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What is this? All on a dingy December morn, sometime in eighteen-ninety-something, here's a befogged street corner, illumined by the orange hue of Cosmé's poppy-blazoned blouse.

Must adjust hat to louche angle before venturing forth to sell scandal sheets to wannabe aesthetes.

A street corner? Not a nice place for a well-brought-up article of the Cosmé type, surely!

But Stay: "Extra! Extra! Read all about it," the creature cries.

Ah, that's what it is: the dear thing has found a little job! Well, you know, 'The Haut Boy's Own Paper*' shan't sell itself (and neither shall Cosmé, before you say such a thing, thou slyness!). [*This estimable organ may perchance be an ancestor of 'Cor Anglais!' mag.]

Two amulets are better than one - insurance for the superstitious aesthete! ;-)

Yes, this is the periodical of choice for the callow aesthete. Contents may include articles on the niceties of dress ('Satin v. Grosgrain: Ribbons Unravelled' - that sort of thing) and what to say at social gatherings in order to appear amusing (Sample Quotation: "All that I know of Oscar Wilde, I learned from tea towels and fridge magnets" - C. Penhallon Silcott).

The pattern on this top could successfully mesmerise a weak-minded person.

As for the front page, it bears a headline, set in a new and florid font inspired by (a) illuminated capitals and (b) opium hangover. (It is barely readable but looks adorable - like the face of a beautiful stranger!)

Today's number announces a miracle: 'PEACOCK LAYS EGG'.

Alas, this is the sin of journalism being committed before our very eyes. Upon deciphering the text of the article (which is hard to do: it's white on black, cuneiform-inflected, with green and gold highlights), we find that what is meant is that the peacock wandered into its owner's study and was encouraged to settle upon a bibelot or trifle from the atelier of Carl Fabergé. 'Peacock Lays Upon Egg' might have been a fairer summary, though less intriguing.

The sub-heading - 'MAN FAINTS' - is more straightforward. That was the sequel to the tableau; for when the peacock stood up again, its owner saw that it had, ahem, autographed the precious ovoid in the inimitable manner of the avian tribe.

Well, really. What grotesque frivolity! I can't imagine young C. will stick too long at this profession.

"Tomorrow's fish-and-chip wrappers" is a sad epitaph for a journal of such ornamental pretensions, but in becoming such it achieves equality with all its fellows (whether high or low brow) - just as human creatures do, eventually, in grave or urn. SIGH.

So, Traveller, turn the page of Fate! Time to seek simplicity, far from such hectic folly.

Grammar Of Ornament:

Hat - I own no Newsboy Cap, they are always too big for my stupidly-small head. Green hat - you've seen it before - from Purveyor of Scots Accoutrements on the Bay of E.
Florid Blouse - a wowie-zowie '70s mutant beast found on Etsy.
Frilled Shirt - Etsy again! Best place for cheap interesting clothes. (Also seen before.)
Tweed Shorts - from a 'sample sale' shop in Exeter. One tends to assume 'sample' means 'unwearably small', but everything in there seemed to be a size Medium.
Brown Boots - bargain at BHS. Pros: real leather, very cheap. Cons: intended for wide feet (mine are on the narrow side of average) and display stupid modern habit of having laces AND a zip (pick one and stick to it, I say!). However, the style means it doesn't matter about the wide fitting, and at £18 a pair for leather shoes I will take two pairs please (one in brown, one in black) and never mind the zip!

Point of Fashion: Op-Art-Nouveau. ;-)

In Other News, one of our regular Thursday bookshop customers (our Pop.Cult. aficionado) tipped me off that there was a copy of Sparks' self-titled debut lp in the record shop next door. (Pedants, sit down: yes, on its first release it was Halfnelson's self-titled debut lp, until Halfnelson changed their name to Sparks and re-released the album.) It's a weird record, with a sort of warped-calliope, demented-cute air.

The band photo gives you a clue - Russell (2nd left) looks sweet in his sailor suit but Ron (far left) has evil-clown hair and kohl-rimmed eyes.

Yay, lyric insert (protruding from sleeve)! I've been lucky with these recently.

This album started off their career on a characteristic note of cheerfully-defiant eccentricity, covering controversial subject matter - death, incest, ballet - in a whimsical, insouciant, matter-of-fact way. With some of these songs it's impossible to say what they're really about (I mean, 'Roger' - any guesses?!). It's pop music from behind the mirror - under the wallpaper - growing through the plaster! The Bros. Mael seem like enthusiastic interplanetary tourists, offering us a visitor's take on Earth Culture. I guess that means there must be some planet out there where this all sounds Utterly Normal… ;-)

Instructive Diagram re. Weapons Of Choice. At this point, the band contained two sets of brothers - the Maels and the Mankeys (shame about the name!!), plus an unbrothered Feinstein on drums.

And Now I Shall Leave You, for there is a Kinder Egg on the table (...no Fabergé for me!) that wants eating… ^_^


( 7 confidences — Confide in me... )
Dec. 15th, 2013 12:18 pm (UTC)
I must be very weak-minded, because the pattern had me mesmerized!!

Enjoy your Kinder Egg :)
Dec. 24th, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, apologies for any neurological inconvenience caused! >.< Probably it works on open minds rather than weak ones...! :-)

I did, thank you! D. always brings me one when he goes to the village shop. ^_^
Dec. 15th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
It's like art nouveau in fashion! Another impressive matching! :)
Dec. 24th, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :-)
Dec. 18th, 2013 10:16 am (UTC)
Aha! 'tis the very album I purchased following your track posting, albeit mine is in compact disc format.
I do like it a lot; it definitely took me a few listens to get used to the quirks, then you have that moment where suddenly it all makes sense. They put in the most delicious little melodies, and always have an ear for a great hook. What I loved from the beginning is that it's not predictable. Often when hearing songs for the first time, you can predict where a melody is likely to go; it's wonderful to hear something that goes into unexpected places.
It reminds me a lot in places of bands I listened to growing up in the mid-late 90s, Silver Sun and Super Furry Animals in particular. In the latter case I suspect that is no co-incidence, as Sparks get a name-check on their debut album. 'Roger' is like a combination of The Jam's 'That's Entertainment' with The Rolling Stones' 'Lady Jane' played at too many RPM!
Dec. 24th, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! Unpredictable is definitely the right word - they certainly didn't repeat themselves in subsequent albums.

Your Britpop post a while ago brought back a few unexpected memories - I wasn't an avid record-buyer then, but never failed to watch TOTP. I'd totally forgotten about My Life Story - vague recollection of them having started out as buskers or something??
Dec. 30th, 2013 10:27 pm (UTC)
I hope you had a lovely Christmas and that New Years goes brilliantly! Love the photo in the cloche hat, too!
( 7 confidences — Confide in me... )

Eavesdrop, snoop, and sigh with yearning...

This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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