Saturday, 21 May 2022

heads or tails

In anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of the first pride rally in London, 1 July 1972—chosen for the nearest available date to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969—the Royal Mint is releasing a commemorative rainbow LGBTQIA+ fifty pence coin designed by artist and activist Dominique Holmes. The obverse of course like all monies features her Majesty. More at It’s Nice That at the link above.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

a show with everything but yul brenner

After previews and the critically-acclaimed release of a concept album, the musical collaboration by ABBA members Benny Andersson and Bjรถrn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice had its premiere in London’s West End on this day in 1986, depicting geopolitical tensions of the Cold War through the lens of a tournament between two grandmasters of the game, loosely based on the game careers of Bobby Fischer (Murray Head) and Anatoly Karpov (Tommy Kรถrberg) whose stakes were reflective of the sentiment of the era and the Reagan, Thatcher Doctrine of the mid-80s. Songs include of course “One Night in Bangkok.” Full-length bootleg recording of the original cast below.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

7x7

homo loquax: Futility Closet refers us to an expanded listing for the taxonomical name sapient human with some choice Latinate adjectives to describe us 

crate-digging: Jimmy Carter’s grandson is exploring the White House’s surprisingly hip vinyl collection—via Messy Nessy Chic  

le bestiaire fabuleux: a 1948 artists’ collaboration of a surreal and abstract menagerie—see also  

sabbatical: Jason Kottke takes a break from blogging and poses the questions that probably haunt everyone in this community—come back soon  

mรถrkrets makter: the very different (though retaining the epistolary format) unauthorised translation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula familiar to Icelanders  

stratification: exploring the historic map layers of London—via Things Magazine  

word-horde: daily vocabulary lessons in Anglo-Saxon words

Friday, 6 May 2022

blitzcrete

Via the always intriguing Things Magazine, we quite enjoyed this introduction to the architectural vernacular of John Outram with news of his long overdue revival. Active since 1974 and producing a series of polychromatic public spaces that reference the temples of Antiquity. Commissions include the Pumping Station on the Isle of Dogs, projects for Cambridge and Rice University in Houston, Texas, the refurbished Old Town Hall of the Hague plus an unrealised shopping promenade for Battersea Power Station.

7x7

⚠️: a pictogramatical survey of caution wet floor signs—via Pasa Bon!  

load-bearing bifurcation: engineers incorporate sturdy, often-discarded tree forks in construction  

thameside tv: clips from London’s first pirate station—see also  

no tofu: the Noto typeface (previously) a suite of emoji  

unit patch: the more inscrutable badges of the US Space Force—see previously  

pocket mac: the process of designing a fake vintage product 

: Unicode Consortium’s growing list of astronomical glyphs, magical charms

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

strange drama of a captive sweetheart

Based on the 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton of the same name, the psychological thriller by George Cukor starring Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, Charles Boyer and introducing Angela Lansbury has its theatrical premiere on this day in 1944. To avoid confusion with a previous adaptation from four years prior, it was released as The Murder in Thorton Square for the UK box office, while the 1940 film was titled Angel Street in America. While departing from the stage piece significantly, the plot remains true to the essential premise of a husband undermining his wife’s grasp on reality in order to cover up his own crime spree, gradually isolating her from society and accusing her of kleptomaniacal tendencies. The title has been denominalised (that is—verbed) by popular psychology to describe the manipulation of Bergman’s character, persuaded that when she noticed the lamps dimming and flickering (as Boyer had brought up the lights on the sealed off upper storeys) it was all in her imagination. Though uncredited, the role of the butler was played by actor and entertainer and Hollywood that-guy Arthur Blake who was a respected female impersonator whose act included Zazu Pitts, Tallulah Bankhead, Carmen Miranda and Betty Davis among other celebrities and was even invited to the White House by FDR to do his impersonation of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, much to her delight.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

7x7

elizabeth tower: a tour inside of Big Ben—see previously  

the nine octave harp of the universe: outside scientist Walter Russell—for whom Nikola Telsa said the world was unprepared  

weblog: a nodal map of some of the blogosphere—via Things Magazine  

quilting bee: everyday signage as fabric mosaics by Jeffrey Sincich  

the panic office: fantasy arcade game casings

๐Ÿฃ: a gallery of of beautiful 1920s Japanese postcards   

dangerous intersection: decades of traffic collisions and other corner happenings captured by a young photographer (see also)

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

curtail call

On this day, Easter Monday, in 1992 Wembley Stadium, broadcast live to an estimated global audience of one billion spectators, hosted a tribute concert to Freddie Mercury (previously), whom had died of AIDS-related complications the previous November with proceeds launching an AIDS charity trust. The first part of the concert featured musicians performing short-sets of songs influenced by Queen and the latter section featured performances with the remaining members of the band, including Elton John on piano for “Bohemian Rhapsody” the iconic duet of Annie Lennox and David Bowie singing “Under Pressure.” The final number, “We are the Champions,” was led by Liza Minnelli and included everyone who had participated in the concert.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

jacob and sons

Originally recorded as a children’s pop cantata in 1968 at Cole Court School for Boys and workshopped some more before becoming a full-fledged fixture in the repertoire of musical theatre, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber collaborated with the group The Mixed Bag to produce The Joseph Consortium in 1971, a cross between rock opera and psychedelic kids show (previsioning another parallel composition) that was a retelling of the biblical figure and patriarch of the Book of Genesis, Joseph.  Any dream will do.

Friday, 1 April 2022

w1a

We quite enjoyed learning about the somewhat inscrutable (to an outsider) rationale and reason behind the postcodes of London in this special exhibition on the Victorian origins of the assignments, how a WWII-era code-breaking computer facilitated sorting technology and what one’s address means in terms of signifiers internally and externally. To promote the adoption and accurate use of postcodes from the late 1950s onwards, the Royal Mail had a mascot, like Mister Zip across the Pond.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

rolling stock

Retelling the story of the “Little Engine that Could” with love-interest and with due inspirational credit given to Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, the Andrew Lloyd Weber and Richard Stilgoe musical spectacle with all principals and dancers portraying locomotives on roller skates had its debut on the West End in the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Following a year-long run on Broadway, the show came to the industrial city of Bochum in 1988, and hosted in a custom-built theatre (designed like a skating rink) has become the most attended musical in Germany, still running and seen by over seventeen million. Much more, including the original cast recording of the musical numbers and various performance highlights at the link above.

Friday, 11 March 2022

portrait studio

We quite enjoyed learning about early colour film process and the society photographer and activist of 1930s London styled as Madame Yevonde who not only costumed and captured aristocratic women, actresses and dignitaries in ways that brought out their glamour and style, her commission often appeared in magazines of the day.  Having pioneered colour photos (see also) and helped to legitimatise the format that was held in lower esteem over black-and-white and associated with the novelty and sentiment of hand-tinting, Madame Yevonde’s career-trajectory was radically altered with the war which saw the only laboratory developing colour prints shut down and repurposed, working with only monochrome film for the rest of her professional years. See a whole gallery of her works at Messy Nessy Chic at the link up top.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

8x8

catwalk: the home of architect of Vittorio Garatti in Milan—via Messy Nessy Chic  

inktrap: a Japanese typeface design book from 1957—via Present /&/ Correct  

operation danube: the Soviet invasion of Prague (see previously) in pictures—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

east-enders: a retrospective look at women protesting for peace in the 1980s in London  

river antban country club: blindly, an AI tries naming golfing ranges (see previously

carrousel: Logan’s Run plus spin-offs—see previously

bones mccoy: a compilation of Deforest Kelley pronouncing  

not chav: a fresh perspective on London’s council houses

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

chipping norten

On the heels of London’s announcement to belatedly amend for years of courting and suffering oligarchs parking their money in real estate that’s out-priced everyone else and another leak regarding the secreted bank accounts of the wealthy and powerful, Things Magazine presents a medley of tone-deaf and ill-timed revelations on past injustice and the debut of a planned, Palladium Garage Mal Hal neighbouring Blenheim Palace, which is only in the range of said above bad actors.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

9x9

platinum geezer: our London correspondent reflects on the Queen’s jubilee by the numbers  

snow-drifting: artist Alexander Deineka’s celebration of winter sports in the USSR  

nunsexmonkrock: Nina Hagen’s (previously) legendary masterpiece extolled as it deserves  

definitely did not used to be a pizza hut: an investigation into the camouflage (see previously) of franchise blight—via the morning news  

biblioclasm: more books, press outlets, educators under fire as potentially subversive, challenging  

king of the mountain: fours goats play on a sheet metal shelter  

celebrity-ntf complex: the race is on to find the remaining marks and rubes before the bottom falls out

cockney cats: vintage feline photos collected by Spitalfields Life  

hrm: Pietro Annigoni’s 1969 portrait of the Queen

Sunday, 23 January 2022

underground, uniform

A prominent sportswear label has partnered with London’s Public Transport Authority to produce warm-up football kit for a local club inspired by the disruptive moquette used on the Piccadilly Line, whose home pitch is the namesake of one of the route’s stops. More from Dezeen on the design collaboration at the link above.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

video et taceo

Never destined for the monarchy and declared illegitimate by her father Henry VIII who had her mother Anne Boleyn executed on the charge of treason, succeeded after Henry’s death by half-brother Edward VI, who against Salic law bypassed his sectarian siblings and bequeathed the throne to Lady Jane Grey only to be deposed by her older sister, Mary—known as Bloody Mary for her violent suppression of Protestants—and imprisoned for her Protestant sympathies, Elizabeth (*1533 - †1603) inherited the crown upon Mary’s death in November of the previous year, holding her coronation on this day in 1559, adopting her above motto—I observe and stay quiet, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. Though at times bellicose and indecisive—never naming a successor and possibly paranoid like her father, especially after the Pope released her subjects from their obligation of allegiance to her but perhaps strategically since even a queen in her own right would have been in her time below her husband’s station, her forty-four year reign was a time of economic and cultural prosperity that helped forge a national identity and built the Church of England and the organisational structure of Great Britain.