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Two accidental forays into surrealism by British boys’ paper The Hotspur, which amazingly lasted until 1981. I say amazingly, although on the other hand there were lots of British colonial era things that inexplicably carried on into the 1980s and beyond. Not to mention that The Hotspur‘s first issue had on its cover a plane-sized eagle attacking an actual aeroplane, and came with a free “Black Cloth mask” for no immediately apparent reason, so they definitely started as they meant to go on.
The cover above is almost certainly not referring to the fact that this football player has a feature likely to make him popular with the ladies and about 10% of the gentlemen, but instead that he scores goals by kicking unexpectedly wide. As for how and why somebody decided to counter this tactic by installing a gung ho bipedal elephant in football kit… I’ve got nothing. Dick’s certainly surprised, as you would be.
Perhaps it was the same genius who decided to deploy their centre-forward on the roof of a nearby building instead of on the pitch?
Some bonkers choreography with Heather Parisi, from the 80s Italian variety show Fantastico. Firstly, Frankie Goes to Hollywood never seemed so… confusing? It looks a bit like a toned down, bowdlerised high school production of Cruising. Still molto gay, though. If Heather’s dance partner is thinking about relaxing, doing it or coming, I very much doubt it involves her. Put some trousers on Heather, love. You’ll catch your death of cold.
Even better, here’s Heather again doing some way-ahead-of-their-time Gangnam Style ridiculous dressage pony moves and gurning to Tullio De Piscopo’s nail in Italo Disco’s coffin, Stop Bajon (Primavera). The smoke in these bubbles must be what the choreographer was inhaling when they came up with this number.
Watch out for a random, drunken, camp fellow enjoying his big acting break at 11:48, a bit of very irresponsible chiropraxy at 12.49, some very unsexy from 13.35, and– saints preserve us!– pierrots throughout.
Some lovely and surreal Renaissance images of marvels and unexplained phenomena, from Taschen’s The Book of Miracles.
Just two more images I scanned from the old British boys’ magazine/comic Eagle, posted here very belatedly purely because I just found them on an old HD and I don’t know why they never got published.
Coincidentally, the “colour-reflex conditioning” to which Mike is being subjected (above) looks very much like the Zoom ice lolly being advertised below. It’s like he’s being frontally aggravated by the business end of a massive Zoom lolly, which can happen when you’re tripping your tits off like young Michael here. Mike Lane = Migraine?
Perhaps some of those special sugar cubes on the coffee table made their way into the Lyons Maid factory. It might explain where they got the idea that being Commander in Chief of the Galaxy Patrol would be fab. Only Zoom fans are in it, baby. Fab was (and I think it still is, in Britain) another ice lolly, by the way.
I also love the delightfully gauche and virtually meaningless “New Zoom is great” as a marketing line. Product is great. It just is.
Scans from a nuclear war information booklet issued by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office in 1963. People of Britain, gather your Vaseline, paper handkerchiefs, teaspoons and aspirin so we can get on with a proper British apocalypse. I’m more into the mod design than the details of people being killed instantly. “HEAT”, “BLAST” and “FALL-OUT” each have exciting logos. Which is nice.
I haven’t scanned them, but some of the other pages mention living in a hole in your back garden with a dustbin lid as a hatch, or building a “fall-out room” made of doors and sandbags inside your house. It’s grim. The booklet’s main achievement is making it seem lucky if you’re one of the people vapourised or incinerated during the initial blast. Most of the advice for survivors comes down to staying indoors with your family and waiting for help that may never come. It’s like an even more depressing and futile than usual episode of Eastenders. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office does allow that there may be an interruption of water supplies and electricity; many people in British cities had experienced this during WWII, so it wasn’t too scary to admit the possibility. As for absurdities like putting out your rubbish to be collected after an H-bomb has dropped nearby or using Sellotape and a raincoat against radioactive fallout, I’m not sure if the government really thought that after a nuclear exchange everyone would be resuming their normal lives within a few days or weeks, or if this was just the impression the authorities hoped to give people.
* J. Karwowski’s Method of Preserving the Dead
Found on an old hard drive. In 1903 a gentleman named Joseph Karwowski (“a subject of the Czar of Russia, residing at Herkimer”, New York) took out a patent on “certain new and useful Improvements in Methods of Preserving the Dead”, to wit encasing them in cubes of glass. He claimed that excluding the air would preserve them “for an indefinite period in a perfect and life-like condition.” The process would involve encasing the body in a layer of sodium silicate which was dry heated to solidify it, then further surrounded by a cube or cylinder of molten glass. Evidently a man of thrifty instincts, he also allowed for the cheaper and less labour-intensive possibility of preserving just the head “if preferred”, Futurama style.
Not that I or anybody else in their right mind is considering actually carrying out this operation, but I can see a number of potential snags here. I’m going to leave aside the notion that the chap illustrated above looks as if he was in the middle of objecting to being encased in sodium silicate when he was rudely cut off in his prime.
Firstly, you’re “dry heating” a corpse in glass, then surrounding it with more, even hotter glass? Surely this means you’re cooking dear mad old uncle Joe sous-vide? Secondly, an eight foot tall cuboid of solid glass plus a dead body will be impractically heavy. What would you do with it? Leave it out in a cemetery, or put it in your living room? In the latter case, anybody who lived above the ground floor would be wise to go for the head only option, although even that would be rather hefty.
Last but most disgusting, bodies don’t go moldy like bread, because spores land on them. They rot primarily from the inside, as autolysis causes the tissues to die and liquefy, while microbes that have lived harmlessly inside the body are let loose, unchecked by the living body’s defences. Some of these microbes are anaerobic, meaning that lack of contact with the air is not a problem. If you feel up to it, check out some of the Bronze Age people sacrificed and thrown into anaerobic, acidic bogs in Northern Europe. Or the bodies of dead Everest mountaineers and people in the Andes who were similarly mummified by cold, dry air. I warn you that searching for information or images on this subject can be quite upsetting, so the more squeamish reader should just take it from me that these people are quite well-preserved, but they’re not “life-like”. Nobody would be at all impressed if you had them in your house. This is probably an understatement. You should expect a Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs kind of reaction if you’re keeping dead people in glass cubes. I imagine the people at the patents office were relieved that they received “no specimens” of Karwowski’s method.
It’s sad, though, that when Mr. Karwowski died he was probably buried or cremated like everybody else instead of being magnificently, vitreously entombed. For all eternity, the world’s heaviest paperweight.
Tripping on domestic meat
(Customary wow, somehow it’s been nearly two months since I posted anything apologetic preamble.)
Our Japanese cousins– specifically the Japan National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations– have again excelled themselves in applying the kawaii aesthetic to a wholly inappropriate subject. Why are you so “gloomy”, as demonstrated by the girl in this clip? It’s because you don’t get enough “domestic meat” inside you. Yes, the first few lines of this video are “Kokusan no oniku / kokusan no oniku/ Nikku niku”… “Domestic meat / domestic meat / Meat, meat” and in case you were wondering, the subtle message is that you should eat lots of domestic meat. Domestic meat appears to be laced with a combination of Ecstacy and LSD, but this is BONUS SUPAA NIHON CANDY FLIPPU FEATURE and not a defect. Luckily the protein-starved girl receives a cloud visit from a horned and blonde-haired androgyne in a toga accompanied by a blue cow who is completely off her udders on drugs and has pupils (perhaps appropriately) the size of dinner plates.
Meanwhile the girl’s parents have spent the afternoon eating pretend food from empty bowls and stroking imaginary patterns on the kitchen cabinets, so they’re thrilled at the arrival of a blue cow, somebody in archaic Grecian attire, and their daughter brandishing a packet of domestic meat.
That domestic meat is some good shit, man.
Tongue twisters, extracted from a text book about folklore I’m currently reading for reasons I won’t bore you with right now.
This one was apparently passed on by a Jesuit priest in California who was taught it many decades previously by an old Shakespearean actor who gave private elocution lessons in San Francisco:
Amidst the mists and frosts the coldest,
With wrists the barest and heart the boldest,
He stuck his fists into posts the oldest,
And still insisted there were ghosts on Sixth Street.
The first three (below) were reported by people who’d auditioned, worked in radio or had therapy for speech impediments. The tongue twisters on the second list are old, but still known today or until the recent past. Peter Piper was already old in the 17th century, when it was first collected in a book. The third set are newer. I remember some of them from acting classes, especially Peggy Babcock, the lengthy version of Peter Piper, and “red leather yellow leather”. That last one isn’t in the book, although clearly it’s known in the USA or from there because I distinctly recall a nervous Don Draper having a little red leather yellow leather moment in an episode of Mad Men. For those who don’t know already, you shouldn’t feel smug if you can say any of these once, slowly… although some people are shocked to find they can’t even do that. The idea is that you say them fast, repeatedly. Some of them are easy to say once but inexplicably difficult to say three or four times in a row, “black bug’s blood” for example.
Get your tongues ready. No, not you Miley. We’ve all seen enough of your tongue, I think.