Photography By David Stewart
Aug25

Photography By David Stewart

There’s a very distinctive style to David Stewart‘s photography – especially the pictures of his that really caught my eye, anyway – and that’s one of very staged, very clean, very coordinated, very well lit, often very static shots, with occasional touches of humour or absurdity. Click on the photos below to view the images in their full glory on David’s site, along with a great many others. Four beautiful books of his photos are also available to...

Read More
Far East Honeymoon Videos
Aug16

Far East Honeymoon Videos

Let’s get this straight right now: these aren’t those sorts of honeymoon videos. If you’re here for those sorts of honeymoon videos you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re not here for those sorts of honeymoon videos then you’ll probably still be disappointed but for completely different reasons. Way, way back in 2008 I got married and went on a trip to the Far East with my wife, cruising around the South China seas on the Diamond Princess and taking in a number of stops too: China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand. Not long after that I wrote about our general experience of cruising, specifically as it applied to Princess Cruises in this article: Your First Princess Cruise. But what I didn’t do on this website was go into the details of the trip, share pictures, or upload video. In the lattermost case the reason for that was quite simple; I neglected to upload any videos until very, very recently. I figure seven years is a reasonable time to wait for these things. By way of getting back into the habit of occasionally updating this site and justifying its hosting costs I thought I’d take advantage of the recent video uploading spree on YouTube and share some of the filmed experiences of my honeymoon. The entire set of videos can be found in this playlist – Honeymoon, November 2008 – and it’s mostly in the right sequence except for a few at the end which had stupid dates on the files and YouTube doesn’t really make it easy to rearrange the playlist order. Some “highlights”: Short pan from on the Great Wall of China showing some of the surrounding hills and large number of tourists, mostly from China, making some form of ascent. This was part of a trip lasting just a few hours and we only had a short time on the wall itself. Bizarrely, some people who came long with us seemed more content to do some shopping at the gift shop near the base rather than engage in any climbing. Not us, though. We made the most of our time by hiking up as much as we could before needing to turn around and return to the coach. We stopped often as we ascended. It was very steep in parts. And we were very unfit. We’re still very unfit. Tiananmen Square. Very large and while we were there it filled up quite quickly with tourists, again mostly from China. Now, you would think that tourists going to Tiananmen Square might want to queue up at the mausoleum or take in the sights and, generally,...

Read More
Architectural Photography By Weronika Dudka
Mar15

Architectural Photography By Weronika Dudka

Weronika Dudka is a Leicester-based design student who has discovered a fondness for photographing brutalist and modernist buildings. Understandably so, as I’ve got a similar love for those particular architectural styles which more often than not meets with much shaking of the head when I express it. There’s a beauty in the geometry, symmetry, and repetition that’s hard to get across to people who can’t see past the typical colour scheme of the buildings that features more shades of grey than an E. L. James novel and very little else. There’s also a mystique to brutalism that some people don’t get as the architect’s vision is usually transformed wildly and often darkly by the social structure in which the building is located; far more so in my opinion than any other type of architecture. Enough of my waffling about the glorious gorgeousness that is brutalist architecture and onto the reason for this post, which is to showcase some of Weronika’s photos, all of which were sourced from her Tumblr page: Veronicadelica. Brutalist photography is most often dark, oppressive, and impressive, but here’s a great example of injecting colour into the shot thanks to some great reflections from the Manchester sky. And colour looks good on less brutal, more modernist architecture too as seen in this photo from Birmingham. The more familiar black and white shot now most associated with brutalist architecture photography but you can hopefully see in this photo from Sheffield how the block design resembles a monochromatic Mondrian work of art. A great example of a typical brutalist external staircase, this from a building in Sheffield. You often see these simple rectangular blocks and parallelograms forming stairwells but the curved backside is great to spot too. What’s also really nice here is the paint job which shows off the potential for just how attractive this type of architecture can look in the right setting and with the right light. A nicely-framed photo from Manchester showcasing the geometry and the contrast of angles prevalent in brutalism. Spirals, zig-zags, and long, vertical lines come together in this photo from Birmingham. A colour version of the same shot can be seen here. To finish with, Carradale House in London shot by Weronika. The building is one of Goldfinger‘s listed modernist designs. Sky bridges and narrow windows reminiscent of medieval arrowslits merge to form another wonderful piece of architecture. Check out all of Weronika’s photos as well as the things she finds inspiring here. Iain Baker liked this...

Read More
The Crackerjack Book Of Games
Mar03

The Crackerjack Book Of Games

Found, appropriately enough, on the always excellent Found Objects are these pictures from the 1965 Crackerjack Book of Games. Pictures on that site, yes, but no text to go with them. Fortunately, though, I’ve been able to dig out some of the game instructions. 1965 was a very different time. The Microwave Game Here’s a fun activity for all you kids whose fathers are working with one of those new-fangled industrial microwave ovens in use at all the civic cremation zones. With a friend, or if/when you don’t have a friend any longer then against the clock, see how long you can withstand the intense heat inside these miracles of modern technology. Once you’re good enough why not see whose skin can form the largest blister before it explodes and the agony of tearing skin and exposed flesh to the electromagnetic radiation becomes too much for any juvenile human to bear? The Tower Of Power You’ll need building blocks to construct towers for this game so why not pop down to Woolworths and pick up a bargain bag of Woolworths Own Brand Cups ‘N’ Discs with your earnings from scarecrowing? Gather around a table with your best friends and race against one another to build a monument that stretches towards Heaven. The winner is the first person to become filled with the Power of God and finds him or herself compelled to yell Halleluia!. Extra points if the power causes your opponents’ towers to collapse. Mind Control Here’s a game that’s both relaxing and rewarding! Can you use your telekinetic powers to get a marble to roll out of a cup and up a piece of wood? You’ll need all your powers of concentration for this but if you succeed then get your mother or father to give the local government psychic warfare recruiting offices a call and get ready for a life of intrigue and riches beyond your wildest dreams! Old Billy Old Billy is the classic family game of make-believe and dress-up brought into the sixties with a way to win! Ask your parents for permission to use their copies of The National White Person when they’ve finished memorising it for the day and dress yourself up as that boozy rascal of a tramp, Old Billy. You’ll need to stay out overnight, probably down by the canal, but if you can return home without being set alight then you win a point and it’s time for your brother or sister to see if they can do the same. Who will get the highest score? Super Sense When Britain begins its conquest of Asia in the next decade...

Read More
Starblazer Comics
Feb23

Starblazer Comics

From 1979 through to 1991 D. C. Thomson & Company, Limited published 281 issues of a small format comics anthology called Starblazer. It was never as successful or as widely read as Commando, which I also used to collect, but the science fiction nerd inside me preferred Starblazer. For no other reason than the thought crossed my mind today I’ve decided to hunt down covers of the magazine from that there internet machine that I remember owning and reading. One of the first images I spotted and recognised was this from issue 15, Algol The Terrible. I confess I couldn’t quite remember what the plot of the story was but if you click on the image to follow the link you’ll see a great summary from Philip Sandifer. Via the comments on this io9 article (on Spanish pulp magazine covers, bizarrely) comes Nightmare Planet. Again, no recollection of the plot but if the cover is anything to go by – and with Starblazer comics that’s frequently not the case at all – then there’s a planet involved which has all manner of nastiness on its surface. The next load of photos I found via a post on Monster Brains – Starblazer – which led me to the Flickr photostream of Aeron Alfrey and the Starblazer album. To reiterate, I’m only going to include ones I remember having. I’m also going to explain the story’s plot in each case based solely on the artwork and/or title. There’s a chance this won’t be accurate. Robot Rebellion, the story of a rebellion… by robots! Or maybe just one robot. The title isn’t clear on that matter but what is apparent is that there’s no nobility in robot rebellions and shooting your fellow artificial lifeforms in the back is considered just fine. Isaac Asimov would have a fit if he saw this. The Drifters of Darga are an alien species that float across the surface of their planet making high-pitched noises (helium, you see) and helping adventurers who find themselves trapped in the local foliage. Because of their unfortunate skin patterns they’re considered terrifying by visitors. The story is a classic “don’t judge a book by its cover” tale which is precisely what I’m doing. I’ll never learn. The Machine Master is a simple story of slavery only with a master who is a machine, incapable of caring for its labour force. Despite this, the workers love the machine because the planet they’re working on has a higher-than-usual concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere. Light-headed japes and frequent fires fill the pages of this comic. The sand people from Star Wars make an...

Read More
Desnuda En La Arena
Feb13

Desnuda En La Arena

Hey, do you remember back in the depths of summer of last year – July, to be precise – when I wrote about the 1970s Euro Porn stylings present in the German movie Lehrm√§dchen-Report? And do you remember what I said back then? This is potentially the first of a series of style showcases and mini reviews of 1970s European soft porn movies. Well, brace yourself for a review of another movie only this time it’s not really softcore porn, it’s from the sixties, it’s not European, and I’m not concentrating on the style! I know! Never let it be said I don’t know how to disappoint people in a myriad of ways! Desnuda en la Arena YouTube in its infinite wisdom (or finite algorithmic calculations) recommended a user’s channel to me based on my predilection for watching Cheesy Crud From Yesteryear (not an actual genre on YouTube but by gum it should be!) That led me to somewhere which led me to somewhere else which led me to spotting this particular movie listed down the right side of the screen: Desnuda En La Arena 1969 – Isabel Sarli. I didn’t know any Italian but I thought I could work out what this said: Des, nude in the arena. It turned out that the words were Spanish and not Italian though but as luck would have it I didn’t know any Spanish either yet still thought I could work out what this said: Des, nude in the arena. The question was: which Des? Lynam or O’Connor? You’ll be pleased to know the answer was neither and that this particular post isn’t going to get super weird and feature either of these fine stalwarts of British television entertainment stripped naked and fighting lions in front of a bloodthirsty and sexually aroused crowd. And if there’s no fan fiction describing precisely that scenario then I’ll be very disappointed with the internet. Very disappointed indeed. So, it’s not Des and he’s not naked. What is it then? Well, the plot according to Wikipedia is: The well known star of erotic movies, Isabel Sarli, plays Alicia a single mother who moves to Panama and starts working as a stripper deceiving men and making them the victims of her extortions. Pretty straightforward. I’d not heard of Isabel Sarli before but the retired actress is described as “a cultural icon”, a “sex symbol”, and, most importantly, John Waters really likes her. With gushing praise like that it would be impossible to not love this film, so let’s get on and start loving the film. The film opens on a beach, panning over some discarded bikini...

Read More