Tommy Roberts a.k.a. Mr. Freedom

“Tommy Roberts is a towering figure of British fashion and design – a truly original retailer and entrepreneur. In the 60s, he pioneered the vintage clothing trade, selling antique threads to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Who at his Carnaby Street shop Kleptomania. But it was with London fashion label Mr Freedom’s fun, rainbow-hued, pop art-inspired clothes – all cartoon and fruit-machine motifs, all satin and flash – that he made the biggest splash. Also referencing Art Deco and 50s kitsch, Mr Freedom ushered in a new playful eclecticism in fashion which infected design, too, throughout the 70s – especially as, in the wake of the 60s pop movement, creatives of all colours rebelled against modernism throughout the decade.”

Flashin’ on the 70s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any interest in learning more, get this AMAZING book by the AMAZING Paul Gorman.  So worth it.

 

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Apartamento Magazine

 

Apartamento, the magazine of “everyday life interiors,” is pretty damn cool.  They photograph the homes of unique people of interest.  The places don’t have to be perfect, they don’t have to be huge, they don’t even have to be that clean, they don’t have to be anything really.  It is more about capturing the connection between the subject and their space.  The magazine is kind of like a perfect little super stylish peephole into a generally hidden reality!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track one down, you’ll be way into it.

 

Plop! Magazine

 

 

Plop!, “The New Magazine of Weird Humor!”, was a comic book published by DC Comics in the mid 1970s. There were 24 issues in all and the series ran from Sept./Oct. 1973 to Nov./Dec. 1976.

 

Each issue was hosted by three ghoulish characters – Cain, Abel, and Eve – who would try to outgross each other with a story.  To wet your appetite for the foul …

 

… here is the tale about a gourmet diner whose love for frog legs leads to a predictable amphibian revenge – he is left without his own legs, doomed to navigate the world on a trolley.

Plop! employed a number of the great minds of MAD magazine fame – Basil Wolverton and Wallace Wood provided distinctive some amazingly twisted covers for the first 19 issues, while Sergio Aragones and Dave Manak drew many of the more cartoonish tales and most of the surrounding banter between the three hosts.

 

 

Pretty amazingly excellent.  If only more of these sorts of comics were still around I think kids might read more!

 

Just Another Average Day

For my mother …

Benjamin Franklin

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier’s working hours were implacably regular. During my four years at the atelier, he worked at the rue de Sévres from two in the afternoon to around seven. The hour of 2:00 P.M., I soon learned, was holy. If you were a minute late you risked a reprimand. At first Corbu arrived either by subway (a convenient, direct metro line connected his Michel-Ange- Molitor station with the atelier’s Sévres-Babylone) or by taxi. Later on he started driving his old pistachio-green Simca Fiat convertible. In his last years it would be the taxi again. The process of returning home revealed quite a lot about Le Corbusier’s character. If the work went well, if he enjoyed his own sketching and was sure of what he intended to do, then he forgot about the hour and might be home late for dinner. But if things did not go too well, if he felt uncertain of his ideas and unhappy with his drawings, then Corbu became jittery. He would fumble with his wristwatch – a small, oddly feminine contraption, far too small for his big paw – and finally say, grudgingly, “C’est difficile, l’architecture,” toss the pencil or charcoal stub on the drawing, and slink out, as if ashamed to abandon the project and me — and us — in a predicament.

During these early August days, I learned quite a bit about Le Corbusier’s daily routine. His schedule was rigidly organized. I remember how touched I was by his Boy Scout earnestness: at 6 A.M., gymnastics and . . . painting, a kind of fine-arts calisthenics; at 8 A.M., breakfast. Then Le Corbusier entered into probably the most creative part of his day. He worked on the architectural and urbanistic sketches to be transmitted to us in the afternoon. Outlines of his written work would also be formulated then, along with some larger parts of the writings. Spiritually nourished by the preceding hours of physical and visual gymnastics, the hours of painting, he would use the main morning time for his most inspired conceptualization. A marvelous phenomenon indeed, this creative routine, implemented with his native Swiss regularity, harnessing and channeling what is most elusive. Corbu himself acknowledged the importance of this regimen. “If the generations come”, he wrote, “attach any importance to my work as an architect, it is to these unknown labors that one as to attribute its deeper meaning.” It is wrong to assume, I believe, as [others] have suggested, that Le Corbusier was devoting this time to the conceptualization of shapes to be applied directly in his architecture; rather, it was for him a period of concentration during which his imagination, catalyzed by the activity of painting, could probe most deeply into his subconscious.

Gary Panter

Get up at 7:30 in the morning — feed cats, drive daughter to school, read the NY Times and drink chocolate milk. Do chores and tasks and try to get time to make art. Make art. Take naps. Before each 5 minute nap I read a page or two. Right now I’m reading Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day. Make art. Go to sleep at 3:00 in the morning.

Charles Darwin

7 a.m. Rose and took a short walk.
7:45 a.m. Breakfast alone
8–9:30 a.m. Worked in his study; he considered this his best working time.
9:30–10:30 a.m. Went to drawing-room and read his letters, followed by reading aloud of family letters.
10:30 a.m.–
12 or 12:15 p.m.
Returned to study, which period he considered the end of his working day.
12 noon Walk, starting with visit to greenhouse, then round the sandwalk, the number of times depending on his health, usually alone or with a dog.
12:45 p.m. Lunch with whole family, which was his main meal of the day. After lunch read The Times and answered his letters.
3 p.m. Rested in his bedroom on the sofa and smoked a cigarette, listened to a novel or other light literature read by ED [Emma Darwin, his wife].
4 p.m. Walked, usually round sandwalk, sometimes farther afield and sometimes in company.
4:30–5:30 p.m. Worked in study, clearing up matters of the day.
6 p.m. Rested again in bedroom with ED reading aloud.
7.30 p.m. Light high tea while the family dined. In late years never stayed in the dining room with the men, but retired to the drawing-room with the ladies. If no guests were present, he played two games of backgammon with ED, usually followed by reading to himself, then ED played the piano, followed by reading aloud.
10 p.m. Left the drawing-room and usually in bed by 10:30, but slept badly.

Even when guests were present, half an hour of conversation at a time was all that he could stand, because it exhausted him.

Roger Ebert

Morning routine: I usually get up around 7. I make oatmeal in my rice cooker. Then I take an hourlong walk: outside if the weather’s good; on my treadmill if it’s cold. Then I shower, shave and go to the first of three movies I see on many weekdays.

Winston Churchill

Despite all this activity Churchill’s daily routine changed little during these years. He awoke about 7:30 a.m. and remained in bed for a substantial breakfast and reading of mail and all the national newspapers. For the next couple of hours, still in bed, he worked, dictating to his secretaries.

At 11:00 a.m., he arose, bathed, and perhaps took a walk around the garden, and took a weak whisky and soda to his study.

At 1:00 p.m. he joined guests and family for a three-course lunch. Clementine drank claret, Winston champagne, preferable Pol Roger served at a specific temperature, port brandy and cigars. When lunch ended, about 3:30 p.m. he returned to his study to work, or supervised work on his estate, or played cards or backgammon with Clementine.

At 5:00 p.m., after another weak whisky and soda, he went to be for an hour and a half. He said this siesta, a habit gained in Cuba, allowed him to work 1 1/2 days in every 24 hours. At 6:30 p.m. he awoke, bathed again, and dressed for dinner at 8:00 p.m.

Dinner was the focal-point and highlight of Churchill’s day. Table talk, dominated by Churchill, was as important as the meal. Sometimes, depending on the company, drinks and cigars extended the event well past midnight. The guests retired, Churchill returned to his study for another hour or so of work.

 Karl Marx
His mode of living consisted of daily visits to the British Museum reading-room, where he normally remained from nine in the morning until it closed at seven; this was followed by long hours of work at night, accompanied by ceaseless smoking, which from a luxury had become an indispensable anodyne; this affected his health permanently and he became liable to frequent attacks of a disease of the liver sometimes accompanied by boils and an inflammation of the eyes, which interfered with his work, exhausted and irritated him, and interrupted his never certain means of livelihood. “I am plagued like Job, though not so God-fearing,” he wrote in 1858.

The Source Family

Meet the Source Family.  For about six heady years, from the end of the sixties to the mid-point of the seventies, this group of over a hundred young people gave cult living in the Hollywood Hills a pretty good name, until they grew a bit too large and the Manson Family had to go and give cult living a bad name.

The family lived communally under the spiritual guidance of Father Yod, nee Jim Baker (that’s him in the suit pictured above).  The man was an ex-Marine self-defense expert who moved to California to become a stuntman, but ended up learning from the Nature Boys, and getting deep into philosophy, religion, and esoteric spiritual teachings – even becoming a Vedantic monk for a time.  In 1969 Father Yod established the Source Restaurant on the Sunset Strip, and slowly but surely assembled the Source Family.

The restaurant was memorialized in the film Annie Hall as the stereotypical Hollywood beansprout joint, and catered to celebrity regulars alike John Lennon, Julie Christie, Fabio, and Marlon Brando.  Father Yod was one of the first people in the US to really deliver on the idea of a gourmet aesthetic applied to healthy eating, and the place was an insane success.  During its peak, the restaurant was grossing around $10,000 a day if you can imagine.
The restaurant was managed and run by the Family, and served as their primary source of income.  Yod espoused meditation, communal living, shared property, and a non-monogamous sexuality in which women held the power.  Life seemed pretty good for a whole bunch of years.  I mean, just look at those pimpin’ suits and the Rolls Royce!
Oh yeah, and did I mention that Yod and the Family also spawned a heavy rock quartet to perform its own sacred music under the name Yahowha 13?  Obviously, these weren’t mega hits, but the records were sold at the restaurant, and they certainly had a following.  I can’t imagine anything more 60s cool than a successful, stylish hippie cult with a band!
By 1974, the Family had become a bit too big for their Hollywood Hills britches, and they up and moved to Hawaii for a fresh start.  The only problem … Father Yod died just a year later, following an ill-fated hang-gliding expedition.  Seriously, what are the chances?!  Without its charismatic founder, the Family quickly disintegrated, but they will forever be remembered as one of the coolest cults to ever walk the earth.

If you think that the Source Family is as rad as I do, read the book on the group written by a member herself, Ms. Isis Aquarius.  Yep, Isis Aquarius!

The Treasures of Chandigarh

Meet my new chair.  Lucky me!  It is by Pierre Jeanneret, and it was made in 1955.  Why it was made is the interesting story, though …

The man in the fancy chair that looks a lot like mine is Le Corbusier, and the other one standing is his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret.  They are standing in front of a map of Chandigarh, the city that they planned, designed, and constructed in India (after the city’s originally commissioned architect, Matthew Nowicki, died in a plane crash).  You see, after the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was also split between India and Pakistan. The Indian state of Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition, and so Chandigarh, the first planned city in India, was created.

The result was a Corbu-style city, structured according to an overwhelmingly thoughtful strategy – the northern part of the city, with its executive and legislative buildings, functions as the ‘head’, the ‘heart’ operates as Chandigarh’s commercial centre, while academic and leisure facilities are located in the city’s ‘arms’.

So, yeah, architecturally the city is pretty breathtaking, but it doesn’t stop there.  We now return back to the Jeanerret chairs … everything in Chandigarh was fashioned by the dynamic design duo – from the buildings down to the mancovers – which translates to an unimaginable quantity of design treasures.  To the residents of the city they were simply chairs, desks, or lamps, but to collectors around the world these objects are unique examples of some of Corbusier and Jeanerret’s most incredible creations.  Thus, they were sold for rupees in India (if they weren’t chopped up for teak or left to rot after they broke), and they have been auctioned for small fortunes ever since.

Judge’s Chair, 1960

Standard Lamp, 1955

Pedal Boat, 1950

Fireside Chair, 1960

Ministers Table/Desk, 1958/9

Manhole Cover, 1951/4

And the list goes on and on and on and on, as has this post!  I am just amazed by this one. If you are as interested as I am in this story, check out this great article in the NYT, or this one at Mid-Centuria.

Tiger Beat and the Teen Hearthrob

Ah … the innocence of young love and adolescent naivety.  To be a young girl concerned about whether the real Donny is “sweet or sexy.”  To wonder “is Elton John a sex symbol?”  To question if “David’s kisses mean danger.”  These topics, and so many more ridiculous ones were the subject of just about every Tiger Beat magazine of the 60s and 70s (and they probably still are today, I guess).  Doesn’t anyone else think it’s just a bit odd?  Sort of like Playboy for 12 year-old girls …

Inventor of the Day: Dr. Peter Schlumbohm

Doesn’t that name just roll off the tongue?!

Though you may not know his name, I can almost guarantee you know his greatest invention – the Chemex coffee maker. The creation is part chemist’s funnel, part Erlenmeyer flask, with a blond leather band in the middle corseting its hourglass curves. It is an iconic symbol of German modernism and simple, functional Bauhaus style.  Its success launched its inventor, Dr. Peter Schlumbohm (1896-1962), into the arms of the design establishment (the coffee maker has been a part of the MOMA’s design collection since 1944, just three years after Schlumbohm patented it), and in the early years of World War II, it was considered a patriotic alternative to products made from metals and plastics (which were essential to the war effort). A Time Magazine article from November 1946 quotes the ebullient inventor as saying, “with the Chemex, even a moron can make good coffee.”  So true.

But Schlumbohm (don’t you just love that name?!) also had some pretty excellent though lesser known inventions.  There was the disposable Instant Ice container for the man about town lugging a warm bottle of Champagne; the Tubadipdrip was a coffee and tea maker by day, and a cocktail mixer by night.  In fact, by 1949 the doctor held patents on some 300 inventions, ranging from a propane-fuelled motor to a conical garbage can, about a dozen of which were developed into successful products, and an insane amount of which are part of the MOMA collection.

Filterjet Fan

The Ice Vault

Cocktail Shaker

Fahrenheitor Cocktail Shaker

Fahrenheitor Flower Vase

Fahrenheitor Mushroom Tray Bottle Cooler

the Tubadipdrip

Conical Garbage Can

Water Kettle

Two-Gallon Coffeemaker with Ring Base

There was even a car – the Chemobile!

The Chemobile featured a wrap-around windshield. Schlumbohm described the passenger compartment, which was placed over the powertrain, as being “rather analogous to a man riding a horse or to a maharajah riding in a basket on top of an elephant.”

Kind of makes you feel a bit unproductive, huh?!

 

Sassy Magazine and its Modern Reincarnation: Rookie

In the ’80s and early ’90s, teen magazine readers could be grouped into two categories. The Seventeen reader with New Kids on the Block playing in her Walkman, her prom dress picked in September, who was more than happy to conform to any and all standards of pop culture.  Then, there were the Sassy girls. 

Sassy was the antithesis of the homecoming queen, please-your-boyfriend culture. It published articles about suicide and STDs while Seventeenwas still teaching girls how to get a boy to notice you. Although Sassy folded in 1994, its readers remember it well, and its influence is still felt in culture today …

… on that note, Tavi Gevinson, has created Rookie, a sort of digital Sassy of today.  Promising honest, funny, and insightful takes on teen life, Rookie centers around a monthly theme with updates three times a day on a typical teen’s schedule: after school, dinnertime, and before bed. Pretty excellent if you ask me!

Diabolik

Diabolik is one of the coolest superheroes ever because he is the classic anti-hero, with great style and even greater eyebrows.

Diabolik is a ruthless Italian master thief, but of the Robin Hood sort – he steals big, but only from criminals (or mostly I should say).  One would think that ripping off all of the bad guys in town would bring some pretty heavy heat on Diabolik; I mean how does one escape the fury of an entire community of evil genius?  With the help of an ever-chanigng idtentity of course!  Diabolik is also a scientific mastermind with a broad knowledge of chemistry, computers, mechanics, and mask creation – he has an seemingly infinite set of the most lifelike disguises which he uses to fool his opponents, assuming a random identity at will.

Diabolik was raised as an orphan on a secret island hideout of a criminal combine.  It was there that he developed his thieving skills by learning from his neighbors who were all true masters of the trade.  However, when the secret island and its inhabitants had nothing more to offer, Diabolik turned on his “family,” and killed the head of the combine.  He is not one for guns, choosing instead to attack with either his daggers, which he throws with uncanny ability, or a small dart gun with knockout darts. He works solo until issue #3 when he meets Eva Kant, his “moll,” who gains an increasing role as both his partner and lover.

The comic was created in 1962 by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani.  Since then Diabolik has lived on as a comic book, published in both Italian and English, but it has also inspired an amazing film, Danger: Diabolik (1968), inspired a cartoon and a video game, and provided the perfect plot for the Beastie Boys’ video “Body Movin’.”