Thursday, 24 February 2011

The GRAND VINTAGE INQUISITION aka 'what are we like?'

In order to get a handle on what the vintage crowd are like (a very small handle admittedly, the kind of thing you'd use to crank up an antique dancing monkey automata) I have caringly crafted a survey. Completely anonymous and untraceable back to participants I will collate and publish the results on this blog out of utter unfettered nosiness.

Do please have a go at it and pass it onto your chums and anyone with a vintage musty edge. Do please not write anything nasty, because it will get ignored. The link is below, it only takes 5 minutes and the questions are not terribly serious. Also it looks quite official so any wastrels out there should be able to get away with doing it at work (not that I would condone any such thing). Please click here:

Many thanks, Minn x

Thursday, 17 February 2011

C30, C60, C80s! Brilliant Night Out for a good cause. 27th February.-

Eighties is not vintage, anyone who tells you that is after your money. The eighties were fun though and I know what I am talking about having teenaged my way through it. It is probably the last decade to have a distinctive stylistic character which can be applied to fashion, music, architecture and graphic design. As a period it was a real rollercoaster, you can think of Thatcher and yuppies but most of us were poor, unemployed and very pissed off.
On the other hand it was an era when you knew how to have a really good time and to hell with anyone who tried to stop you. Want to waft around Clapham looking like a zombie rag doll, fine.  Feel like dancing to German Industrial music dressed as a 17th century cardinal? Who was going to stop you.  Also it seems to me to be the last era when people demonstrated against things that didn’t attack their pockets (yes students I am talking about you), like bombs and dismantling entire sections of the economy.  I suspect it might have been one of the last periods that was a really good laugh… even if it was fuelled by gallows humour and very cheap cider.

A very good opportunity to celebrate it, whether you were there or not is presenting itself on the 27th. The details are below. I can wholeheartedly endorse this event. Not only is it for a very good cause but I know the organisers personally and they put a great deal of thought and effort into everything they do. If helping out the hospice is not enough, the line-up of performers includes the best cabaret around, the venue is atmospheric and has pub prices and there are lots of good prizes.

On the dressing up front there is great fun to be had, your vintage best would be fine, back then the Wag Club was adrift in zoot suits and forties rolls, how about New Romantic excess? Ska boy skin head cool? I seldom need much encouragement to go back to type: Goth. If you weren’t around this may be your chance to see if you would have liked the look and sound of it at least.  Please go. Details below:

Miss Rose Thorne & Beyond The Cabaret


for one night only...
C30, C60, C80s, GO!

A Charity Night Of 1980's Inspired Burlesque & Cabaret
Hosted by Benjamin Van Louche

Starring many of the UK's top cabaret & burlesque performers!

Sunday 27th February, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, Pollard Row, E2

Doors 7pm ~ Show 8pm ~ Tickets £10

C30, C60, C80s, GO! A pop-a-ramic evening of the best (and worst!) the 1980s had to offer, all squeezed into the skin-tight jeans of a plethora of top-flight and frenetic cabaret & burlesque acts! Think pouting New Romantic chic meets the seething discontent of 3 million unemployed! Think unfeasibly big hair, Rubik's cubes, ZX Spectrums and shoulder pads you could land a plane on!

ALL proceeds from the night are going to The Ayrshire Hospice.

Fancy Chance, Mat Fraser, Rod Lightning, Crimson Skye, Kiki Kaboom, Sienna Lately, VJ Spankie, Ginger Blush, Honey Wilde, Kitten von Strumpet, Becky Boobala, Khandie Kisses, Ooh La Lou, Liberty Pink, Tom Baker, Mat Ricardo, Rosy Cheeks,and more!!!

PLUS 80S DISCO TIL LATE, with sounds from the likes of:
Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, The Associates, The Smiths, Adam & The Ants, Visage, The Human League, Japan, The Teardrop Explodes, The Jam, The Psychedelic Furs, Echo & The Bunnymen, Blondie, Spandau Ballet, Bow Wow Wow, Ultravox, Soft Cell, A Flock Of Seagulls, Tears For Fears, The Cure, Talk Talk, OMD, Yazoo, Fad Gadget, ABC...

If you cannot go perhaps donate some sponduliks, by going here:
Minn x

Thursday, 10 February 2011

In defence of Libraries.

The estimable Helen Highwater recently posted on the Library planned for Birmingham, I suggest reading her angry and funny assessment:  .
Libraries, particularly public libraries have been fighting a slow drip by drip war against the forces of ..well..idiocy for want of a better word for some time.  It seems that every talking head and councillor and politician feels they are qualified to announce what a library should be. Well they aren’t.  Librarians are. After all they are qualified knowledgeable professionals. Would you pay much attention to some local functionary’s advice on which drugs to take for your heart condition? So why listen to them on the subject of libraries? Regular readers also know what they want, but are ignored. You know these people who read, they are just elderly middle class gits. That Somalian student in the corner is just…erm…well….

Even Victorian librarians were keen to help.
For a while the advance of technology was used to attack libraries. Yes, if you are wealthy you use Amazon, buy a Kindle. Only the elderly, the poor, the young need a library. Whoops, oh dear, again it is those vulnerable people blocking up the bookshelves.  In any case the point of the library is the space itself, that is what a library is. Google isn’t a library because it isn’t a physical space. A bookshop is, but you cannot read the books. Civic society itself is defined by the presence of town hall, school, hospital and library.  How stupid are we to consider getting rid of any of these.  Of course we are cursed with that political party whose modern financial approach has been to flog things to their friends, but the previous government were a disgrace.  Socialism and libraries should go hand in hand. I doubt however that the fine people of either Primrose Hill or Highbury will lose their provision.  As for the idea of libraries run by volunteers, does anyone think that a year of post graduate training is for fun?  I’m sure if one could just be, like, a librarian with no training we’d all have kept our thousands of pounds and years of study and not bothered.   Mind you the professions craven tendency to take on a groovy get down with the computers and Deeveedee  attitude and adoption of wooly  titles including the word ‘Information’ hasn’t helped.  A man walking down the street with a sandwich board could be described as an ‘Information Professional’.

Admittedly councils are in lean times but I am getting mightily pissed off by hearing  libraries lumped in with leisure centres, swimming pools, community activities, crèches and playgroups. Libraries are more important, like parks, not perks like playgroups. Whilst rubbish collection, road maintenance, education and housing are crucial, parks and libraries are essential.  Most of the population are still library users,  it is the default location for community meetings, education, M.P’s surgeries and local life. Their design should reflect this, they should be sturdy classy buildings. The Victorians were right, they applied the same care to Library design and buildings as they did to Town Halls. The general  library using public want quality well maintained stylish libraries with helpful knowledgeable staff.  Not bells and whistles.  Maybe you are not interested, that play centre for your 2 year old or your local pool seem more enjoyable. But if your library goes forever you’ll regret it, I promise. It is my demon librarian's curse…you’ll regret it.
No libraries, no sexy librarians...

Does it work? Boots Protect and Perfect Intense...miracle cream?

‘Ripoffecile rapide skin enervating action age defying serum reduces the effects of age within 4 months* (according to feedback from sample of 300 women who rubbed it into their faces at some point, somewhere). £ 26.99.’

What a lot of b*****cks! But women fall for it, in their millions. And before the gents start to feel smug at their comparative lack of dupability let’s remember that the market for creams to help male skins look less ‘tired’ is one of the fastest growing ones. What are chaps doing to their skins? Making their cheeks dance the Macarena until 2 am? Forcing their noses to work late at the office?

There are of course cheap alternatives such as Ponds which probably do as well. Although a friend pointed out that rubbing petroleum on your face might not be such a good idea. Apparently the petroleum creams may moisturize but do not protect or help your skin. The fact is anything moistening and not basically dangerous will improve the feel of your skin (olive oil, eggs, beer…hmm that might make a good batter!). What we pay for are soft smelling prettily wrapped pots of nonsense, and perhaps they have a placebo or anti depressive effect. The chemicals that do alter the skin are prescription only, have side-effects and are serious substances. Certainly not one to trust the cosmetic aka smoke and mirrors industry with, we’d all end up with purple skins and diarrhea.

In 2007 however Boots launched a skin cream, the Protect and Perfect serum, that was discussed on a Horizon documentary and was, holy grail like, shown to actually, physical and scientifically work. Some results of the research were that:

After six months twice as many of the volunteers who used the cream, 43 per cent, had improved wrinkles, compared to 20 per cent of those who used a placebo cream.

After 12 months, 70 per cent of those using the Protect and Perfect cream had "significant" improvements to their wrinkles, according to a clinical dermatologist.

The cream worked well across all the age groups tested according to the findings, published in the peer-reviewed British Journal of Dermatology. 

Tests also showed that the cream was able to stimulate the production of fibrillin, or elastic tissue. It is this last aspect that is the vital thing, the cream was actually shown to alter the skin not simply puff it up by annoying it (how many lifting products work). This is not to say that other creams might not do this, just that they wouldn’t put their money where their mouths are, or risk being made to obtain a medical licence for their product. Boots were prepared to take the risk.
Queuing for P & P in 2007

Although I didn’t participate in the general scrum that ensued to get this miracle product I did start using it, and I liked it. No allergic reaction, as good as SK II serum (which costs close to a £100 a pot) and no reaction. However I used it sporadically so cannot claim to have seen any results. Although the catch is how do you know? Perhaps I would look rougher if I hadn’t used it?
The original formulation.

A newer Intense serum was launched for old skin, containing the same basic ingredients in a more intense formulation; the claim is that you can see a difference within a month. I have decided I can manage this, and I do have some, thankfully not many, deep wrinkles to test this on. I shall report back in March on whether I feel it has worked. I’ve been using it for a few days now. It is a different colour from the first serum, cream rather than white and distinctly heavier and oilier. It does sink into the skin and leaves it moist. So far no flare-ups or reactions, I found when I tried the brand’s day cream that it made my skin itch. It costs about £22.00, £2.00 more than the lighter formulation and you can opt for a more stylish looking glass dispenser. However I chose the tube as I find you lose some of the product with push pump dispensers and that they are heavier and less handbag friendly.
The bottle pump version

I shall be back in a month on this, either with a better skin or faintly disgruntled!

What creams and potions are you using? Anyone else using this? I’d love to know! xx

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Fashion is the devil.....

I though some of you would be interested to see that the tyranny of fashion is no new thing, this cartoon dates from 1913 and shows that even before the advent of flappers and during the so called golden age before the first world war we were being ordered to do this and that.

I'm alarmed at the moment by the concept of vajazzling and porn star pruning down below.Might be my age but I find both stomach turning, about as appealing as rubbing sick on my face. As for the stupidity of thin, I am both disgusted by and bored of the subject, quite a feat.

Mind you I am no better, exceedingly grateful not to have thick ankles or a skin colour I dislike. Amazingly I actually like having a pale, freckly on the blue side complexion. It is really quite versatile, I can paint myself any kind of brown, wear very dramatic colours and love my little flecks of brown. How dull it must be not to have them!

Mind you I love most of my friends because they know how to exaggerate what they have, my scottish friend has a modigliani face and a mane of ferocious hair, a London friend has painted on eyebrows, gorgeous eyes and the expression of a cheeky 30's starlet, another friend from the midlands has a voluptous figure, platinum pin curls and more va voom than a room full of Moss wannabees. I admire women who make themselves more beautiful.

If fashion is a demon we should get him to buy us a drink, flirt a little, turn his diktats into paper aeroplanes and then callously run off with an imp called 'style'.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! xxx

Reading wish list...big glossy books!

Some of you are aware I am a Librarian (hear me roar!) but sadly my professional life is full of tomes on wounds, erectile dysfunction and diabetic foot amputations. Also I have fallen behind with my reading and am still to tackle the marvelous biography of Chanel that the gent bought me for Christmas. Big coffee table books do not require the same concerted effort, but their images can be inspiring and revisited repeatedly. I thought I would share some publications of the image rich, table brick variety that I am itching to flick through.

The first is 'Cafe Society' Socialites, Patrons and Artists: 1920 to 1960. Thierry Coudert. This is simply a book of fantastic images of people some might have accused of being dilettantes but who shaped society and fashion, it seems to redress the balance by putting those women who ran salons and encouraged  artists at centre stage for once. Currently out of stock on Amazon I have seen it in the Regent Street branch of Anthropology, it's around the 40 quid mark but wonderful none the less.

The second is Isabella Blow by Martina Rink.I must say that for me the best way to remember this fashion maverick and interesting woman is to look at her her. So this book of images appeals more than the rash of memoirs and dubious biogs that appeared after her death. A wonder reminder that style transcends traditional prettiness and beauty. Katie Chutzpah's excellent review can be read here.

Next up, Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer by Jay Jorgenson. Great picture-rich history of the marvellous Edith and her even more marvellous designs for movie costume. Remarkable ability to meld story, atmosphere and star into a cohesive, memorable and believable outfits.As you can see, available from Amazon.

Finally Dogs in Vogue by Judith Watt. Dogs however puggy and scrappy are the perfect friendly accessory. No other creature matches couture like a canine, there are some absolutely wonderful images in here from terriers and tweed, to salukis and silk. The pooches make you go awww! and the clothes make you go ahhhhh!

Happy Reading! Minn x


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