So, here’s my latest Mod-influenced find, thanks to The Internet:

Pandafrisyr / 60’s mod from Amanda Lindblom on Vimeo.

“Poppare” (“pop fan”, according to most translations i’ve found on fansites) is a near-exclusively Swedish subculture style (a few people, usually girls, in “poppare” style have been noticed in Denmark, Finland, and even Paris, but for the most part, it seems contained to Sweden) that seems linked to a fans of shoegaze-influenced indie rock and pop music. Swedish bands like Broder Daniel, Florence Valentin, Kent, and others are popular, as are English bands such as The Smiths and Morrissey solo, The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, Joy Division, and a few others. The usage example of “poppare” in urbandictionary.com likens the look to “Emo from the 1960s”, and it doesn’t seem that far off a description.

The most popular hairstyle on girls seems to be these painstakingly-sculpted A-line bob-influenced bouffants (the back tends to be up higher and hair hangs lower in the front at a sharp angle), and popular dress for young women includes 60s Mod-influenced A-line skirts and shift dresses, Mary Jane shoes, Go-Go boots, heavy eyeliner and thick false lashes. The most common variants are “glitter poppare”, which is colourful, and hair is often accessorised with baby barrettes, and cheap plastic jewellery also seems popular with that style; then there’s “panda poppare”, named for the stark black-and-white colour scheme and often smokey eye make-up, and the look is generally more “grown-up”, in comparison; and then there’s a more casual look, with ‘smaller” hair, cigarette-slim jeans and Capri pants, oversized t-shirts, and big sunglasses. While photos of the boys, tagged popparpojke on Fuck Yeah Poppare, seem rarer, I’ve found a few pictures that seem to pick up on some later Mod and Mod Revival influences:

(above images found on the Tumblrerg “Fuck Yeah Poppare“)

(image found from Tumblr user olaf-g.tumblr.com)

Image found on the emocore.se forum

more popparpojke photos, are here.

Broder Daniel “Shoreline” musicvideo from Karl-Johan Larsson on Vimeo.

I’ve been listening to a few Broder Daniel albums, lately, and I have no idea why these boys didn’t break into the UK or US indie pop/rock scenes, cos they go really great alongside shoegaze staples like The Smiths, The Cure, The Go-Betweens, or My Bloody Valentine —the guitars are a little heavier, but really no moreso than the heaviest offerings from the Jangle Pop and Paisley Underground scenes of the mid-1980s (a scene I plan on writing an entry about, soon), which does make some sense, as they formed initially in 1989, and their first album was released in 1994, so it would make perfect sense if a lot of their influences lay in British shoegaze and jangle pop. Their emphasis on emotionally-charged lyrics rather than what they’ve referred to as “musical correctness” could’ve also given them a bit of a cult following when Emo was big a few years ago, but alas, I guess it wasn’t meant to be, and unfortunately, they disbanded in 2008, so short of a reunion, any cult following they gain outside of Sweden will be posthumous.

As I’ve previously noted, a lot of shoegaze and Australian Swamp seems to borrow bits and bobs from the 60s Mod and garage sounds, as well as jazz, rhythm & blues, and old blues inflused with a post-punk sensibility, which certainly helps a lot of the music more closely associated with those scenes appeal to Mods, even if the fashions associated with those scenes seldom seem to display much in the way of Mod influence, unless you count the fact that a handful of bands seem to be outfitted partially by old clothes from the mid-1960s that ended up in charity shops between 1979 and 1985. Here, i see a bit more in reverse —while the music tends to draw from newer sounds and influences, the associated fashions are clearly 60s-inspired, though with a few “updates” here and there.

That said, I think I’m showing my age when I see pictures of poppare girls in outfits like this:

and i immediately think of Strawberry Swithblade:

…and again, we do see a clear bouffant made with the hair, and if you’re familiar with Rose McDowall’s work after Strawberry Switchblade, then you’d know she did a record and EP of some pretty spot-on covers of 1960s folk rock, beautiful music, and chanson, (including Nancy & Lee‘s “Big Red Baloon”), under the name Spell.

To further align the poppare scene with Mod Revivals and similar scenes, an apparent influence and reference I keep seeing in the Tumblr tags is Mats Johnsson’s autobiographical graphic novel, Hey Princess, which apparently features a lot of references to 1990s Britpop, especially Oasis.

So yeah, I’m sure a lot of purists in the Modernist Front Party would insist that three’s no relation between the two scenes, but i think it’s pretty apparent, glaringly so, at times.

Tips for Mod Style on a Tight Budget

fred-perry-640x495I frequently see people bemoaning how expensive Mod style clothing is — and I admit, the “premier” clothing labels are something that someone barely earning above the minimum wage can justify, barring receiving something as a gift or scoring a once-in-a-lifetime sale. Now think about those of us, no less “Mod” by definition of personal aesthetics, taste in music, literature, films, and so on, but pull in even less income — disability allowance supplemented with freelance writing and Etsy barely makes diddly, and I’ve only recently worked my way up to diddly. ben4

Now, I know I don’t conform to the strictest idea of a Mod fashion aesthetic, but in part cos I’m hard to fit off-the-racks, and in part cos a lot has influenced my own personal style and the idea of sticking to an über-strict interpretation of a Mod look just doesn’t make sense to me, anymore. On the other hand, as I said, I’m broke, and if one can look as well as I do whilst being as broke as I am, obviously I must know something.

So here are some tips I have for the kids, or anyone else who might need them:

Forget About “Lifestyle Brands”, They’ll Get On Just Fine Without You and You Without Them

fred-perryHere’s something that I’ve suspected a long while, but recently had confirmed by some oldsters on the Mod Generation forum: If you’re on a tight budget, the look is more important than the brand. “The originals” knew this. Sure, it was nice if some-one could score expensive clobber, but even today, there is no shortage of “knock-offs” (and in big coastal cities, plenty of brand forgeries) that look just as good and hold up just as well for a lot less. Yes, sometimes the adage of “you get what you pay for” is true, but I’ll get to that further down.

Just remember that “the originals” didn’t always have THE brands to own, and some of the extreme brand loyalty portrayed as an obsession amongst all the Faces in the ’60s is largely a product of limited oral histories spotlighted by media outlets, and at most, it seemed dependent on who your friends were. Jimmy Quadrophenia Fred Perry And sometimes, THE brands to have varied by location, age, and mates: One gent on The Mod Generation seems very insistent that THE brand of denim jeans he and his friends wore was Lee, and Levis were for dockworkers and rockers —but if you go to other sources, it’s Levi-Strauss that’s the brand for Mods to wear. What we can ultimately take away from these divergent stories is that the look was more important than the brand, especially now, when there are dozens of brands that make perfectly fine clothing for all manner of Mod looks, and not to mention a revolution in home businesses, and surely plenty of people who’d be more than willing to craft bespoke clothing as upstart designers.

Branding Is Not Necessarily Indicative of Quality

andreas-image-529216-article-ajust_930This is something that a lot of people just can’t shake, but here’s a secret that I’ve learned from friends who work in small clothing boutiques, in “chain boutiques” at shopping malls, and actually for certain “lifestyle brands” including Retail Slut, Lip Service, Boy London, Griggs (Doc Marten), and others: If you see a “lifestyle brand” at a large chain boutiques in shopping malls, even the middle class department stores, like Macy’s, it’s probably not the same quality item that you could get from a smaller, independent boutique, or better yet, a boutique owned by the brand itself.

This is generally not public knowledge (though many loyalists to certain brands who’re not-necessarily-in-the-know have suspected it for decades), but it’s pretty common for quality brands to make cheaply-made versions of their items —cheaper versions that are otherwise identical— to sell to “big-name” chain stores. bensherman The chain store wants to move items at a price that it “competitive with” (less than) the prices offered by other stores or the brand itself. If the brand sold the high-quality items at the price the chain wants them for, bankruptcy would likely ensue. So what’s a high-quality lifestyle brand to do? Offer the chain a cheaper version for the scene tourists and fad whores, and hope the lifers and brand loyalists notice a difference in quality and eventually bypass the chain boutique for the brand’s website.

It’s borderline crooked and arguably wasteful, but that’s how Capitalism, works, kids: Merc-Wine-Tonic-Suit-£230-jacket-£150-Trousers-£801 the brand has to offer a cheaper product of lesser quality for the sake of exposure, while producing lesser quantities of the quality product that will hopefully preserve the brand’s reputation.

When buying Quality, Less Can Become More

I’ve seen a lot of American fashion rags call this “the European habit”: Buy only one or two high-quality items of clothing a year, and you’ll eventually have a lot of gorgeous, high-quality items without busting your bank account. The key being to focus on buying high-quality items that may be a little more expensive, but are durable and always in style for your look. pretty_green_parka_black_front_400 I don’t see what’s so “European” about this idea, but it’s a great idea for extra holiday or birthday money, tax-return season, and so on —indulge in *one* high-quality shirt or pair of shoes, or a seasonal suit, or so on (after more-necessary expenses are taken care of), and you may not have the most-envied wardrobe, but it’ll be respectable, and within a few years, have some really nice things.

When buying high-quality items, you end up replacing things less frequently —in part because the extra attention has been paid to selection of materials and the quality of the work gone into making and inspecting the items, and one is also more inclined to actually make minor repairs (when possible) than throw away an item with a busted zip or torn seam. 1357762294-07026500

…which reminds me:

Learn the Art of Mending

People don’t do this much anymore, and I don’t understand why. Well, OK, I understand a little — when cheap clothing is so prevalent, it’s far more convenient to replace things than to fix them. This is a really bad habit to get into. For starters, if you can only afford inexpensive items, this can quickly turn into money going right into the ragbox. Secondly, if you’re not in the habit of repairing a cheap polo shirt or darning a pair of dress socks from Target yourself, if you can ever score a quality item (be it a holiday pay bonus or a gift), you’re going to be at a loss when that item finally needs a repair. Merc-Fleming-T-Shirt It’s like oral hygeine: If you don’t start teaching children at a very young age how to brush and floss and use a rinse as soon as they can hold a toothbrush, it’s going to be harder to teach them to make a habit of it when they’re older. Well, it’s like any good sense habit — the sooner you get into it, the better the chance you have of making a lifelong habit of it.

If you have a laundry day, set aside the next day as a “mending day”. It’s easier to make repairs to items that are clean (especially socks, for what should really be obvious reasons), so this works out fine –just examine each item before you fold, and set it aside for mending, if you need to. For shirts, a fine, but strong thread is best, and a finer needle works best. It’s all hand-sewing, and there is no shortage of tutorials on YouTube; lambretta-clothing-024 eventually, you’ll be able to figure out what stitches work best for which particular kinds of tears, but if you’re ever at a loss, as around to friends or on-line, if you have to. If the crotch of your jeans are rubbing thin, some iron-on patch on the inside will extend the life. Darning socks is relatively easy, as well, and again, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube —but you’ll need a specialised needle (a proper darning needle is very large for a hand needle, and while there are a few sizes for different thickness knits, they also tend to have duller tips), some thick cotton thread, and it goes by much easier with an “egg” or “mushroom” tool. il_fullxfull.394757181_1frj It’s also completely possible to do it all by hand, but in my experiences, that ends up with a tighter weave that ends up fraying around the edges faster. In a pinch, if you have one, you can use a shot glass.

The cost of mending is naturally very inexpensive, compared to replacement items: A basic needle and thread can repair up to a hundred shirts, maybe more, and will cost between $2 and $7, depending on the thread. Each shirt you replace could cost between $5 (if you’re lucky enough to find something on an extreme clearance or at a rummage sale) and $40, or more. MERC_8 Sure, a standard six-pair bag of athletic crew socks may only cost about $7 at K-Mart or Woolworth’s, and a darning egg between $5 and $15, the cotton up to $5 a spool, and a card of darning needles about $5, but that spool of cotton will easily last dozens of pairs, and will work just as well on darning the rubbed-out heels of most dress socks —it’ll look more obvious, but only when the shoes come off, and in my experiences, the repaired area can last longer than the original weave (at least after I became rather experienced in darning my own socks.

Learn the Art of DIY

lambrettacloth01 Sure, there’s a big difference between mending a shirt and making a shirt, but after you learn the fundamentals of sewing by mending, it’s not a huge task to learn to make whole outfits. True, to make your own clothes, you need a lot of time, patience, and you can’t expect to make your own bespoke winter and summer suits until you’ve cut your teeth on a few shirts (and other, simpler projects), first, but most of the price of a tailored suit is in the labour, and always has been. If you can score quality textiles, and have the patience to do it, you can make your own suit for one third the price of one tailored at a shop or less!

Mary Quant, at work

Mary Quant, at work

If you don’t have the patience, another option is to buy something off the racks and have it tailored to fit you perfectly, but depending on the skills of yourself or your tailor, it can look a little awkward.

More Importantly, Take Good Care of Your Things

Did you know that machine washing and tumble drying actually contributes to damaged clothing? It really does. If it says “hand wash”, your machine may have a “hand wash” setting, but it’s really best to get a washboard and learn how to do it yourself. dresses-by-betsey-johnson-for-paraphernalia-and-opaque-tights-by-solar-1966-dave-mccabe When weather permits, line-drying is always best, and it saves a lot of money in energy, and some things are just best dried flat or on an indoor rack, anyway.

ValetMag, which tends to cater to men’s sartorial interests, has a “Handbook” on clothing care that everyone should learn –especially the decyphering of care labels and hanger use (both of which will make HUGE differences in the life of your clothing — plastic “tubular” hangers should be banned), and their “When to Wash It” guide will also give you a decent guideline on how often certain items need to be washed, at least given normal use and hygiene habits of the wearer. A little bit of an unscented “clothing refresher” (like Febreeze), applied lightly, also helps, depending on the season and any hygienic peculiarities 1358356956_3977_MV_card_2_323_448_c1_center_top (like maybe you shower twice a day, and use powder and deodorant sticks, and are even a fair size for your height, and you still have issues with sweat). Basically, don’t wash your clothes after every wear, unless it’s a foundation garment (vests, pants, socks, brassieres, etc…), or thin knits (t-shirts or polos). If you change your clothes a couple times a day, for different activities, then you have even less reason to launder clothing after every wear.

If you spilled something on it, you may be able to get by just touching it up with a stain stick at home, letting it set a few minutes, and then hand-rinsing in the sink for another wear; not all stains, of course, but you’ll soon learn which ones are easier to get an extra wear from and which are not.

mary-quant-4255The really important lesson here is that machine washing and tumble drying after every wear does more damage to the life of your clothing than you can imagine. Certain expensive washer-dryers promise to reduce this, but wouldn’t it make more sense to cut even that amount of potential damage in half? Technology is no excuse for mistreating your clothes.

Make Friends

It may seem a tad skeevy to just come right out and say it, but here’s the truth of the matter: You can’t go dustbin shopping on Carnaby Street or Park Avenue or Rodeo Drive anymore. The high-quality deadstock at vintage clothiers is usually for very tiny people, because it’s the crap that didn’t sell. Furthermore, the prestige of deadstock at vintage shoppes will be reflected in the price; why? By nature, it tends to be more scarce than even things that were purchased and worn only once, or never worn but lack tagging and are technically no longer “deadstock”. 610174850_7b5baa2f0a_z You can’t afford these things, the shoppes are no longer giving them away due to a very minor defect, and you want these items. So what are your options? Well, you can whine about it on the internet, or you can make friends.

Whether it’s inexpensive tailoring jobs or or discounts on readymades at the vintage boutique, people are notorious for giving favours to their friends.

Here’s the catch, though: You have to REALLY become friends to these people, and show it. Friendships are based on shared interests and, often, mutually beneficial arrangements between the involved parties. I might give a friend of mine a discount on badges for his band, and in return, he might give me the latest single on 45. 6a00d8341c2f0953ef01676866d706970b-700wi

Go to a shoppe, introduce yourself, hang out a bit if you’ve got nothing better to do, and offer to do little jobs to help out — sweep up, help sort things, suggest arrangements for the window mannequins, and so on. If you work on the university paper, offer a discount on an advert, if you can, or just pay a percentage of the advert for the shoppe, if you can’t offer a real discount. Offer to spruce up the shoppe’s Facebook page or take photographs for their website. Seriously, you can do all sorts of little things for local shoppes that will endear you to the kind people running them, and *could* result in discounted merchandise.

Betsey Johnson tinsel motorcycle jacket 1966 Paraphernalia showroomHere’s the other catch: This is no guarantee. See, small shop owners will also gladly take any free help they can get, and not every person running a small shop believes in compensating hopeful young people for their time with a measly 10% off that Paraphenilia dress that fits you just perfectly, or that empty Mary Quant compact that would make a great business card case. A lot of shop owners also feel that they can easily sniff out the people who’re just hanging out there looking for free or cheap merch by doing odd jobs —and maybe you’re genuinely interested in the shoppe and were just wrongly accused. Oh well. If a shop owner makes it clear that they can’t or simply won’t give you a discount or freebies, no matter what their reasons are, accept that. Remember, this is best treated as a long shot, and it’s one of those things that, in my own experiences, is most-successful when you’re very young and earnest, or the owners feel they know you very well, and even then, it’s a total crap-shot. They have bills to pay, too, and the store likely doesn’t make much money.

On the other hand, if you are very young, say 13-16 in age, hanging out at the shoppes and doing little tasks around the store is a great way to engage the employees and owners, and learn about the clothes and styles. Most of these stores are owned and run by enthusiasts of vintage and subculture styles, so hanging out after school and doing coffee-runs for the employees can be a great way to learn things, so even if you don’t get a discount on that dress or suit, you’ll get knowledge and meet people. It’s also a great way to actually getting a job there, or at least an employment reference.

Don’t Cheap Out On Shoes

Assuming you’re done growing, this is very important. You really need the best you can afford, even if it means that they’re going to cost more than a similar K-Mart shoe or a forgery you found at a Chinatown shop. Griggs, the company that makes Doc Martens boots, has met people halfway on the little branded habit of expensive but high-quality things at the showcase boutiques, and cheaper things at big chain shops: The “Made In England” line, and their cheaper line produced in a factory in China. Now, while Griggs insists that both lines meet the same standard of quality, I’ve been wearing predominantly (and sometimes ONLY) Doc Martens since I was fourteen years old (and my feet only really went up by a single size at about the age of twenty-five), I have the complimentary book that came with pairs of Docs in 1999, a good five years before they shifted most of their work to a factory in China. There is a clear difference in quality between a Chinese 1460 in leather and an English 1460 (which are only in leather), and the quality is directly reflected in the price.

Shoes can bring the whole outfit together and finalise the statement your clothes are making. Cheap shoes with an otherwise quality outfit might not seem obvious if the shoes are brand new, but it will become more obvious with wear.

Shoes, by their very function, also take more of a beating than the rest of your wardrobe ever will. You’re not going to literally beat 125lbs+ of pressure into your trousers, against the pavement, literally hundreds of times for your twenty minute walk to your bus stop in Hyde Park, Chicago. You’re going to do that to your shoes, though, and a little extra money for a high-quality shoe with a durable sole will be worth its weight in gold, in the long run. And if you end up walking through the soles of your high quality shoes? (I’ve literally walked through the soles of my Docs several times.) Call around, most cobblers can replace the sole for under US$75, so see who has the best reputation and the best price for their quality of work.

A Proper Dandy Can Even Look Smashing in Rags

Later in his life, Andy Warhol, renowned as a Mid Twentieth Century dandy, took to mostly black items, and some people noted that the only reason they could tell his outfits were different was cos otherwise identical items showed crude signs of mending in different places. Now, Warhol, by that time, had built up his own personal style and eccentricities for over thirty years, he had the name and notoriety and accumulated a sense of personal dignity to carry it off well. Maybe this won’t work for you, but if you give a lifetime of building even local notoriety, it might work. Or hell, maybe you could get away with saying that you’re applying the artistic symbolism of Dexys Midnight Runners’ “ragamuffin” phase with the classic Mod aesthetic?

The point is, being a proper stylist is about more than just clothes: You need an attitude, a confidence, and a bit of talent. You need a knowledge of what looks best on you, and a sense of how to maximise it. You also need a personality that makes people remember more than the clothes. You can’t buy any of that with any amount of money.

Spot On Etsy: I Love Tab

So, the picture I had of myself on Etsy from December 2012 until early in June 2013 was a crappy tablet pic of myself, wearing a Secret Affair t-shirt and a b&w zebra-print with hot pink trim “santa hat”, and drinking a can of Tab. I actually got a few Etsy convos from people expressing their love of that photo, and at least one person says that she decided she HAD TO make her purchase based solely on the fact that I was drinking Tab in the photo.

So in homage to that, here’s an I ♥ Tab treasury:

New Badges in the Odd Mod Out Shoppe

And I’ve had actually two badges get featured in the following Treasury:

Totally Tubular – 2 Tone


It’s my birthday later this month, but I’m giving YOU a present with this coupon code:


Good on any purchase of US$3 or more, and gives a 16% discount ALL JULY!

And lastly:

If you’re waiting for me to replenish my copies of New Dance in my shoppe, mark your calendars! I’m due to get a few more copies on 22 July 2013 (my birthday!), and if they pass inspection, they’ll be up for sale within a day or two, and I’ll have more of the free gift put together by then, as well.

Spot On Etsy: Midsummer Night’s Scene

First off, I want to apologise for slacking off this last week and a half, especially, I’ve been sick. At first I thought it was just allergies, but it turns out I’ve also got what’s likely just a nasty case of viral sinuitis —worst case scenario, it’s mono, but the DO at the Sparrow Hospital Urgent Care clinic says it’s unlikely, and only a week/week-and-a-half is too soon for such a diagnosis.

So, I created a cute, summery-inspired Treasury on Etsy:

Obviously not closely linked with any of my characters from the stories, but I thought it was a cute assortment of items.

So new items this week:

One of my Biba badges also got added to this very lovely Treasury on Etsy:

Go check it out!


Since it’s my birthday this month, I was going to thank all ly lovelies with a coupon code:


Good on any purchase of US$3 or more, and gives a 16% discount ALL JULY!

Other shop updates:

I’ve redone some of the shop sections, mainly I’ve gotten rid of the “genre / subculture”-related sections, cos frankly, I mix n match so much, many bands have cross-over appeal, and honestly, trying to think of where to put some things made me feel like i was a seventeen-year-old who just discovered old school punk on the Internet and will now nit-pick everything to death in hopes of sounding smarter and more sophisticated than he is. I’ve passed the personal desire to do that sort of thing, well, let’s say some years ago. Anyway, the Etsy tag system does that just fine for me, so there’s no need for me to stick things in redundant sections.

I’ve also added a “Discontinued” section and am moving over there some things that have never gained much views, favourites, or sales, and discounting them. Now, there are some things that I’ll always keep, regardless of their apparent popularity (like anything related to the Compact Organisation label, or The Tubes) because why? I have much love for these musos and designs, and believe that if I believe in them, eventually others will, too. Anyway, the Compact stuff seems kind of popular in Japan, and while my Japanese orders aren’t as many as UK or French orders, they always come in batches, and the Japanese buyers seem to love the things no-one else loves as much.

I also finally seem to have happened upon the perfect dpi and dimensions for scanning badges, and it occurred to me that I might benefit from a watermark on my images, so over the next few weeks, depending on how my allergic symptoms can deal, I’m going to be re-scanning EVERYTHING, and watermarking it.

I’m also working on goodies to add to orders that will be low-cost to myself. I have a few Odd Mod Out badge designs, and am trying to figure out my options for stickers and a decent bookmark featuring a QR-code that has an excerpt from one of the forthcoming stories.

Lastly, hey, did you know I started a Team? An Etsy Team for both Buyers and Sellers? I’d really love to start monthly Treasury contests and such, so if you’re on Etsy, please join my team! :-)

Spot On Etsy: Swampie Style

Yeah, I realise I should’ve posted this one with last week’s Modcast, and I initially intended to, but I had another Treasury that’d been in Draft status for a couple weeks, and got a mite confused, as I don’t really sleep very well.

So this week’s Treasury is loosely based on what I’ve been able to learn of the Swampie scene –as I didn’t live in Oz in the 1980s, I’m not certain of everything, but I certainly have noticed some things in my attempts to learn about it.

This week’s new badges also include:

I also just noticed that I somehow didn’t link to the new Etsy Team, Mods & Skins, last week. As I said last week, if you join up, there’s a couon code in the Team-only threads for 20% off at my shoppe!

No treasury listings this week. :-(

And unfortunately, last month has so far been my worst month on sales this year —which is unusual, cos for the last three years, it’s been April that’s been the worst for the year. I didn’t even earn my six month average, last month, which makes it doubly unusual, and also makes me very paranoid about money, so I’m likely going to bug people about ideas for new bages more than I tend to.

Spot On Etsy — Odd Mod Out “Peacocks” Treasury

So, I decided that I liked the cross-over of Treasuries and blog posts, so I figured I’d make one while I’m still working on other character treasuries. This one is themed around peacock imagery and colours.

These are all pretty self-explanatory, I think, but if I notice a lot of comments from people who have no idea why I’d include these things, I’ll return to my former format of a simple thumbnail and description.

I’ve also updated my own Etsy shoppe with the following badges:

And the following items from my shoppe have been added to the following treasuries:

The “Tyranny & Rubble” Treasury was also apparently part of a non-team challenge, prompted by the blog Treasury Challenge NonTeam. I’m perusing this and think I might take up a future challenge.

Spot On Etsy Tuesday

So, continuing from the last time I did this, here’s another Etsy Treasury based on one of my characters from The Mod Stories, this time Henri “Nino” Mitropoulos.

il_570xN.115798246 First item is a gorgeous dove grey Italian suit. Ignore the scraggly gent that it doesn’t really fit that well on. I mainly chose this for the pictures, cos down to the tie, I can see Nino in this. Only it would fit him better. It’s a gorgeous colour, and the shirt and tie were picked expertly, just not the model. Not the model at all. If Nino were a real person, he should’ve modelled.

il_570xN.429083964_rk4o If you were able to get a CD-R that I give out with copies of New Dance that I sell at events and on Etsy, you’d know I selected “Just Step S’ways” by The Fall as “Nino’s theme”; hence this t-shirt. The “themes” I picked for characters were for one of two reasons: 1) That character references the band, or that specific song, in the text; sometimes this is related to the plot, but usually it’s just a point of character development, like how Jace’s theme is “What Did You Expect” by Secret Affair. or 2) The song turned out to be something that I was listening to whilst writing (I usually just put a big selection of things in WinAmp on Shuffle as I write), and I noticed that it was somehow influencing the character development in a way that I liked. Reason Number Two is how Alice’s theme was “DJ” by David Bowie (and I just ran with that character development into the direction I did), and it’s also why I selected Nino’s theme.

il_570xN.419129921_cqty And I continue with this snare drum ring. So, The Fall’s “Just Step S’ways” begins with a prominent drumming, and as I recall, that song came up right after one with a similar drumming by Brian Auger’s Trinity (pretty uncanny for song randomisation, and a Mod & Skinhead music folder of at least 28,000 songs), and I noticed this after I had written in Nino’s position as the second drummer for The Street Urchins. In fact, considering his character, and specifically how his personality is almost a complete 180° turnaround from every other drummer I’ve known, I was surprised when I first noticed that I’d just written him in as a drummer, so i backtracked on the songs, and noticed two with strong drumming right in a row like that. Either way, i think it works, and all things considered, I like the idea of The Street Urchins having an “anti-drummer” as the personality of their drummer.

il_570xN.383618540_q743 The coffeehouse features frequently in the pages of New Dance. The characters consist of eight friends, five of whom are in a band, three of whom work very closely with said band, and about half of them went to university together. I make a point of mentioning that several of them have a “usual” for coffee, and Nino’s is a vanilla cappuccinno. So I was very impressed to see this candle made to look like one.

il_570xN.199104787 Not every item in these lists needs to have a story attached. Like I said, I picked Nino for the band’s drummer, and in an effort to find items that reminded me of Nino, I chose this nice black and white photo print of drums for his treasury.

il_570xN.427828750_fzoo I was actually very impressed to find this one. Nino grew up in London until the age of fourteen, when his father’s employer, tailor and shop owner Dean Norman (who’s not at all a fictionalised John Stephen >_>) opened a shop in Belfast and offered Nino’s father to be in charge of the Belfast shop; Nino’s father being a Greek tailor from a long line of tailors from Thiva, and having been in the employ of Norman since literally days before Nino’s birth. On his mother’s side, Nino comes from a line of French displaced aristocracy, his grandfather being a classics professor, and Nino’s grandparents, mother, aunt, and even himself fluent in classical Latin. And the seller is pretty sure this is a vintage 1960s English-Latin dictionary.

il_570xN.346544239 This seller is currently on holiday (I’ve had this Treasury published a few weeks now), but sign up to be notified about this beautiful peacock boutonnière. Nino doesn’t strike me as the sort who’d wear a boutonnière all the time, but certainly when the occasion calls for it or the mood strikes him.

il_570xN.290458239 I really like wall decals, and while I see Nino as initially very minimalist, in his tastes, I also see him growing more flash and dandy toward the end of New Dance, and further in the third book, Peacocks & Fairies. Which I like, cos most people get a bit more minimalist with age, and I like Nino ageing in reverse, in some ways.

il_570xN.392250266_3tq3 You really have to go to the listing, by clicking either the thumbnail or this link, so you can see this suit in detail. Yes. Navy velveteen. Glittery pinstripes. I was stuck on looking up stuff relating specifically to Nino as he’s depicted in New dance, so I started going into where I see his character developing as I keep writing.

il_570xN.453462393_n4wm As I said, Nino comes from a long line of tailors on his father’s side, so it makes sense that he’d have his own sewing machine. Unfortunately, the vintage 1960s model I had originally picked out sold, and this was the one I liked best when searching a new one. :-)

il_570xN.363701916_4juj This beautiful op-art stained glass piece is another “filler” item, and honestly? I picked it out cos it just felt like something the character would have. No story or character significance, just a piece I feel he’d like. He’s my character, and I said so.

il_570xN.365648986_myol Nino’s parents are existentialists, his mother at least as much toward the atheist side of the spectrum as Carl Sagan was an atheist (and he wasn’t, not really, his famous, and frequently misappropriated “Extraordinary claims…” quote was about alien visitors, not the existence of Deity), and I’ve decided that his father is more deist (will explore this in later books), while Nino himself is… evolving, but though I don’t mention it in New Dance, he’s a non-theistic absurdist. Nino has also read just about everything on their shelves, and at some point in New Dance, he and Jace discuss Jace’s un-guilty love of pulps, while Nino prefers more cerebral fare.

il_570xN.297165060 I wanted to include something in this that addressed the fact that Nino clearly identifies somewhat with his Greek background, but not in a way that screams “GREEK!!! OMGREEEEEK!!!” I think this tie does that nicely.

il_570xN.437562168_54h5 …and the reason things of Nino’s shouldn’t scream “GREEEEEK!!!!” is cos, first and foremost, he identifies as a Londoner. Even after living in Belfast for nearly ten years, but the beginning of New Dance, he’s still a Londoner. He’ll always be a Londoner. But because he loathes touristy clichés, I agreed that the Nancy In London record would illustrate this fact well enough. Plus, he’s bisexual with a major homosexual bend, he ought to have at least one Nancy Sinatra record, or he’s as bad as at least half the cast on the last three series of RuPaul’s Drag Race. (Oh yes, I said it. Gurls, you betta learn your gay icons, ‘kay?)

il_570xN.445145373_bsya Oh, te pulps are back! Another piece of filler. Nino is hard to shop for on Etsy. But I justify this because of the aforementioned convo, and the seller promises this is one of those infamously corny 1950s/60s-era gay pulps, where every homosexual was either doomed or could somehow be “straightened out”.

il_570xN.284949226 At risk of sounding crazy, I’m just going to say that the character “told me” to add this litho. It was added at the last minute, cos the Quentin Crisp-related item that used to be on this Treasury somehow disappeared, so this is the next best thing, I though.

Since the last SOE update, I’ve also added all these badges to the shoppe:

Go check them out!

Items from my shop have also been added to the following treasuries:

Spot On Etsy Tuesday!

So, for those of you who don’t diligently watch my Etsy updates, I’ve recently posted my novel, New Dance, to my shoppe, and in honour of this grand occasion, I’ve decided to make Treasury lists based on some of the more prominent characters in the book. So the first half of this is going to be my Etsy Treasury for Alice Reagan, with some commentary (more than Etsy lets me post), and the next half will be badges I’ve neglected to add since my last Spot On Etsy update.

il_570xN.411143997_qawi So, one thing that I edited out of the novel was a relatively unnecessarily lengthy half-chapter going into details about Alice’s history with wearing a beret, usually red. Since it’s been a while since I’ve read my own book, and that was one of the final omissions I made, I’m 90% sure that I at least mentioned she used to wear a red beret daily, whilst still at university. I still often imagine her wearing a beret a lot, but I also have mental images of her in a lot of “going out” attire, which involves a bouffant, not hair for wearing hats. Since I kept details about her brand of cigarettes wrapped in pink papers, and how her wardrobe is almost completely black, white, reds, and pinks, I thought she might have something like this for her beret days.

il_570xN.370969985_3dz2 In my mind, Alice has more catsuit-ish pieces than Emma Peele, or Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Which works on slim girls. I can actually see all these variations working on Alice and being things she’d have, or at least like to have, especially if you make some changes to the colours suggested in the illustration —even the hooded blouse, maybe in a geometric pattern of red and black with a red catsuit.

il_570xN.375318230_quly …and speaking of Aud in Funny Face! Probably my favourite Hepburn film. The scene at the café was a major influence on Alice’s character, as I was writing —that and Audrey as Holly Golightly, specifically in the scene where Holly is leaving the police station, her impeccable bouffant bunched up in back, large sunglasses, roomy jumper and slim capri trou, with this body language that says “oh, what fresh hell is this?” Alice is significantly mouthier, though.

il_570xN.381885840_smvi If Alice had a quote to live by, I think she’d pick this one. I really hope I put her optimism through well enough in the pages I allotted, cos I think she’s genuinely one of the happier and more optimist characters I’ve ever written. She puts up with a lot, her loved ones can stress her out like mad, she can be feisty and blunt if she thinks you can handle it, but she probably is the most faithful in human nature out of all of my published characters so far.

il_570xN.407270861_ojc1 Can’t properly do an Alice-themed Treasury without a few Bowie-related items (keep reading). Probably my favourite of Bowie’s looks / eras, in a stark pop-art style. If you have the CD I tend to give out with copies of New Dance at events, you probably noticed that Alice’s “theme song” I picked out was “DJ” from The Lodger. Another major influence on her character, and you can tell by how much I stress in the book that her skills as a DJ was integral to their favourite club’s success. In all the years I’ve been both attending and DJing at various nights, and with various themes, girl DJs have certainly become more common –but then, these are subculture nights– but according to some older friends, girl DJs in the early 1980s were still a bit of an oddity, and in the 1960s, practically unheard of. I still really think it works, with her character as the primary DJ at their club, even in 1982.

il_570xN.432820118_8ayl You know, I still have no idea why I thought to include this, other than the colours and pattern on the top of the case. I think it is definitely something her character would pick up at a charity shoppe or rummage sale, or maybe even decades later, after eBay happens, but honestly, I don’t see her as especially domestic, so she’d likely just pick it up cos it’s both functional and beautiful, and the lid of the box caught her eye.

il_570xN.378521795_e3pr Yes, I genuinely believe that Alice would have something like this in her wardrobe for extra-casual days; probably paired with slim jeans or leggings and a belt, since it looks quite long. Remember, this is not a “1960s Mod” story, this is a Mod Revival story featuring a lot of characters who actively don’t just wear things from charity shoppes that smell of moth balls, cos to them, that sort of misses the point of “Modernism” —why wear brittle old hand-me-downs when newer things exist, or can be created, that look just as nice or better? After all, while the 1960s Mod look certainly had influences from the 1920s (especially for the girls), it got updated, even though the influences are totally obvious.

il_570xN.399336664_bpkp I totally picture Alice wearing jumpers and blouses with skinny jeans with the 1980s high waists, cigarette-slim trou, capris…. She’s not really about skirts, has very few dresses, but looks just as clean and smart and sharp as any other girls at the clubs, arguably more so than most.

il_570xN.401362311_j8as I actually described Alice in something very much like this —and it’s made in England, no less! ;-) I probably would’ve put this higher up in the treasury if I’d found it earlier in my search for Alice items, but I swear, I described something similar to this, but when I saw this, it looked better for her.

il_570xN.435208709_sk42 Oh, who else had a mother with a cigarette purse? Alice smokes a lot, a fictional Belgian brand that I invented for the alternate reality that the stories are set in (yes, I Tarantino’d my own fictional brands and media, though with some overlaps with this reality); her brand, En Rose, are arranged in their packet so the papers around the tobacco alternate pink and red, and the filters have a silvery paper. The cigarette wraps also contain flint dust, so they pop with a glittered / sparkler effect as they burn (this is actually based on something an old friend of mine used to do, by rubbing the flintwheel bacwards on cheap disposable lighters to create a fine flint dust, then sprinkling a tiny bit of it along the edge of the wrap after rolling his own, before closing the seal). This is argueably the “girliest” thing about any given outfit she wears. It made sense to me that she might keep her fags in a shiny metallic mesh ciggie purse.

il_570xN.405747947_dwol I don’t recall mentionig Alice having any cigarette holders, but this looked like something she might pick up as a functional impulse buy, as with the hostess set. It’s cute without being overly cutesy, and I imagine that the roses might match the box design for En Rose.

il_570xN.111157603 I really do imagine Alice wearing this sort of necklace with a catsuit, or maybe a solid jumper with capris. This came up when I searched “David Bowie, pink” and the seller says it’s Ziggy-era influenced. I don’t really see that, but it’s got a cute minimalism to it, and Alice would see it as something tasteful to go with her simpler outfits.

il_570xN.361056510_39ei Alice purchased this simple print (or one just like it) and put it up in the DJ booth, in place of where Owain, the club’s owner, initially put a clock. She justified this, stating that people looking up at the booth don’t need to be reminded of the time, they need that on their way out of the lavvy. When they look up into the booth, they’re looking for a reason that they came here, and a reminder of what that big shiny floor is all about.

il_570xN.397875693_41no A woman who drinks as much strong, dark coffee as Alice Reagan cannot be satisfied with just a coffeehouse, even one that maintains an impressive Swedish Modern décor. So when she’s forced to have her strong French roast at home, she realises (as do all proper Mods ;-) that percolated coffee is nasty, and electric drip is only very slightly better, and even then, only when it’s fresh. Give the woman French Pressed, or give her… espresso.

il_570xN.377077210_dy2i I do make a point of describing Alice’s preferred shoe for dancing to be flats or ballet shoes —she’s not trained in ballet, but she finds a basic ballet shoe (read: NOT pointe shoes) with a split leather sole, much more sensible for dancing all night than some of the clunky heels or boots that the other girls wear. I don’t really think she’d wear ballet flats with the glittered stripes, but I thought they were cute, and they’re handmade, and they go with everything else in the treasury very nicely. Maybe she would have a pair like this, but just not wear them as much.

il_570xN.318565788 Lastly, the basic black catsuit. I really like the belt this is pictured with, too, and it’s very much something I picture Alice in, maybe with the pendant I picked, and a Capezio Jazz dance boot with split soles. Remember kids: Never wear stirrup leggings with footwear that can’t cover; the stirrup exists as part of the function, not the form, and the function is to keep the catsuit or leggings from riding up one’s leg and out of the boots, socks, or legwarmers with wear. I don’t care if you saw otherwise in some film, that’s cos the costumer was simple and didn’t understand basic style.

And this week’s badge updates:

These are in random order, and the Gallery form on the WordPress software won’t let me link everything individually, but as always, my shoppe is here.

I’ve also recently had items featured in the following Treasury lists:

So now that the weather’s getting better, hopefully I’ll be back to my regular schedule, and the annual seasonal depression is on a wane.

Spot On Etsy Tuesday

So, since the last time I did one of these (back in July), I’ve started updating Etsy on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I’m going to have to adjust the format, and I might change it around over the next month or so to something that makes a little more sense to me. I’m not going to lie, at least as much as this feature is about showing off other neat things I find on Etsy, it’s about featuring my own top-quality crap.

Other changes to the shoppe (aside from the MASSIVE postal cost increase for International sales, which I do feel bad about, but my hands are tied) are that, after looking through my feedback, I noticed a “neutral” comment from some-one who apparently didn’t realise how small one inch diameter was, so I’ve included a photo with all badge listings of a scan of a badge next to a 20p coin and a US 25¢ coin (apologies to Japanese buyers, but I don’t have a comparable size coin from Japan —if some-one would like to send me one, though, that would be pretty nifty).


So, the badges I added to my shoppe this week are The Blue Ox Babes and Compact Organisation.

I’ve also had items listed in the following Treasuries this month:

il_570xN.389672967_c12lTransparent Ghost Bag no2

I love this transparent bag a lot –and very mid-to-late 1960s. At first, I didn’t think I liked the backpack style, but the more I look at it that way, I think I like it about as much as the shoulderbag / messenger style.

I’ve always liked these clear bags, but they never caught on for the obvious reason: No privacy! And think about it, as much as ladies all have pretty much the same things in their bags, the illusion of privacy is nice. So I think calling this an unisex bag, as the seller has can even it out —as long as enough men don’t care that he’s only used a female model.

il_570xN.110368686 Alla Kinda flipbook pack vol1

Cute flipbooks with an early-mid 1960s aesthetic from a Spanish artist. They’ve included a demo here.

They’re cute, and really nicely done. A bit pricey, but a single is $17, so as a four pack, you’re saving $5.

il_570xN.421582209_ewh3 red VALENTINE typewriter OLIVETTI with case

This vintage portable typewriter is GORGEOUS. I was initially pulled over to the Dutch Details shop over their beautiful geometric op-art textile patterns, but this typewriter is just too beautiful not to show off here. Lots of other beautiful things at that shop, too, including these beautiful Christian Dior display heads.

il_570xN.420081873_ry7y Herman Miller Verner Panton original bright orange S chair

I love this chair. I wish I had a pair for the breakfast corner in my front room, I really do. I was originally planning the front room decorated in cappuccino and toffee, but I could change it up a tad to decorate around this.

As an added bonus, the seller offers free shipping in the States, and he’s only in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is just an hour and some from me.

il_570xN.386071195_5w24 The Warhol Collection – 6 piece mineral eyeshadow set

Bad Bitch Cosmetics makes organic, vegan-friendly cosmetics made by Etsy maven, Regina. Her Warhol Collection is inspired by Warhol’s femme superstars, Candy Darling, Edie Sedgewick, Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis, Viva, and Ultra Violet.

il_570xN.175866672 Phrenology Helmet

For bicyclists and people with small scooters, this helmet with a phrenology chart is fab. I love it, anyway. Then again, the bumps on my head said that I would.

I see no indication that it’s safe for the larger scooters, but if you think it’ll be safe enough, who’m I to stop you? At that price, it should be, but the one pictured is all wiffled, so hell if I know.

il_570xN.225648150 Monarch Butterfly Wing – glass pendant

It’s sad that a butterfly had to die for this, but it’s still beautiful all the same. Naturally very beautiful and would go great with a simple, solid black or orange dress.

Spot On Etsy Tuesday

My new badge this week is for the kind of weird guy who goes over people’s heads.

oh god,
am I so much more sensitive than everybody else ?
do I feel things so much more acutely than them,
and understand so much more.
I bet I’m the first person who’s ever felt as rotten as this.
could it be
that I’m going to grow up
to be a great poet and thinker, and all those other wankers in my class
are going to have to work in factories or go on the dole?
yes, I think it could.

This Lenox porcelain suite is just stunning. Hrmm… I seem to say that a lot about things…. Well, this time it’s especially true. I’d suggest the design is sort of a fusion of Art Deco and Art Nouveau —far too fluid to be true to Deco form, but not quite flourished enough to be true to Art Nouveay form.

These Cesar Stoffi-designed candlesticks are an Atompunk must-have! Or even Dieselpunk, they do sort of look a bit gearish.

And speaking of Atomic-age looks, i have to agree with the seller that this button does have something of an Atompunk look / feel to it. And such a lovely shade of blue; compliments the brasstone beautifully.

And speaking of lovely shades of blue, these earrings, made from beetle wings, and are simply gorgeous in their simple design. Also, the seller is based in my native city. :-D

Well, I’m kind of feeling a tad overwhelmed looking for stuff to post this week, but I think next week is going to be a theme of one of my (p)Etsy peeves.