland. I've heard mixed reports but would want to see it for myself.

      I've been to Burgh Island, and it was lovely. Eye-wateringly pricy, so we went for my 40th, but gorgeous. One of my 'When I win the lottery' dreams is of block-booking the whole place for a holiday and inviting lots of vintage lovers.

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  10. Well done, you.
    And re the lower mentioned article "Is chivalry sexist?" No, never, and I'm definitely a feminist! Good manners cost nothing and it is just damned rude to be snarky or sullen to someone offering them. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, which, I'm afraid, is what has happened only too frequently.

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  11. Congratulations on the article, that is very exciting. I will be getting hold of a copy to have a good read. I went to the Midland last weekend for afternoon tea which was delicious and the hotel was beautiful. I want to try and stay there next.

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