Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Ain't it grand to be bloomin' well dead.

I shan't be squeezing into my corset again this evening, after a fabulous night at the Ric Rac on Saturday I swear my ribs are quite bruised.

I hope the talented Mr Hanson Leatherby doesn't mind me sharing his pic of myself and the chap...

In the absence of a party to go to (and it still being working hours n'all) I've been listening to some Halloween themed vintage somgs.

Here, for your listening pleasure, is the wonderful Leslie Sarony from 1932:

Happy Hallowe'en all.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Singin' in the Rain?

So, let me start by saying something that my fella would find abhorrent. Well. Ummm.

I don’t really like the theatre

I don’ the theatre.

"Excuse me?"


I am, unashamedly, a child of the television era. I like my drama realistic and the acting believable. I struggle to take seriously the rounded plumy booming voices, exaggerated facial expressions and dramatic flourishes used on the stage. They irritate me. I laugh, scornfully. Yeah, I’m a bit of a dick like that.

I’m also especially riled by musical theatre. I just cannot understand people who clamour to get tickets to The Lion King, and, frankly I’d rather get my bikini line waxed than be forced to endure the sheer horror of "We Will Rock You”

Musical theatre face - I want to kick each one of them in the nads.

Tell me that these faces don't annoy you.


Finally, I don’t think classic films should be remade (read: tampered with).

So, you may well wonder why I accepted the offer of free tickets for Singin’ in the Rain.

Well – it was free, there was a free drink included, I’d get to catch up with some pals and...well...I was really hoping for a chance to write a scathing blog post about how dreadful I thought it was. I wanted to have a good old moan about the acting, the poor costumes, how they has ruined a classic...

I’m so very annoyed. So very, very annoyed, because, bugger me sideways, I really enjoyed it.

Yes, it was hammy, but it was meant to be – it is a script about hammy actors. Yes, there was singing, but I know all the songs from the film anyway.

So, yes, I admit it. I enjoyed a play.

What did I like about it? Well, the dancing was excellent, obviously not as good as the original movie as Gene Kelly cannot be matched, but still very impressive. Scarlett Strallon (part of the seemingly ever growing clan of Strallon sisters in the West end – are they cloned in a lab somewhere) makes an great Kathy and has a lovely singing voice. The costumes weren’t half bad either – some a little too 1930s for 1927 and some a little too short (flappers didn’t wear miniskirts – sigh) – but overall pretty good. The rain effect was impressive too and I very much enjoyed sitting in the dress circle with a great view, watching the first few rows of the audience get soaking wet. Hehheheheheheh.

What I didn’t like – well the first half was long. Usually a long first half is a good thing as my interest tends to wane in the interval, but thanks to the free wine I started needing the toilet at about an hour in. Another 30 minutes or so later the rain scene started. Cue myself and about 90% of the audience wriggling and wiggling in discomfort. Not the greatest plan really.

Also, somewhat controversially given her rave reviews, I was not greatly enamoured of Katherine Kingsley’s turn as Lina Lamont – the silent movie actress who finds her career in tatters when it turns out she can’t sing and has a Brooklyn accented speaking voice that clashes with her elegant film star persona. She was too shrill, too cartoonish, the voice so overblown as to render it humourless by the time of her turn to sing “What’s Wrong with Me.”

Oh, and the sunglasses they had her wear at the start of the play were just....wrong.

These are 20’s sunglasses:

These are not:

Ah, the white Rayban, as worn by Bieber and Paris Hilton. 
Impossible to wear without looking like an arse.

So.  As much as it pains me to say it, its a great show.

Go and see it.  Really.


1920s mod?

Am I missing something here?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Knitting: 4ply and a big sigh

Just a quick  knitting update to show you what I'm working on this evening.  I've just finished a project in a very cheap chunky yarn (King Cole Magnum) and have resolved that, once I've used up the remaining acrylics in my stash, I'm NEVER using artificial fibres again. 

To me they look cheap when knitted up and really don't benefit much from blocking.  Blocking can cure a million knitting sins but not with acrylic yarn.  I think the problem is exacerbated in chunkier acrylics too as they don't have the required weight to create that vintage look I'm going for. Sigh.

Still, this will do fine for work days until I can be bothered to rekinit the pattern in a decent yarn and the vintage shell buttons are nice.  Ho hum.

Ugh, it flares too much at the waist, it curls at the hem and the crochet is too loose. 

On the needles is a wool/acrylic blend yarn but as it is a blend and only 4-ply, it seems to be OK so far.

The jumper is a pattern from the original "A Stitch in Time"and is very simple in a waved rib.  I have so far completed the back and about a quarter of the front.  Everything is going to speed up now that I have moved past the mind numbing rib.

the back

detail and a cat's paw...
The book

The original
 Anyway - back to Downton and my knitting.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

I can resist everything, except temptation.

Bugger this no spending lark, I'm just not good at it.  you see, the thing is, I work right slap bang next to Spitalfields Market and on a Thursday lunchtime it is the vintage / antique market and well...the rest is obvious.

I visited today trying to hunt down some reasonably priced vintage black crochet gloves.  I have several cream and white pairs but really want a dark pair.  I'd dye some but thats a lotta dye for a very small item.  hmmm...

Aaaaaanyway.  lookit wot I bought:

Pretty little hankies - did people buy these as decorative items or clothing? 
They are too good to actually be used for blowing ones snozz on.

A length of very pretty emrodered fabric that I will use as a belt on a 30s cardigan I have yet to knit. 
Now, to decide which colour from this I'll knit the cardy in...

Haircombs! Diamante hair combs! With all the stones intact!

And a length of French lace, great condition, god knows the date - I think 50s.
I'm happy now. 

Is it wrong that shopping makes me happy?


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Unlikely style icons - working class glamour

I watched a Poirot again, no great shakes, I watch A LOT of Poirot and have previously posted about my love of Miss Lemon and especially her famed red cardigan.

I was thinking though, as I watched it, about unlikely style icons.  I have a lot. 

Lets start with my icons of working class glamour...big hair, heavy make up, tights clothing and lots of sparkle.  All hail the soap divas.

Pat Butcher:

Oh Pat, Pat.  I almost wept when this brassy blonde left our screens this year.  Yes, her look was stuck in the 80s but she really was the Queen of statement jewellery and, along with a penchant for leopard print and pink eyeshadow she really brightened up my weekday evenings.

dangly earrings and bright lipstick...phwoar

not just a camel coat, a camel coat with a huge fur collar!

Red leopard print, that's right RED leopard print.

the perfect 50s style head scarf
 Bet Lynch

All hail the queen of leopard print.  If you are looking for a fierce, animal print clad diva then Bet is it.  Big 60s beehive, tight leather miniskirts - its a late 50s early 60s working class look that wouldn't be out of place on a Rockabilly pin up.  Feast those peepers:

Who doesn't love a leopard print fur, right?

Curls and a flower in the hair, awww. Admit it, all you can see if the cleavage.

Another leopard fur

This looks a lot like a 50s beachwear pose to me, love it

Mine's a pint, ta love.

Elsie Tanner

Another Corrie great here, and sadly one that pre-dates me.  I have to get my fill of Our Else by googling. By 'eck is it worth it though.

More fur, gotta have fur.

Piontu boobs, gotta have pointy boobs

A suit, a fur, gloves, pearls...

Look at that waist!

I'll be back soon with another instalment.  ;-)

Look what I've got

Yep. I finally got one of the pin curler things everyone got sent free to review last year. I missed the freebie as I was not blogging at the time. Eejit.

I can already tell I'm going to love this though.

I wanna play with it now but I'm at work.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A little shopping splurge

Goshdarnit! I had been so good, two weeks of buying nothing but a knitting pattern and some yarn and then, kaboom, I get the urge to splurge. Well, I didn’t go too mad, but still.
Yesterday I went for a wander round the local vintage shops in my area, starting off at the car boot sale (nothing) and then the usually painful experience of Beyond Retro, Dalston. Sigh. “Beyond Retro” - by that they mean “almost entirely 1980s apart from one ripped and stained 50s ballgown with a 22inch waist”. Sigh.
Still, I had the shopping bug and was determined to find something, and here it is.

The most perfect little shrug. I’m not sure what fur it is (I think it might be mink as it is dark and fairly soft yet dense) or have any idea of the date but I assume 50’s. It is very well made, fully lined with a rich chocolate brown floral sprigged silk satin and featuring arm loops to hold the garment on and give it structure. There are also two shallow lined pockets, one still full of confetti from a wedding its owner must have attended.

Aside from being a little squashed from its journey (all Beyond Retro clothing seems to have been highly compressed in damp conditions before arriving on the shop floor – I assume their bales of clothes travel over by sea) it is in mint condition, no rips, bald patches or devils dust, and it fits me perfectly on the shoulders. Just the thing for the upcoming party season.

I’ve done a little digging into the company in an attempt to date the item and it seems that Douglas Moore furs is still going in Renfrew, Ontario. This article from 1972 talks about the family who took over the company in 1960 but doesn’t give any earlier info. I’m thinking of dropping them a line though, out of interest.

I also picked up a couple of little berets for winter. A plain black one of no vintage whatsoever (HOW did I not have one of these already) and the most ridiculous carpet bag effect piece. How I’ll wear I do not know. I just couldn’t leave it in the shop. It has the Union Made logo too, and looking at Millinery Union labels I peg it at mid-late 50s. Still, its a pretty universal look (I mean, really, it looks Tudor, right? :-P)

does anyone here have any more knowledge of dating furs that they can share?

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Humph. Harrumph.

I spent an entire hour reshaping my eyebrows last night and can barely see a difference.

Thinner, perhaps?

Friday, 12 October 2012

In defence of the headscarf

Today I have been accused of "copping out" by wearing a headscarf to work.  Apparently the be-headscarfed 40s look is cliche and lazy and wasn't really that common.

So, in defence of the headscarf, please enjoy the below: