Monday, May 3, 2010

Inexpensive antiques

Every Wednesday before picking my little bro up from school - a weekly ritual I'm fond of, it is nothing like the rest of my week - I usually manage to fit in a quick visit to the Sallies in Royal Oak. Near where there once was an all-you-can-eat Pizza Hut. Definitely the best op shop I manage to get to on any sort of regular basis, and much like Royal Oak/north-end Onehunga itself, populated by a mix of those who appreciate op shop aesthetics and those who appreciate op shop prices (and many who dig both). Last week I picked up a small handful of things - a wooden frame, a(nother) mug, and this book: 'Collecting Inexpensive Antiques' by Plantagenet Somerset Fry.

I read the whole thing last night. Awesome colour photos on nearly every page, and a really fascinating insight into what you'd find if you were shopping for old stuff, old cheap stuff, in 1979 (when this book was published). This is something I've wondered about many times.

Highlights include: he nostalges about toys he had as a kid in a tone reassuringly similar to the 'dude I fuckin loved STREET SHARKS too! mean!' 90s-lovin' fervour you get these days, except he's talking about lead models of French warships. He recommends you get a bunch of old tins and use them for their original purposes. I like that.

Mostly, and unsurprisingly, he recommends plenty of stuff accompanied by phrases like 'a few years back they couldn't give these away... but now you might be set back about five pounds', most of which you could only hope to find at the shiniest and most alienatingly, boringly expensive antique shops these days.

I had never heard of these before. Polyphons - very old music-box style music players, "our grandfathers' jukebox or nickelodeon", so says Plantagenet, who likes to mention our grandfathers a lot - used discs with little perforated holes arranged in them, which, quoting Plant again, would cause "small metal lugs to drop down and thus strike a series of metal keys in an order which produced a popular tune, probably a favourite music hall song or an air from a Gilbert and Sullivan opera." Cool. I don't know how to embed shit.

Also, apparently walking sticks used to be an essential fashion accessory for young dudes, and the coolest ones were dual-purpose: stick with hidden knife, or stick with hidden BOTTLE.

I could almost go on about the stuff in this book for longer than the book itself.

Sadly, Plantagenet Somerset Fry is one of the few people to make it into the Wikipedia list of 'Historians who have committed suicide'. Wikipedia requests this category be populated further, but that's actually not a good idea. Anyways, thanks PS Fry, for writing this neat as book.

In other news, National Radio right now are discussing quite interestingly how the internet can be said to encourage narrow thought. And the announcer just glibly talked over the end of 'Under Pressure', the song voted by some person today as the best song ever: "Finger clicks. And fade out." I thought only I talked over songs like that on the radio.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Drunkard's dream

Stop the press: I've decided I like indoor plants. The one to the far left is called 'Drunkard's Dream' for some reason. (two seconds of googling later) - the reason being that its jointed stems look a bit like whisky bottles. The internet has long since done away with "for some reason", I suppose.

One sweet shopping day

All from op shops in Glen Innes. Yeah, that thing in the foreground is a Super Mario embroidered denim jacket. Not photographed: a pinstripe suit, grey and blue, perfect fit (!).

I will let you know how I enjoy Murder in the English Department.