Wednesday, 27 June 2012

UNdane Postcardiology: Tattoo Art Postcards

My postcard collection gets bigger, this time with tattoo-themed postcards found at Dover Bookshop on Earlham Street in London, UK

1 - Hoara Tipa Koinaki; Gottfried Lindauer; c. 1875. From Tattoo Art.
2 - Tattoo flash; Owen Jensen; 1920's. From Tattoo Art.
3 - Hori Ngakapa; Gottfried Lindauer. From Tattoo Art.
4 - Fantasy image of a female Pict; 17th century. From Tattoo Art.
5 - Tattoo flash; unknown; early 1900's. From Tattoo Art.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

UNdane Monday: Cecil Court, London

In the West End of London, hidden behind a theatre and a burger bar pretending to be a gourmet restaurant, there's Cecil Court, home of quirky antique and specialist bookshops that haven't changed in decades (over a century, in fact).

Cecil Court has a rich history. Also, it's blimmin' weird. Sort of like Diagon Alley. In fact, there is a shop here that's dedicated to books about magic tricks.

There are also shops dedicated to antique maps, modern first editions and stamp and coin collections. In Marchpane, a dusty shop dedicated to children's books, we found approximately seventy five different editions of Alice in Wonderland (old, new, signed, in German etc) and across the street, at Watkins Books, the smell of incence burned our eyes and we were confronted with an impressive collection of books about Wicca and alternative medicine.

Many of the shops here buy books as well as sell. The shop fronts are all archaic and beautiful and I think a couple of them lead to Narnia. It's worth a visit. The best thing about it is, if you weren't paying attention, you could easily miss the whole street amid the crowds on Charing Cross Road. And I did, for years.

Now I want to own a shop there. I will buy early editions of The Wizard of Oz and sell cupcakes with obscure dictionary definitions iced onto them. People will come from miles around. And I suspect they already do - because Cecil Court is a bit special, to tell you the truth.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Things We Learned: Whilst Charity Shop Hopping

Becky Black is 23 and from south London. She's one of the most creative people I know. At the beginning of this year she came back from a month long trip to New Zealand, broke, and not to be deterred from one of her favourite pastimes (shopping, and putting together new outfits) she began a new project, which she's named 'Charity Shop Hopping'.

"Well, it all kind of started when I came back from holiday, and I didn't have any money. And I really like going shopping and having new things in my wardrobe. But I didn't really have any money to go shopping - and working where I do is really hard because there's a big shopping centre nearby and you kinda want to go shopping all the time. So I thought, okay, I'll start going to charity shops. I know loads of people who do it, and they have some really nice things. Some really unique things too. So I started doing that, and I've done it every since. "

Dress £3, originally from M&S

Have you made any rules?

"I don't buy new things from shops anymore apart from jeans and shoes and underwear. I'll go to places where things are second hand, like vintage shops and markets, and when my sister threw out loads of her clothes, I nabbed some of her shoes. "

Tell us about some of your best finds...

"This really nice dress, it's definitely one of my favourite finds (holds up a black velvet and lace minidress). I got this at Marie Curie in Bromley. I'm going to wear it to my friend's wedding reception. And a lot of things - this jacket I absolutely love (holds up a dark grey cotton blazer with studs on the shoulders. When I go to normal shops I always only look at my size. But at charity shops you look at EVERYTHING. This is a size 14 but it's kind of got that boyfriend jacket sort of shape to it on me. And I really like it. Usually I would never pick this out if it wasn't in my size. But at a charity shop it was £3 - total bargain. "

Dress £3 from Marie Curie Cancer Care shop. Bag £4 originally from Hennes.

Do you have any tips?

"I pick high streets where there are several charity shops, and I call it a 'charity shop hop' - going down the street from shop to shop. I just go in all of them and look at everything. Even guy's stuff, because you never know what sort of cool shirts you might find. "

"It's a way to save money, but to still go shopping. And I got quite bored of all the things that were coming out on the high street. I would go into a shop and think 'I don't like anything in here'. Then I would go into a charity shop and think how many great things there were. You do find a lot of rubbish. But there are some gems in there as well. You have to go through them all. But it's good fun. You find some good things. Like this bag! (Excitedly holds up a beautiful, 1960's style red bag). And it's a clutch bag too! The strap comes off! It's old H&M. It's a bit damaged round the edges, but you have to expect that sometimes. It adds to the charm, adds a bit of story. "

"I always pay with cash. I'm sure they take debit cards but I've never looked. The best thing about it is - it's all so cheap. The other day I went into a shop and bought three things and I spent £10. "

Have you got any favourite shops?

"There's no particular favourites...when you do a charity shop hop you sort of notice how different shops do things differently. Some really make the effort to display things and make them look nice and put things in order. And some just throw them out there and sort of say, 'off you go...'.

It started off as a new years resolution, but I think it's something I'm going to do all the time. I've really enjoyed it. You can get some really nice things, and everyone goes 'where did you go that?' and you say 'charity shop!' and they say 'oooh' and more people are likely to go there the more you talk about it.

And you're doing a good deed every time you go shopping. Rather than just spending £30 on a top that doesn't go to a good cause."

Becky definitely knows how to take the M off the front of 'Mundane'. Try it today. You never know what you might find...

All photographs by Iris Jones Photography.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

UNdane Postcardiology (Father's Day Edition)

We have a tendency to only notice the bad things we inherited from our parents, like a prominent nose or hot temper. But what about the good stuff?

Here is a list of all the good things I inherited from my Dad:-

- Interest in music
- Interest in literature/inability to go into a bookshop without spending thousands of pounds
- Photographic ability
- Interest in collecting things.

When I was 7 and a Brownie, I decided to earn my Brownie Guide collectors badge. I didn't collect anything and so was at a bit of a loss. But my Dad had a huge collection of retro badges. So he helped me stick them to cork boards so I could display 'my' collection and earn my badge. I wish I knew where they had gone - that was an immense collection of badges from the 60's, 70's and 80's.

Nowadays we both collect picture postcards. My habit of stocking up on free postcards in the cinema foyer comes directly from him.

Here are some postcards in my collection that I nabbed from my Dad:-

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Tuesday's Tattoo: Dave's Tattoo Story.

"I decided to get a tattoo to mark my 20th birthday, the official end of my teenage years. No one knew I was getting it, apart from my mother (as she was paying) and the various people she immediately told for no apparent reason. For many of my teenage years I was something of a poser hippy, scrawling peace signs over everything, wearing hideous tie-dye and growing my hair long. I counted myself as an optimist. Before my birthday, I realised that this was no longer true. The hippy thing seemed ridiculous, and life not having live up to expectation had turned me into a cynic. So I got the peace sign tattoo to remember that optimistic teenager I had been. It's something of an epitaph. A few months later I stopped wearing bright colours and cut my hair."

Monday, 4 June 2012

UNdane Monday: Tacky Jubilee Things You Can Keep In Your Cupboards.

My Grandma had a biscuit tin with a giant picture of the Queen at her coronation on it. She had a lot of biscuit tins and they all kept different types of biscuits or cakes in them. The coronation biscuit tin was for the bourbon creams. Maybe that's why I liked it. I wish I'd kept it but alas, it is now gone forever.

My mum has a little red tin that's a memento from the Silver Jubilee in 1977. She used to keep tea bags in it. Now it sits in the back of her cupboard, maybe waiting for the day a grandchild might discover it and say 'erghh what's THIS, why do you have THIS - ooh, biscuits!'

In 2002, when it was the Golden Jubilee, a couple of friends of mine lived in a road that was throwing a street party. My friends and I were all 17 and 18 - we had the day off college. Instead of pretending we were all too cool to go to a street party, we went - we hung out with our friends parents and their neighbours, we even wore red, white and blue (skater jeans and rock band T-shirts, but still in the appropiate colours. Or black.) We stayed there all day and all evening. There was cake, there was football in the street, there was even a hired singer later on, who sang things like Oh What a Night! and made us dance.

I can't quite believe this picture is ten years old.

Now it's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and I am an adult. It occurs to me, somewhere in the deep recesses in the back of my tiny little mind that someday I might have grandchildren, and that should that occur, I should follow in the footsteps of my parents and my grandparents, and have something to show them. I don't laugh at my mum's tacky tea bag tin anymore - I want my own tacky things with the Queen's face on. I have actually bought mugs.

Also, this:

And this is sort of cool:-

Happy Jubilee everyone. Have a party, eat a lot of things with jam on and remember to save tacky, pointless mementos for your kids. They won't care but they might be able to put biscuits in them.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Photograph of the Week:-

It's completely the wrong time of year for this, but I don't care. It's nice. And a little out of the ordinary. Enjoy.