Saturday, November 29, 2008

Old Camphor Wood Boxes and Their Contents

You may well be wondering what the lacy and dainty little dress above has to do ... with an incredibly blokey guy like me.

Well, it happens to be my great grandfather's christening robe. So there!

Not so long ago, it came out of an old camphor wood box at our family home. A box that had been brought as a souvenir in China by my great aunt - an extraordinary woman who traveled the globe in the late C19 ... unaccompanied and sporting one rather not-so-fetching crazy glass eye!

And then I wore this robe at my own christening! Or so I'm told - not that I remember.

The question now is - does this count as drag?

Not that I've done any since - no judgment!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Film Inside Le Moulin Rouge in the 1890s and A Bit More of La Goulue (Louise Weber, 1866-1929)

I've done a couple of posts on Le Moulin Rouge in the late C19 and its most famous star, La Goulue, Louise Weber.

I've just found four more very tiny (not good quality :<) pieces of footage - place and person. The first and second give a close-up of La Goulue around the turn of the century - as proprietress of her own tent show at a fair, accompanied by her little monkey in a cage.

Clip 2

The first also shows La Goulue doing a few dance steps in front of her caravan home round 1925, the film beginning a little before the footage I posted previously.

The third clip has what seems to be a parade entering the outdoor garden of Le Moulin Rouge - there is the same raised stage with an orchestra that you see in the old photographs.

Clip 3

The final clip has two sequences.

One of 'dancers' flirting with top-hatted patrons at tables inside Le Moulin Rouge, probably somewhere between 1895 and 1900.

And the other, a close-up of the outside of the famed establishment, traffic passing by.

Clip 4

I wonder what's going to turn up next!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Facebook as the New Global Village

Just realizing the potential of Facebook as the new global village!

In a world where we are all feeling more and more alienated from each other (I haven't the faintest clue who my neighbours are), it's encouraging to find a place where this trend is startlingly reversed.

I recently joined the Facebook community at the insistence of an acquaintance, and, with nothing better to do with my time, started searching there for old friends. And then, with even more time on my hands, for people much better known than my buddies i.e. famous persons.

Cyberspace seems to be the post of the C19, where you are alone in some distant part of a country and your social relationships are realized by correspondence - the daily mail (or, in my case, males).

So having sleuthed down a few from my first category and reconstituted them into parallel 'Facebook friends', I decided to turn my attention to famous bods.

And tentatively sent out a single request for 'friendship'.

And then the totally unexpected happened!

The totally fabulous famous person responded - encouragingly! And we have had some exchanges - not going to try to make more of it than that! We are not about to start phoning or visiting or living together! But a bit of interaction is good!

I don't 'kiss and tell' but you can visit me at to find out who and to eaves-drop!

In the meantime, four hints could be:

So off to Facebook my friends!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unexpected Things

I was wandering round over the week-end and quite unexpectedly came across a pond of lilies in full bloom.

Yellow ...

... and purple ones ...

Some bubbles rose to the surface and joined together, reminding me of the haiku ...

The moment two bubbles
are united, they both vanish.
A Lotus blooms.
Kijo Murakami (1865-1938)

And I'd just gone to the shop to get some milk!!!
Plotting More Potting

Confession time! Hope it's damned good for my soul ... cos in front of you guys, it's costing me - big time.

In an unexpected and Charlotte ('Sex and the City')-like move, I've taken to rabid bowl glazing!

Well, and all the other stuff that goes with it - throwing the things ...

... turning the bases, so they have very cute feet (note the reference to the blog!) ...

... painting them ...

... and finally (and infamously) glazing the little buggers ...

Twice a week - Monday and Thursday nights, 6.30-9pm. For two months. As my first course ... .

Is there any hope for me?

Please say 'yes'!!!

'No' is a seriously dispreferred response - particularly in my approval-seeking state of mind! LOL!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Can Can-ing at Le Moulin Rouge Again

Was YouTubing about as I do and found some footage purporting to be Can Can dancing at Le Moulin Rouge in 1902.

My attention was riveted (you know me) ... it does appear to be old film.

But I began to wonder about the Moulin Rouge connection.

It was obviously not shot on the premises but in a studio of some sort. In part cos wealthy patrons needed anonymity to engage dancers in their other than Can Can activities - so filming wouldn't have been functional in the famed establishment.

'Photographs' that do exist are constructions after the fact - composites of contemporary single shots ...

And the only film I've ever found is a tiny sequence around Montmartre at the turn of the C20 century, beginning at Le Moulin de la Galette and finishing in la place Blanche and in front of Le Moulin Rouge:

The beginning of my disappointment :<

But there was something else niggling away in the back of my mind.

Then I had it - the dancers didn't seem French!

Much more like Windmill chorus girls from the West End in London. Anglo is their boisterous laughing energy - bawdy English lasses rather than the sexually free-wheeling successors of La Goulue (my post of 31 August 2008 'La Goulue and the Can Can at the Moulin Rouge - Louise Weber (1866-1929)').

What do you think guys?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Pyramid Discovered in Egypt at Saqqara

First time I went to Egypt, I followed the great army of tourists to Giza and its world famous pyramids ...

... but then at dusk as a trickle of one I climbed Mycerinas or Menkaure, the smallest of the three great structures ... and took a (sadly double-exposed) photo from the top to document and prove my 'feat' (aka my crime) ...

So, being a seriously pyramid-focussed person, my attention was captured by the discovery earlier this month of a new pyramid (the 118th) in Egypt - this time at Saqqara and not far from the Step Pyramid of Djoser ...

With a square base of a little over 72 feet each side, the 4500 years old building newly excavated from the sand is believed to be the tomb of Queen Seshseshet, the mother of the sixth dynasty Old Kingdom Pharoah Teti 1.

There are plans to enter the structure shortly to search for inscriptions/whatever that will definitively identify the person for whom it was built.

I'll keep you posted - though I suspect this is not a Tutankhamun situation, as it appears to have been broken into in ancient times!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Ultimately Reliable Gay Test

John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872) - A Few Beautiful Mid-C19 New England Land and Seascapes

The paintings:

Nothing to be said - just viewed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fabled Timbuktu !

Timbuktu is one of those few colossally fabled places - known to everyone but curiously one for which it's difficult for most of us to easily conjure up images. Of course, here I am reminded of Christopher Isherwood's notion of 'place name snobbery' - where just the name of some places has magical resonances and sensations enough that you long to visit. Such as, for Isherwood, Flores in Indonesian.

Founded round the C10 in Mali by the nomadic Tuareg and now peopled by West African, Berber and Arab groups, Timbuktu has been an important stop on the trans-Saharan salt trade route. And long been a great centre of learning and scholarship - realized by Sankore University and the Madrasas or Islamic schools.

Sankore Mosque incorporating the University of Sankore

So some more images to feast on, from flying in ...

... through an early oil painting ...

... to the city walls ...

... to an ancient wood and metal-bound door.

But perhaps most interesting for me is the current project of the Ahmed Baba Institute to restore and catalog the over one million ancient manuscripts held often secretly in the multitude of local family libraries.

As I type this, I have the terrific urge to google airfares!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Unfortunate and Terrible Tragedy of the Occupants of a Very Tall Wedding Cake

It was a wedding cake much like this one. Lots of layers with columns supporting each level. Very high, for a five-year-old at least. And with a beautiful little bride and groom on the very top. And they was the beginning of all my troubles.

I'd been taken by my grandmother to the old family homestead, way out in the country. For a big family wedding.

And was sitting in the old flag-stoned kitchen. With its gigantic wood stove. Just staring at the wondrous cake on the table.

When I happened to notice that the bridal couple were not sitting EXACTLY level. Can guess where this is going!

Carefully (but perhaps not as carefully as I had to be) I attempted to put things right with these two tiny people. And the very next second - as if by some horrifying magic - they were bouncing round the kitchen floor - their layer rolling drunkenly rolling after them!

With my heart almost stopped, I kind of stumbled out into the garden ...

... to tell my aunt, mother of the groom.

My seeming 'tale' drew her deep but tinkling laughter ... which then began to diminish, in a scary slow-motion of realization. Though not quite reaching a grimace - after all, mothers of grooms have to maintain their composure, come what may!

We all marched stoically back into the house - each of us in our various states of mind. Mine being a dream-like sickening horror. And the serious work of re-construction began.

At the reception, the cake - miraculously - seemed absolutely pristine and none the worse for wear!

After only a couple of years, the marriage failed - and I began to image my escapade had been an omen!!!

True story ... real pictures (except the cake and couple)!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Candidate for Any Pilot of the Year Award!

This pilot without question gets my vote - in any 'Pilot of the Year (or Decade or Century) Award'.

I am not easily impressed ... so watch and be amazed!

Are you, or are you not, flabbergast?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What You See Can Be What You Feel

Sometimes when you get up in the morning, you feel absolutely great.

And when you look in the mirror you see something more or less like this:

And then there are those (other) days that what comes back at you (with seeming great and unrelenting ferocity) is more like this:

Of course,what you see often depends on what you were doing the night before!

But then there is every day ...

... that you want to feel these!

And realize they will make you feel (and look) great - whatever you were doing last night!