Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Your Christmas viewing and listening

The Sweet Makers at Christmas - cast photo
It's looking like a thin Christmas for telly as far as vintage lovers are concerned! So get your vintage fix in early, as BBC2 has a couple of treats for us this week. On 15 December - this Friday - there's The Sweet Makers at Christmas, where the confectioners explore Christmas sweets enjoyed by the Georgians, Victorians and people of the 1920s. The following night it's showing Feud: Bette and Joan, about the two superstars' career revival and intense rivalry in the 1960s from 16 December.

Over Christmas itself most programmes appear to be either modern, or set much earlier than the 20th century. The BBC's flagship period drama is Little Women, while ITV is highlighting Victoria. Here's my pick of 20th century things to entertain you while you're digesting your turkey.

If I spot anything else interesting, I'll update this page.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Bulldog Drummond [film]

I reviewed the first four Bulldog Drummond novels all the way back in 2010 (yes, this blog really has been going that long!) and I was not a fan. Nonetheless, when the 1929 early talkie came on Talking Pictures TV I Tivoed it, and today got a chance to sit down and watch it - I got through both my print deadlines earlier this week, and both magazines went on time, so I treated myself to a day off.

The date was the thing that grabbed me; you don't often get 1920s films on telly so I wasn't going to waste it, and early talkies are fascinating. This film was adapted from the stage play of Bulldog Drummond, and you can see it in the way the action is confined mainly to a few rooms. It probably made sense given the limitations of early sound technology.

Another reason for watching it was that it had Lilyan Tashman in. Who's Lilyan Tashman? A former Ziegfeld Follies girl, like many a Hollywood beauty, she was also known for being one of the best-dressed women in Tinseltown before her death at 37 from cancer. Given her early death and scandalous life (her lovers included Greta Garbo) you'd think her name would have lingered in the popular consciousness, but it hasn't.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

More than a feeling...

Boston! Boston Spa, to be precise. That's the pattern of these plates. Back in June 2015 Mr Robot and I found a set of six dinner plates in a chazza, and were very pleased with our bargain. This weekend I found myself unexpectedly getting this little lot to go with it, thereby proving Vix's maxim that if you wait long enough, everything turns up in a charity shop.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

One Thousand Monsters [book]

Do you have a favourite writer or band or artist who you think should be more popular than they are? Kim Newman falls into that bracket for me. I suppose his blend of supernatural stories and truckloads of obscure pop-culture references don’t really appeal to the mainstream. He’s not gory enough for the hardcore horror fans, but doesn’t trade in the descriptions of pretty clothes and prettier boys that seems to appeal to the other end of the market. So One Thousand Monsters will probably only get picked up by those who appreciate what fun his books are.

That’s a shame really, because this novel slots into Newman’s Anno Dracula cycle, and represents a real return to form after the disappointing Johnny Alucard. Not up with the series? Anno Dracula is set in Victorian London, where Drac has married the widowed Queen Victoria and Jack the Ripper – Jack Seward – is killing vampire prostitutes in the East End. The Bloody Red Baron has a WWI setting; the now-exiled undead Prince Consort has gained influence in Germany and is creating a squadron of undead super-flyers. Dracula Cha Cha Cha is set in 1950s Rome at the time of Dracula’s next wedding, a swirl of movie references in that one. And Johnny Alucard is at the end of the 20th century.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Stress and nonsense

 So, Project Get Through Deadlines continues. This mainly being rigidly organised at work, and doing sod-all at home beyond ensuring we're clean, have clean clothes, and are fed. I've been finding it a little frustrating that a lot of my friends don't seem to take it seriously; they get narked that I don't want to meet up when I really need to go to ground at weekends right now. Arranging things means slotting one more deadline into a schedule, and it's just too much.

Anyway, I've been enjoying a bit of gentle, no-pressure pottering. Saturdays usually mean a trip to Devizes to go to the butcher. Devizes is awfully pretty, and the old, not-very-bear-like bear atop the front doors of the Bear Hotel was looking very festive. King George III and Queen Charlotte stayed there; I wonder if the bear is old enough to have been there to greet them?

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Crinoline Robot's vintage week (and then some)

A lottery win and a bigger house and I'd buy 'em.
On Saturday I met up with Liza (The Vintage Knitter) and Gisela (Miss Magpie's Musings) for a day out in Bath. I know, everyone comes to Bath - I'm very spoiled with not having to travel far to see people! One of these days I'll actually have to take a proper journey to visit someone. Anyway, we had a fab day out, ponking round the farmer's market at Green Park Station, eyeing up the amazing vintage jewellery in Bartlett Street Antiques Market (this was yer actual gold, not costume jewellery) and ambling up Walcot Street to look at the vintage shops.

Bath's a bit rubbish if you need practical things like a washing up bowl or a mop, but if it's Edwardian earrings or giant bronze cat-things you want, the city's got you sorted. The Christmas Market starts this week, which is a fortnight of hell for those of us who live/work there as coach parties converge on the already-congested centre. I avoid the city centre during the daytime as much as possible for that period, and try to avoid catching the train if I can (nightmare) but will take wanders round it after work, when most of the coaches have gone and you can actually enjoy your mulled wine as you browse around Tat In Sheds.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Beat Girl [film]

It was supposed to be shocking in its day, but I couldn't help being charmed by Beat Girl. I'd seen it years ago, but couldn't remember much about it, so took the opportunity to reacquaint myself when it was on Talking Pictures. Father Paul comes back from three months away with his new 24-year-old, blonde, French wife in tow, and finds his daughter Jennifer (who's in her teens herself, and looks like a baby Bardot) has been going off the rails in his absence.