The eerie and enchanting world of early cinema

Good afternoon and Merry New Year! Just a quick post to share with you some of my favourite vintage cinema films.

Not only were people excited by the idea that movement could finally be preserved, but their story telling imagination had free reign. Enjoy!

First is the 1897 film The Dancing Skeleton by the Lumiere Brothers:

Here’s the 1903 film Kingdom of Fairies by George Melies (of a Trip to the Moon fame):

Next is the jaunty (and possibly a little creepy) 1933 experimental musical animation The Peanut Vendor by Len Lye. Annoy your friends by singing it constantly!

Next up is dancer Lina Esbrard in a 1902 film by Alice Guy-Blache (yes, lady film makers existed):

And finally I leave you with another ‘spooky’ (but quite cute) offering by Melies, the 1903 film The Monster:

21 Vintage Postcards of Krampus That Will Haunt Your Dreams

Apparently in some European countries Krampus is the dark side of Santa, and follows him around doling out payback to all the children who’ve been naughty. Have a look at the blog post and show your children whenever they misbehave and you’re rich enough to pay for therapy sessions once they get older.

Disturbing adverts

Sometimes misjudged, sometimes out of date ‘science’ or vintage aesthetics and sometimes what those hip cats in their cafes call ‘edgy,’ here is a selection of ads that are sure to make you laugh, and weep, and maybe laugh again while weeping.

Laxative will never be a groovy product but you know what might help? A disturbing drawing on the medical packaging. laxative tablet vintage

If you’ve ever wanted to see a baby wrapped in cellophane or read the tagline “They’re young, they’re in love, they eat lard,” pop over to this link and have a look through these vintage ads.

The advert below appeared when I was in my teens and was the only one I didn’t mind watching:

Apparently what kids in the 60s wanted were “dolls with human souls.” It’s obvious the very last second has been added to but just ignore it.

What cigarette do you smoke, doctor?

You know what your face needs? Radiation:

Let’s end on a sour note! On my advert travels I happened upon this Finnish ad on how children view their parents when they’ve been drinking. Have fun:

Heroin, dating and popularity: life the 50s infomercial way

I don’t know what it is about these videos that makes me chuckle so, but they really do. Some of them are quite sweet, some are bordeline offensive, and for a happy life all require you to be middle class and white.

First is Choosing For Happiness, a film where Eve is slowly made to realise that her mostly quite valid concerns should be squashed if she’s to have anyone put up with her:

Next up is that quandry that faces us all, how to be a square without our friends hating us! Moral Maturity shows us.

Now the opposite end of the spectrum, Drug Addiction. What happens when one suddenly finds themselves addicted to heroin? The particularly clunky dialogue in this one really makes me laugh:

Here Woody shows us how to ask for a date in Dating Dos and Don’ts (made in 1947 but still counts). Wow, that girl is a bitch, is he sure he wants to go with her?

And now he shows us how to make girls angry when you drop them off

Here’s another clip considering the problems of How to Date:

Finally, the all important concern: Are You Popular? All the boys are happy to park with Jenny but apparently this doesn’t make her popular the next day. Dammit, I knew I was doing something wrong!

Prostitutes and progress: the Victorians

The Victorian era is a continuing source of fascination for writers and artists alike whether it be a steampunk science fiction angle, high class manners and repressed pennyroyal-pillaffections or the out and out seediness lurking underneath. Why don’t we have a look at the various elements that draw us to them?

1. Repression. Certain things could not be discussed, even going to the toilet (what did women do around town? I’ve read a few articles which suggest they ducked down an alley but I don’t know how reliable that is). Unlike today where you can call a friend to go down the clinic and collect the morning after pill, such things back then were treated with the utmost discretion.

However there is always a way round things as this genuine advert from the era on victorianlondon.org suggests (Pennyroyal has abortive qualities). Have a look at the others; hair removal was a concern back then too.

Women’s bodies were a thing to be feared as their own wombs could cause hysteria. This led to some … interesting inventions, advertised with the usual subtlety. Or if you prefer a more direct approach have a look at this!

The invention of the camera led to uses other than miserable family photos. If you knew where to go (ie. Holywell street in London) you could find images of those accodomating ladies of the night and maybe one or two of those well-known filthy types, actresses.

2. Bizarre cures. With marijuana, cocaine and opium (or Laudenum) all legal in the laudanum-side-apharmacies it’s a wonder anyone got anything done. Laudanum was also known as ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ and certainly kept a few babies quiet.

As well as this there were a number of ‘quack medicine’ products ie. stuff that didn’t work, flooding the market, including the relatively new and exciting idea that ‘electricity was life’.

Another intriguing cure idea was mesmerism.

3. Science vs superstition. It’s interesting that, in a time of great scientific ectoplasmprogress, much of the average public were turning to Spiritualism (and trickery). Gothic fiction became increasingly popular (as well as penny dreadfuls for the lower classes) and seances became the cool new thing to do, leading to some spooky photos if nothing else, as well as these posters.

4. Sideshows. Though these still occur in some parts of the world it’s difficult for us to comprehend that not only were people displayed in such a way, but they were exhalted as celebrities. After visiting perhaps a menagerie or pleasure garden, people would go along to a show. Joseph Merrick was possibly the One Direction of his day. OK, nobody deserves that, but you see what I’m saying. The posters are a colourful testament to a very peculiar point in history.

Well, there we have it, the weird and wonderful world of the Victorians. There’s so much more to say about them but it’s a start, and certainly their legacy will amuse and confuse us for decades to come. Visit blog ‘Diary of a Victorian Surgeon‘ for a glimpse into the daily life of a man who must have seen it all. Byee!

Easy DIY vintage and alternative fashion and hair tutorials

It’s the New Year! OK it’s been the new year for a little while but I heard lots of birds today and it made me think of spring, therefore it only really became new year properly for me today. You know what I mean. And a new year means a new look. Sometimes. Well, the magazines keep telling me this and they wouldn’t lie, would they?

Anyway… after you’ve read the article I posted a while ago on looking and feeling vintage, here are various tutorials you may find useful. From everyone’s favourite make up muse Edie Sedgwick to modern gothic, from 20s flapper to hippie/metal/whatever dreadlocks, punk to steampunk and blacklight parties it’s all right here. Hooray!

First, because I used to have dreadlocks and I still love them, is a how to:

If real dreads are too much of a frightening commitment, here’s how to do them in wool:

Next up some gothicness. Here is MissChievous’ make-up tutorial:

The ‘Tim Burton’ look from Michelle Phan:

Antimony and Lace is a site dedicated to tutorials on do it yourself goth clothes, and Goth.net is a community site for sharing clothes tips and the like.

Quite a sweet tutorial for rock types on making shredded leggings. My favourite part was the cat:

Here’s a wiki how on making your own punk clothes.

Who wouldn’t want to dye their hair rainbow?!:

The ‘Queen of Blending’ shows us how to perfect the drag queen/faerie/bizarre look:

‘Pixiwoo’ provides tips on getting the look of the lady who inspired many alternative fashion fanatics, Edie Sedgwick:

And here’s a little blog post on her general look. Check the bottom for links to articles about her.

‘The Cherry Dollface’ shows us a 50s hairstyle, picked from her many vintage tutorials:

Steampunk stuff is expensive and complicated, right? Not necessarily:

Get the flapper look:

And her make up:

Finally here is the mookychick guide to setting up a blacklight room.

Well, there we have it, quite a number of top tips for the average alternative type. May you have a jolly old time with it this year. Good byee!

Bizarre fashion predictions from the distant past (some intentional, some not)

Well hello! Icicles hang from the trees outside (unless you’re in Australia, in which case I still can’t get my head round your weather, now sort it out). With the festive party season drawing near I’m sure everyone is wondering what to wear, and as I may have mentioned I love unusual and alternative fashion.

Why not take the old advice and learn from history? They appear to have had a spooky pre-knowledge for what the catwalks of today hold.

Before Lady Gaga was even a concept of a twinkle in the eye, this bacon sporting Bacongentleman from 1894 and hardware displaying banner-girllady from the 1890s were strutting the streets. Of course, the man is taking part in a fancy dress party and the lady is a ‘banner woman’ for a hardware shop, but this diminishes nothing.

This 1917 May Queen must have seen My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding in her sleep: May

Next up Big Brother was watching the Georgians long before Orwell or (sigh) that TV programme that will not end.

Apparently owning a small framed picture of someone’s eye on your person was quite in vogue, though they had very different meanings in France and England.

To the French it symbolised watchfulness, whereas to the English it was usually a token of love: georgian-eye-jewellery

OK enough fannying about (it’s an English expression in case you’re unfamiliar), now for the serious stuff.

These billiant predictions appeared in The Strand magazine (very prestigious London publication) in 1893.

They’re all fascinating and the designers have used the past as inspiration. I fashion-predictionsrecommend you have a jaunt on over to the original post of this even if you don’t the others, but I think this one obscurely deciding that society will form a medieval circus is my favourite:

Finally I absolutely love this news item from the 1930s. Designers collaborated to predict what we would be wearing in 2000. Ooh, swish!