Another Dr Oetker cookbook from a charity shop in Austria, focusing on winter and Christmas treats this time. I don’t really have much to say about this one, I just thought the photos and styling were cool.
I’ve been tired and busy lately. Here’s a great bubble gum advert from the 80s with a Kraftwerk-meets-Eurythmics soundtrack, and some odds and ends of interesting links.
I love using Photoshop product mockups – there’s something satisfying about creating a total lie of an object that doesn’t exist. I wanted an 8 track tape mockup, but I couldn’t find one. So I made one and you can download it.
Second volume. This time with Tove Jansson, leylines, derelict canals and a strange comic about insects.
Another charity shop book- this time from the 70s. It’s a slightly strange mix of technicolour things made from recycling bin objects or fabric scraps, and then a section about making candles.
While I was in Sydney, I went for the day to visit my friend Zoe in the inland mountain town of Katoomba.
This edition has a behind the scenes of Captain Pugwash, extracts from Tove Jansson, Jill Patton-Walsh, an article about CS Lewis, and interviews with various different authors.
Another book from a charity shop in Austria. I love how incredibly cack-handed some of the cakes are. Most themed cake books are impossibly professional, these ones actually look like the result you’d realistically get.
I got this craft book for kids from a charity shop in Austria earlier this year. Austria doesn’t have the same volume of charity shops as the UK, but when you do find one they’re usually really good, especially in small towns, where vintage isn’t really a big thing.
This charity shop fancy dress book is certainly… something. Lots of 80s actors modelling the costumes.
In Australia, charity shops are called op shops, short for opportunity shops and Melbourne has really great ones
In 2016 I left London to house sit in the small town where my grandparents had lived. After a sequence of unfortunate events involving electricians and train strikes I ended up spending the whole summer pretty much alone in a town full of old people, where I knew no-one and there was very little to do, and I had very little in-person contact with other people. A situation a lot of other people can relate to at the moment I think.
I got this 1980s guide to using lens filters from a charity shop. Of course a lot of these effects can be created in Photoshop these days, but actually for a lot of them the analogue method creates something unique, so a large proportion of these filters are still on sale.
Tim and the Hidden People is a series of children’s school reading books from the late 70s/early 80s that a lot of schools had. They have a strange, bleak folk-horror atmosphere, and the illustrations in the first three collections are a little uncanny valley. Tim is always walking along lonely canal paths with strict instructions to not look over his shoulder and tie the silver string around a particular tree or else.
Zdeněk Miler was a Czech illustrator and animator best known for his character the Little Mole (Krtek or Krteček).
I found this book in a charity shop. It’s a practical guide to alternative living in London from 1969/70 covering a wide range of topics from rent laws, to sexuality, drugs and communes to join. This is the first edition, there were yearly updates throughout the 70s.
Here are some scans from a 1970s craft book I got from my grandparents’ house.
Here’s the best stuff I got for very cheap in the excellent charity shops in Bognor Regis (the only entertainment there). The reasons for so many good finds is fairly grim- lots of old people in the area who die and have house clearances of all the 60s and 70s stuff they were hanging on to. Everything cost less than £5.
I’ve done a new zine about that time in 2006 I accidentally spent a whole summer alone in Bognor Regis. For £2.50 you get both the zine and the mini zine I made at the time for the 24 hour zine challenge. Find them here.
Here’s some more 60s tourism slides from my grandparents’ house (you can see others here). This time from the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy, now a UNESCO site. Again I have posted all 36 images. It looked pretty much the same when I was there about 10 years ago, minus the annoying coach party of loud Texans who kept appearing everywhere you looked and complaining there was no Taco Bell and you had to walk places. Further along the coast in Sorrento I bought a very fancy waffle-knit towel that still serves me well for travelling. The shop assistant seemed very confused that I wasn’t buying a whole matching set of them like the majority of their customers. Afraid I could only afford one small one.
When clearing out my grandparents’ house a couple of years ago I found seven packets of these 60s tourist slides of various places around the Mediterranean. I’ve been scanning and restoring them. First up, these from Herculaneum.
Herculaneum is a smaller coastal town near Pompeii that was also destroyed by the volcano. It’s not as well known, but there are some magnificent villas there in a similar but smaller archaeological park to the one you can visit at Pompeii.
I got this late 70s/early 80s book from a charity shop a while ago. A lot of families in the UK had it when I was a kid I think. I got it out because I promised to make my friend a really ludicrous birthday cake from inside. The recipes are fine, various flavoured sponge cakes with buttercream icing (albeit with gratuitous Cadbury’s product placement in every recipe). It’s the choice of cake themes in the book that’s a bit odd …
I haven’t found as many good charity shop items lately as over the summer, but there’s been the odd few things. I got this vase for £2, which I’ve planted an aloe vera in, for my own plant version of Sideshow Bob.
The good thing about spending the summer in a small town full of old people is that there are a lot of charity shops and jumble sales, they often have good stock, don’t overprice and there aren’t a lot of other people looking for the same things as me (which is more likely to happen in a big city).
My flickr account has 370 albums on it, dating back to 2007, before I started this blog. A little while ago I dug out some pictures of Bracknell from the archives, and I thought I’d find some more things from the oldest albums.
I have a lot of fabric. Mostly remnants from charity shops or from my nan’s stash (she was a dressmaker / tailor). I haven’t done any sewing this year, because I lost a lot of weight in February due to a nasty bout of gastritis, and it seemed silly to make something that would later be too small, or to try to guess at what my normal fitting would be. I’m back to my normal weight now though, so I can go ahead.
I’m fascinated by the history of the Cold War. Both the political side, and the social history of people’s everyday lives. I’ve always been extra fascinated by the former DDR, both because I can speak the language and because they tried so hard to be a “model” Iron Curtain society. You read about people being “internal emigrés”. Being a good comrade and worker on the surface, but internally escaping to their own world via drink or just plain daydreaming. I suppose that’s what I’d do in the situation. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but I’m currently writing a zine about the trip this summer, so I’ll save them for there.
When I was in Dresden, I bought a photography book by a local photographer. Günter Starke lived in Dresden Neustadt, the area just across the river from the historical centre, in the 70s and 80s, and took a lot of photos. Despite the name, Neustadt is full of old buildings that escaped bombing during the war (it’s only new compared to the baroque city centre), and in the communist days, the local council concentrated on building blocks of flats and housing estates to house families.
While I was at my grandparent’s place, I scanned some books. Here’s the Golden Hands Book of Crafts from the 70s. I have some of the magazine of the same name, which I scanned before. You can see that here. Most of the tutorials in the book weren’t very exciting, but there were some nice 70s stock pictures.
I recently received my grandad’s stereo. He’s 89 and has moved into an old people’s home, and said he didn’t need it any more. He was an electrical engineer for Philips, so his choice of appliances can usually be relied on. I was expecting something from the 70s, but then it turned out he’d actually bought this one 3-4 years ago. I don’t know why he felt the need to buy a whole new stereo to listen to his 10 Shirley Bassey records. He once gave me a tape with Italian lessons on one side, and Shirley Bassey songs on the other. I guess he felt it was about time I took up both of those things.
Here are some scans from a 1970s interior design book- House by Terrence Conran. Some of the stuff in it is really really 70s looking, and some is very clean and timeless-looking. The pictures I’ve scanned are a mix of the two categories. I just scanned the pictures that appealed to me, as it’s a massive book. Some of them are a little grainy due to the printing technique. I scanned another 70s interior book I have here.
got this stack of 70s craft magazines in a junk shop in Devizes a few years ago. That place was amazing, a multi-floored cavern of junk. It’s gone now, I think. Here’s some photos.There’s the usual ultra-cheesy raffia work projects and crocheted plant holders and so on, but the clothes patterns are actually mostly pretty nice, which is why I bought the magazines. What I’ve scanned is a mix of nice things and weird stuff though. I also couldn’t scan double page spreads very easily, because the binding on the magazines is dodgy, and I didn’t want to pull them about too much in case they broke. These issues are from 1972 and 1973. I have another issue from 1976, but it’s printed on much cheaper paper (the paper quality wasn’t sterling to begin with) and the contents are pretty dull.
I was doing some residential teaching for the last 2 weeks. A group of year 9s from Chile came on a school trip, and I gave them lessons about English and British History/Culture and took them to various historical places like Cambridge and Canterbury. I was working in the middle of nowhere, in this old manor house in the middle of a national park. The house had been a boarding school from the 1920s to 2005, and the company I worked for was only using part of the building. We were the last school tour to be there before it was going to be handed over to the new owners, who no-one knew much about, but didn’t seem to be using it as a school. There were lots of locked up rooms that had been used by the boarding school, but weren’t used for the language holidays, like the science lab, and they had piles of school stuff lying everywhere. The attitude was pretty much feel free to explore, just make sure the kids don’t get into anywhere that could be dangerous.
I like buying 70s craft books from charity shops. I’m not sure what it is about them, but maybe it’s the colours and the quite often bizarre project suggestions. Here’s 2 of them scanned in.
I went to see the Museum of 51 exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall a while back, which is about the Festival of Britain. Basically it was a festival in 1951 to celebrate 100 years since the Great Exhibition and cheer people up in grey, rationed post-war London. As well as films, shows, fairs and so on, there were shows of housing and interiors, to show people what they could look forward to after rebuilding and the end of rationing (everything available for sale in WWII was simple and utilitarian and rationed). My dad went to pretty much all the events, seeing as they were mostly around the corner from him in Battersea.
I’ve had this book since forever. It was part of a set of educational books that were a hand me down from my cousin. The others in the set were pretty standard, on topics like animal migration or cars, but this one is a bit odd. The others in the set have long gone to the charity shop or another relative, but I’ll always keep this book.
I got this 70stastic book for £1 from a charity shop, mainly because of the pictures. The textual parts are worthy and Blue Peter-ish, with lots of making things out of tea chests and copydex (why doesn’t tea tend to come in chests these days?), guides to home tie-dying, and sentences like “and kitchen foil gives a touch of glamour”.
The other week I was in Brighton to see Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains, a forgotten film from the 80s about a fictional all-girl punk band with Diane Lane, Ray Winstone (yes, really), Paul Simonon and half of the Sex Pistols. They’ve started doing a cinema club at the West Hill Hall showing cult films with bands playing afterwards. This time the bands were Trash Kit and Woolf. I found out about it when I was at the copiers and the guy in front of me was copying flyers and we got chatting and swapped zines and flyers. I wish that kind of thing happened to me more often. A good evening filled with friends and good feelings. Bands and film recommended. I want to be back in Brighton. ( I decided to go not via London to see if the cheaper ticket was worth the bother- it wasn’t, it took me 4 hours and between 4-7 trains each way)
I’ve got a box full of unfinished sewing projects and a huge fabric stash, and as I’m unemployed at the moment, I decided to get them all finished/used. Here’s the first thing I finished, a dress made from a 1960s pattern
I’d forgotten how fun using poladroid is. (Polaroid purists look away in disgust now)
I also didn’t put my pictures from Canterbury Museum up. Here is Bagpuss on his cushion, he has an honourary doctorate from the University of Kent you know. In real life, he’s about the size you’d expect.
On Sat I went down Rochester with Tukru to do some charity shopping. She got Ike & Tina Turner and Human League records, a unicorn colouring book for zine purposes (she’s a big unicorn fan) and I convinced her to get some Agatha Christie books.