Monday, 16 July 2012

Cut-up Cakes

This charming recipe leaflet from 1959 was designed to promote Baker's Angel Flake Coconut as a cake decorating ingredient. Basically, whatever you want the cake to resemble, you cover it in coconut flakes.
This makes sense for a lion's mane, or a teddy's fur, but is less obvious for a reindeer, giraffe or fish.

 The cakes are ingeniously designed by cutting up a basic cake shape, and reassembling the pieces.
 Myrtle and Milton are nothing to do with Mickey and Minnie, of course.
 Tortie the Turtle is probably the least appetising, in my opinion.
 But most worrying of all are 'The Cut-Up Kids', who appear to have no arms, poor things.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday Postcards - Kittens, Kittens, Kittens!

Postcard kittens fit in many receptacles. Kittens in baskets.

Kittens in a fruit bowl.
 Kitten in a coffee pot.
I have no reasonable explanation of this phenomenon.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Wherever There's Squirt...

 ...there's Fun! Well, who knew?  I assume Squirt was just fizzy lemonade, like 7-up. As if a soft drink called Squirt wasn't marvellous enough, they even have their own recipes for such delights as a 'Squirt-Kebab' or a 'Squirticle'.

I think this barbecue recipe leaflet dates from around 1959. Being about barbecues, it was written for men, including 'Falling-off-a-log Punch', which is "especially easy, because you get your wife to do it!". 
Hmmm, I think that little Squirt better watch out what his wife does with that melon baller....

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bat-Socks, Bat-Pants

When Tim Burton's 'Batman' film came out in 1989, an absurd amount of merchandise was released. Mr Kitsch was slightly obsessed at the time, and bought as much as he could afford., including this rather unlikely collection of items -Batman handkerchiefs, Batman swim shorts, Batman and Joker socks and Batman & Joker boxer shorts. Because of course you want to have Jack Nicholson's face on your underwear, with the words "Ha Ha Ha".

It's an odd phenomenon, isn't it, the marketing of character clothing to adults? On one hand, I tend to despise the wearer of a Simpsons tie, but on the other hand, what does it matter? Why shouldn't people wear cartoon characters? Well, like just about everything we wear, the actual garment doesn't count, it's the social construct we put around it.

So, what social construct do we put around Bat-pants? That to wear them would be very, very wrong. 

I am pleased to report that Mr Kitsch just kept these as collectors items, and in the end, sold them on Ebay. Yes, on Ebay, there's even a market for secondhand novelty pants...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Smoking Monkeys

 Back in the 1980s, when I was an art student, I used to love going into joke shops. They had such wonderful stuff, often in very old-fashioned packaging. It was brilliant when I was able to get a card like this, that the novelties were attached to. Just look at that packaging, with the monkeys in all their different poses, but all with fags hanging out of their mouths.

Today you don't really get joke shops, just those horrible places that sell novelties, the stuff of hen parties and tasteless Christmas presents from work colleagues. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe the world is no longer amused by a smoking monkey. Mind you, I'm not entirely sure the whole world ever appreciated the fun to be had from sticking a fake cigarette in a plastic monkey's mouth. Did they really blow smoke rings like the pictures? And did they have health insurance?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Simple Direct Wording

This advert is from the 1930s. Although Mr Shelley Castle promises to send you his formula "in simple direct wording", I somehow doubt it. Can you imagine any advert these days being quite so wordy? Or using phrases such as "Mr Castle refuses to be considered as the author of an experiment or the promulgator of a theory"? Do today's life coaches and self-help gurus "eschew" connections with mystery?

I'd love to know what you got if you sent off for "the formula". Presumably not very much, but an offer of further information for a small fee. Ah yes, I'm sure Mr Castle understood modern common-sense psychology as far as that goes...

Friday, 6 July 2012

Postcard Friday - Sitting on My Ass at Margate

In keeping with the lovely summer weather, I was going to show you a postcard from my collection of grim-looking hotel scenes. But then I saw this, and I thought, let's cheer ourselves up, with a couple of really jolly women having fun on their hols, sitting on a fake donkey.

The back of the card says'"Lido Snaps", The Cliftonville Lido, Margate'. I guess the photographer just waited on the prom with his donkey and took your photo.

I absolutely love that donkey! I really, really want one to keep in the living room. Wouldn't everything be better if you could just hop on a fake donkey to cheer yourself up? Gee up there, Daisy!

Mind you, I can envisage some trouble over naming him/her. You see, Mr Kitsch is adamant that any horse or donkey we own would have to be named 'I Love Carrots'. Surprisingly, this has come up more than once in our wide-ranging discussions over the years, and is always contentious. I think that gives you some idea of the intellectual level at which we operate.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Pin-Up Girl

Perhaps I should write a book about bad craft projects. Here's one. There was a bit of a fad for these little pin dollies, back in the 1960s and 1970s. She's made of a hemisphere of polystyrene, decorated with pinned-on sequins and beads. Her head is attached with a vicious-looking spike.Her arms are pipecleaners (or chenille wire, if you prefer), pinned to her body with the bouquet. Her headdress and veil are pinned to her kitsch plastic head.

Basically this was a craft for someone who didn't actually want to learn any craft skill beyond sticking pins into things.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Curious Friend - Eartha Kitsch and her Trojan Dog

As it's the Fourth of July, I'm very pleased to introduce a guest blogger from the States. Eartha Kitsch lives in Nashville, but I first 'met' her on Flickr, where her photos and her writing captivated me immediately. Now she also has a fabulous blog, Ranch Dressing with Eartha Kitsch, where you can see both her beautiful home, and some of her very odd vintage finds. Like this one...
The Mister and I found this creation in a box lot of fascinating goodies that was given to us. We have no idea where it came from originally or what on Earth the mysterious Jamie Potts who made it was thinking! Well, it's obvious that he was thinking about sex but the way that he expressed it is a perplexing combination of shadow box vignette and cryptic dirty limerick.

On the front of the piece you see an innocent dalmatian in a natty kerchief. The items around him are what make this so puzzling. They are:

A rifle
A really old condom
Some "safe sex" tattoos (including the first hickey tattoo that I've ever seen)
A stack of logs
A small bowl
A straw hat that has been through the ringer

From what the creator, Jamie wrote on the back, it sounds like a bug may be missing from this scenario. Not that the missing clue would help it make any more sense! Here is what is scrawled on the back:

Hat - gonna get caught
Dog - the man
.... - ready to eat
Bowl - the woman
Bug - something humming around
Logs - heat gets stirred up
Shotgun - if daddy catches you
Trojans - safe sex
Sex tattoos - put and lick

------Jamie Potts

There you have it! I'm not sure if this was made for some steam-of-consciousness art class or if he made it to woo a suitor. I'm hoping that it's the wooing one because it makes me laugh so hard to think of what the intended sweetheart who received this must have thought.

Jamie Potts, I don't know who or where you are but I'd like to thank you for giving me the giggle fits and question marks over my head. Also, thanks for the eight year old condom.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Lucky Mao

Although I don't exactly believe in luck*, I am always drawn to lucky charms of all kinds. The whole idea of talismans, amulets, or just a simple lucky object is fascinating. And they are usually visually interesting too. So I end up collecting all sorts of lucky objects.

I don't know much about these Chinese charms, except that red is considered a lucky colour, and so the chillis are lucky by association.  And presumably, by the same token, Mao and his little red book were also lucky.
Each charm has a picture of Mao on one side, and then another portrait on the other side, presumably of some hero or official of the Communist Party. I'm not too familiar with the heroes of the People's Liberation Army and the like. (After a quick bit of research, I think one or both of them could be Zhou Enlai?) It doesn't really matter who it is, there's just something a bit bonkers about having a lucky Communist Party mascot, isn't there?

* What I mean by that, is that, although I don't believe that certain things are lucky, I still find myself 'touching wood' or feeling I should buy a lottery ticket if I'm having a 'lucky' day. Does that make sense? Not really.

Monday, 2 July 2012

All Out Nuclear War (Harmless)

Yes, it's another ad from the comics - "Make all out war in your own home". To be honest, with four siblings, all out war was not unknown in our house when I was little. However, I don't think that's what they had in mind when they promised, rather scarily "enough nuclear battle equipment for maximum effort warfare".

Despite all the talk of "firepower and manpower", inter-continental ballistic missile launchers, "oxy-radar packs", a "double-stage warhead" and "hand-gun radi-activators", it also claims that this set is made of "multi-colour unbreakable plastic", and is "harmless".
Phew! And so the free world was saved...