Monday, 30 April 2012

Serious with Confidentiality and Quick

This little flyer came through the door of our previous house, about 6 years ago. Why did I keep it? Well, not because I thought I might use the services of Mr Dal, that's for sure.
I certainly admired his enterprise - most of the flyers we received were for plumbers or builders, and I can see people might not think this was an appropriately spiritual marketing method. But Mr Dal scoffs at such naysayers.

He is determined to get his message out there so that he can help you using his OCCULT SCIENCES. (I'm not sure why being so spiritual causes people to use RANDOM CAPITALS, but apparently it DOES.)

I would certainly like to be helped with my 'Energy Weakness' and 'BAD OBSTACLES', and it says 'Results Guaranteed', so that seems ideal. But, do you know what? I think he over-sells it. I mean, is there anything this man can't tackle?

And that takes us to something that I find fascinating about things like this - the enormous gulf between what it promises and the way it's presented. Like the 'individual' horoscopes you get out of a machine on the pier, or tacky plastic religious kitsch, I have to wonder how anyone can have faith in such unpreposessing objects.

So, Mr Dal, if you can really guarantee success, why are you trudging round the streets putting flyers through letterboxes?

Friday, 27 April 2012

Friday Postcard - Animal Magic

The thing that makes this postcard unnecessarily disturbing is the cringeing posture of these poor creatures. I suppose you would cringe if you had to make a living dressed up like this. Only the bird looks unabashed. In fact, he looks positively cocky. I think it's the feet.

Anyway, the back of the card tells us these are The Thorpe Park 'Animals'. It also tells us that Thorpe Park is 'A 400 acre magic wonderland of fun, pleasure and relaxation.' I've never been there, so I'll have take their word for it.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time there was a toy maker called Mr Hasbro in a big, far-off country called America. Mr Hasbro was very jealous of another toy maker called Mr Mattel, because Mr Mattel had made some very small dollies called Liddle Kiddles, which all the girls and boys loved to play with.
'I'm going to make some very small dollies too,' he said, 'and to avoid copyright issues, my dollies will be based on fairytale characters.'

So he made his dollies. Can you see them in the picture at the top? Look, there's Cinderella with her pumpkin coach, and Sleeping Beauty with a bed, and Goldilocks with some empty porridge bowls, and a weird, amorphous lump pretending to be a bear.

And let's see who else, Mr Hasbro brought from Fairytale Land.
 Oh yes, Prince Charming, well strictly speaking, he should been with Cinderella, but okay, he's got a horse. And Rumpelstiltskin? With his spinning wheel. Ugly little fella, isn't he? And then there's Mother Hubbard.
Now, we all know her as Old Mother Hubbard, don't we? But maybe Mr Hasbro was just being polite. Although, if we're going to be strictly accurate, she comes from the Land of Nursery Rhymes, not the Land of Fairytales. And quite frankly, the rhyme is mainly about her dog, who goes on to smoke a pipe and various unlikely activities. But Mr Hasbro just decided to focus on the first verse, which tells of her empty cupboard and her starving dog, and is not really very happy, is it, boys and girls?
But Mr Hasbro went on to create My Little Pony and Transformers, and made lots of money, so he lived very happily ever after.

The End

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Curious Creatures from a Curious Friend

 Is it Wednesday again already? Time for a curious offering from another lovely blog-friend. These superbly odd creatures belong to Cathy from Menopausal Musing. Or, to be more acurate, they belong to her husband. "He always refers to them as "cats", but I think they are bunnies!"she tells me.
Hmmm... Cat or bunny? Or scary donkey-girafffe hybrid? Seriously, I have NO idea of what these animals are really meant to be. Anyone else got a clue?

Oh well, it doesn't really matter, as whatever they are, they are wonderfully jolly, playing their instruments and having a grand old sing-song!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Whipped Cream and The Lonely Bull

A bit late posting today, so this one is short and sweet. An album with the irresistible title, 'Whipped Cream and The Lonely Bull'. Add in The Mexicali Brass, and a glamour model with backcombed helmet hair and a poncho, and you have a recipe for success! (See what I did there?)

More prosaically, they are both tracks made famous by Herb Alpert, which The Mexicali Brass have decided to cash in on.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Good Fortune Toothpicks

Phew! It is 'Good Fortune' indeed, to find that these toothpicks have been sterilized with 'Non-poisonous' disinfectant. I hate it when they use that other kind. You know, the poisonous kind...

Friday, 20 April 2012

Friday Postcard - I'm Hammy, Fly Me

Do you remember the inexplicable hamster postcard? Imagine my unbounded joy at finding another! This time, there appears to be a coherent narrative to the whole scene. Clearly the photographer was developing his powers as a story-teller, by putting the hamster in a scene of everyday Fisher Price life. Possibly an echo of the Beatles arriving at JFK in 1964?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sweet, sweet cigarettes

When I was a child, you could buy many different kinds of sweet cigarette. My favourites were the chews. Do you remember them? A white chewy sweet the size of a real cigarette, wrapped in a realistic paper wrapper with a brown 'filter tip'. My brothers told me the paper was rice paper and you could eat it. You couldn't.

I don't have any pictures of the chews, but my next favourite were these, in cardboard packs with a sliding inner. The sweets were white and chalky, had a red-coloured tip, and came with a picture card in the packet. That was quite appealing, it had to be said. You could also suck the ends to a point, but I never did that, because I was too busy scoffing them.

At some point - it must have been the 1970s - someone realised that it was possibly not the most responsible marketing ploy to sell fake cigarettes to children. And so they became 'candy sticks'.
 As you can see, they didn't really go for a huge product rethink - just a change of name. And despite our 'nanny state' and the 'over-protection of children', these candy sticks are still available today. I must admit I still indulge in a packet occasionally. I have no idea if children still link them to cigarettes, but surely putting a white stick in your mouth to look cool is still the object of the exercise?
The other kind of sweet cigarette you could get was the chocolate flavour ones. Not actual chocolate, you notice, but that evil substance known as chocolate flavour candy. Now I knew these things tasted foul, but occasionally, I would spend my pocket money on a packet of these things. 
 It can only have been for the packaging. It did look like American cigarette packaging, and it was kind of cool to tap out a 'fag'. And sometimes I guess I just fancied a change from CurlyWurlys and a quarter of sherbert pips.

The packets in the last photo were bought more recently - within the last 5-10 years, I think. I was really surprised to find they could still sell these. Despite being 'sticks', the packaging is unmistakably that of a cigarette packet. Note the Village People-style cowboy on the 'Round-Up' packet, and the rope writing. So cool! I also love that they've named one of the brands 'Kamikaze'!
As a footnote, you might be interested to know that despite having access to these rather suspect sweet products as a child, I have never in my life been tempted to smoke!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wednesday Welcome - A Curious Friend

"Hey, everybody, let's give a great big Wednesday Welcome to Jane's clown!!!" How does that sound? You may remember, a few weeks ago, I asked you lovely people to submit photos for the blog. Well, over the next few weeks I'm going to be showing one of your objects each Wednesday. I was trying to think of a snappy title, but instead, came up with 'Wednesday Welcome'. Or possibly 'Curious Friends'. But if you can come up with something better, do let me know!

Anyway, enormous thanks to Jane of Things to Make and Do who has admitted to owning this strange and scary clown. I find all clowns a bit scary, I must admit. (There's even a name for it - coulrophobia.) Anyway, this one is not just a lovely ornament for your home, but doubles as a clothes brush and shoe horn.
A genius idea! Presumably, the intention was to make brushing your clothes more fun, but I can't help thinking that using the clown's tongue to help put your shoes on is a bit freakin' weird. Is it me, or is there a cry for help hidden in those blue clown eyes? Look at that top picture again. So much anguish....

It's not too late to send me a photo, if you have a curious object you'd like to share!
Thanks again to Jane, and the equivalent of a Blue Peter badge will be on its way to her!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I See You Baby, Shaking That Ass

She moves like she's on wheels, doesn't she? All the beauty and grace of the traditional hula dancer.

Just in case you're wondering, the music is coming from her. From under her skirt, to be exact.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The World is Your Lobster

For those of you not acquainted with my home town of Bristol, I should point out that it is a city port on the banks of the muddy River Avon. Yes, it's not far from the sea, but in reality, the opportunities for finding lobster are few. You could try the Loch Fyne restaurant, but I doubt the lobster's local. So this ceramic lobster pot (the top of the shell comes off and you can put nick-nacks inside) is perhaps not the most appropriate souvenir of a trip to our fair city.

I'm afraid this blog is a little later in the day than usual. Sometimes the lateness is due to the whims of Blogger, which sometimes refuses to publish posts at their scheduled time. Today, I am happy to report the lateness is purely down to incompetence on my part. The said incompetence also accounts for not having sorted out the results of my requests for photos to include on the blog. Thanks to those of you who have sent me photos - they will be appearing soon.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday Postcard - Religious Okapi Birthday Greetings

It's just the sheer damn randomness of this one that gets me. 

I'm struggling to recognise the thought process here. So, some religious group or church want to produce birthday cards for children. Children like animals, they say to themselves, so let's make our cards super-appealing with a picture of a grazing okapi.

And what message do you put on a card to a five year old? Clearly they might be riddled with religious doubt at that age, so we'll remind them to 'Put your trust in the Lord'.

I think there may have been some pretty disappointed birthday boys and girls receiving this one.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Round and Beautiful

If, like me, you've been overdoing the Cadbury's Mini Eggs this week, you may be thinking about losing weight again. And I like the sound of the 'revolutionary bath treatment' with 'no exercises, no rigorous dieting' and 'nothing to take internally'.

On the other hand, you may be worrying about 'unsightly bones'. Apparently no-one paid much attention to this woman until she put on a stone or so, and 'Valitone Bonbons' helped her to become 'the Queen of the party'. 'By eating these tasty bonbons after meals, the body weight can be increased within a few weeks from 10-30 pounds.' I find Cadbury's Mini Eggs have a very similar effect...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Offshore Investment

Poor Miss Jersey. She looks so demure doesn't she? She has good intentions, as she wants to help you save money. Jersey is a tax haven, after all.
But if you want to use her (ahem!) moneybox, you have to turn her around, lift up her fake patchwork skirt, and... well, you get the idea...
It's not very dignified, is it?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Don't mind if I do...

If you're having to return to work today after the Easter holiday, you might feel in need of a little pick-me-up. Maybe you should consider some Sanatogen Tonic Wine, as advertised in a 1970s magazine?

'You'll feel better after the first glass'. I should think you did, considering Sanatogen Tonic Wine was a hefty 26 percent proof! At the bottom of the label, it says that you should have 'One wineglassful three times a day'. By my rough calculation (going by, that would work out as 68 units of alcohol per week (the recommended limit is 21). Crikey! That's quite a tonic!

As the ad says 'It will help cheer you up and put you on top of the world....Ask for some today. You'll enjoy it doing you good.' Well, yes, possibly. Although you may also find yourself viewing the world through an alcoholic mist, rather like the couple in the background!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Even Scare Yourself!

Is that a picture of the Easter Bunny spitting blood? The graphics on this packet are truly wonderful, aren't they?

However, where were the Advertising Standards Authority when these teeth were sold? There is not one phrase on this packet that is true. These 'Hollywood Horror Teeth' do not come from Hollywood (made in Hong Kong, where else?), nor do they provoke horror. You will not 'even scare yourself', nor are they 'starkly sinister'. They would not be used on stage, television or movies. I'm even doubtful about the apparently factual statement that the '8 snap in teeth form over 500 ghoulish combinations'. There are only 4 teeth in the packet, none of them particularly ghoulish. 'Screamingly funny'? Well, that's a bit nearer the mark. 'Bizarre marketing of plastic tat'? Ah, the truth at last!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Friday Postcards - Easter Bunnies

You know how much I love toys on postcards, so I thought Easter was a perfect opportunity to share some cute bunny postcards. The top one is pretty normal and cute.

But this second one strays into very surreal territory. On the back of the card is printed "Hasenpfeffer Bunnies - Easter Greetings From All The Folks of The Cabbage Patch".
This is an acid trip of a postcard.  There is a cowboy bunny sitting on a bench in front of his blobby green house. Is his house meant to be a cabbage? If so, he has managed to install a stove in it, as the smoking chimney shows. He has several baskets of flowers and Easter eggs. A windmill, with sails that hit the ground, apparently turns in the distance. The cowboy waves a greeting to a well dressed rabbit couple in a sports car. They have small chickens on their car.
I believe they may be waiting for newspaper taxis to appear on the shore...

Thursday, 5 April 2012

'An Egg Today is a Joy Tomorrow'

Some more Easter-themed crafts to celebrate the season! They are all from this classic book about 'Egg-citing' things to do with eggs. I think they are a little bit too enthusiastic about the merits of these projects ('over-egging the pudding', if you will). This necklace is called 'an adventure in eggery', and is described as having a 'simple grandeur'. Well... judge for yourself.
 I'm not sure how the Hansel and Gretel scene in an egg is 'a retrospective peek into fairyland'.

Nor do I understand how these other scenic eggs 'will become inspired coversational pieces'. Except maybe when someone asks why on earth you made an egg with a Christmas tree in it. Or one with a plastic swan. (The one with the plastic swan is described as 'Lovely as the last lingering strains of "Swan Lake"')
Actually, the more I look at these, the more I want one. They are superbly over-the-top, with the pearls, the gold stands and fancy finials. Marvellous.

Perhaps, after all, the author is right when she claims that these amazing creations are 'Tomorrow's Heirlooms'.
I think she may also be correct when she says, 'The mini tea set will make you famous if you display it on your sideboard where your friends can discover it.' Quite possibly.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Egg On His Face

I love this sort of egg - made from cardboard, with charming pictures inside and out. However, in this case, I think the scene on the front has captured rather an awkward moment. Mr Bunny has invited his friend, the Chicken round for tea. But Mr Bunny has commited a bit of a faux-pas by serving hard-boiled eggs! Oops!
Thought I'd show you the inside just because it's so sweet.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Craft Projects for Easter?

Before there were cute amigurumi crochet animals there were craft projects like this. Poor Miss Mouse is afflicted with gigantism, and her enormous limbs are bursting out of her little dress. Not even her 'enchanting spindly tail' can divert attention from her ungainly body.

And what about Tibor and Timothy? They stare fearfully at their creator, the editor of 'Pins and Needles' magazine, as if to say 'Why did you make us this way?' Of course, they can't actually say anything, because they have no mouths.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Jolly Boating Weather

As you may have guessed, I am pretty much addicted to Ebay. I could spend hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds on there. It probably has been that much over the years. And although I often try to cut down, I find such wonderful things that I know I can't. Take these little beauties. Japanese pencil sharpeners in the shape of animals driving motor boats. How flipping brilliant is that??

Look at their crazed expressions! Look at the mad red eyes of the bunny, the chicken holding the steering wheel in its wings, the pink ...chick thing, and the other animal that could be anything, but I'll guess at a cat or a bear. I feel happy just looking at them...

Don't forget that I want to share your love of the weird, the kitsch and anything curious, and have asked you to send me your photo (details here). Please send me a photo by the end of next Monday 9th April to be entered for a mystery prize, which will be something nice and not at all weird (unless requested!).