Monday, 29 May 2017

Two 1920s murder-mysteries

Ooooh, so close to recommended, these ones! Usually when I read old crime novels that have been republished, I find myself sort-of enjoying it, but also realising why the novel had lapsed out of print. The ones that stay in print – Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Raymond Chandler – are all first-rate, and the ones that have lapsed are not quite the same standard. These two by Anthony Berkeley are actually really good murder mysteries, but with problems that make them hard to recommend to modern readers. As is so often the case, it's our old acquaintance, Attitudes Of Their Time, causing the trouble.

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Flying Scotsman

Built in 1923.

Hauler of the first direct London to Edinburgh service (1928).

First British train to reach 100mph (1934).

Steaming through my town (today).

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Outfit post: sunshine psychedelia

Ten years ago, this dress would have been the stuff of my nightmares. Crimplene, exuberant pattern… not something I'd have touched. Three years ago I'd probably still have quickly skimmed over it on the rack. But isn't it funny how tastes shift and change? I spotted this last week in Secondhand Rose's Etsy shop and pounced immediately.

Tara King is still very much one of my style icons, and my initial thought was, 'It's Taralicious!' Looking more closely at her, though, she tended to wear block colours and mini skirts. It's not really very Tara at all, though I do think in its bright colours and psychedelic pattern it is true to the spirit of the last series of The Avengers, even if it's not what Tara herself would wear.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Caro Emerald: Emerald Island

When we went to see Caro Emerald live, I felt her new songs had an Ennio Morricone feel, as though they'd been influenced by the composer behind the soundtracks from the great spaghetti westerns. There was something about the arrangements… That meant I started listening to this EP expecting all sorts of odd instruments and sound effects, noticeable changes in tempo and so on. Yet I don't get that from the EP; tonally it feels closer to Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor than The Shocking Miss Emerald, but it's unmistakably Caro.

Caro's said that it was inspired by the 'exotica' genre of the 1950s/60s, but that doesn't come through half as much in the recordings as it does when the songs are played live. There's a mariachi note to the brass in 'Never Ever' , and plenty of brass in 'Whatchugot', but that sounds relatively modern to my ears, in the same way 'Back It Up' from Deleted Scenes does.

I prefer Shocking Miss to Cutting Room, and I think I prefer Cutting Room to this. 'The Ghost Of You', with its tango feel, and 'Tahitian Skies', which has a strangely-shifting melody, are my favourites, but there's nothing as immediately catchy as 'Liquid Lunch' or 'Pack Up The Louie'. Perhaps if I listen to it more I'll fall in love with it, but at the moment, this is one I don't feel is essential.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

Four 1960s fabrics and three 1960s brooches, all greenAre you on Instagram? I'm currently doing #thevintage fashionchallenge - each day has a theme, and you simply take an image each day to go with the theme. Some people don't like Instagram as they feel there's a lot of one-upmanship and promoting unreal expectations on there, but it really depends on who you follow. I like it because it's generally a very cheerful sort of social media, with people sharing good times and pretty things, and just about everyone could do with more of that. I've found it's got me to look afresh at my clothes and accessories, and it's made me realise I'm really lucky to have so many nice things that I love. Not as many nice things as a lot of bloggers own (most of my clothes fit into a single wardrobe) perhaps, but enough.

Today's theme was 'favourite colour', and I had to choose green. I have rather more green jewellery than I'd realised, too. That said, navy was a very strong contender; that's probably the colour I wear most. Tomorrow has an accessory theme; it's handbag time for me!

Monday, 1 May 2017

A Goody bag

If you read Goody's blog, you'll know she is the Queen of Accessorising. (And if you don't read it, you should, because she is the Queen of Accessorising.) She recently did a post featuring a navy handbag; I mentioned I was looking for a navy handbag, and she kindly said she'd send me one. And here it is! Isn't it splendid? I love the swooping curves of the suede and leather panels.

The label inside says it is a 'Life Stride' handbag. I did a quick Google search and it looks as though Life Stride are a shoe company – makes sense – and they're still going today. Thanks to the fact the company changed its typeface fairly regularly, I can be certain this particular bag is late 1950s-1960s. It looks it from the outside, but the label proves it. Isn't it nice when manufacturers are so considerate?

(On the subject of handbags, did you see Antiques Roadshow at the weekend? They had a vintage boxy bag with gold-plated interior with holders for things like lipstick and perfume, and it LIT UP. A light-up handbag? How cool is that?)

Being naughty in the best possible way, Goody sent me a pile of other things too.