Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At least none were stuck together

You know those delightful little urban myths that occasionally happen in real life? The hope for little miracles upon which Antiques Roadshow is based, where some innocent is happily browsing a bookstore or Seconde Hande Shoppe and comes across a quaint little trinket which just happens to be worth millions.

[Actually, I take that back about Antiques Roadshow. Its success is based on the audience's hope that Old Lord and Lady Picklenose will present their supposedly priceless Faberge eggs only to be told that these particular examples were a popular prize at fairgrounds during the 1970s. "Probably worth between 5 and 10 pound - to a collector" the expert will explain cheerfully while Sir Chumpbottom's greasy smile droops down around his tweed lapels.
Don't even try to deny that you've secretly shouted 'Sucked in, y
ou greedy twerp!' when that happens. But I digress.]

My thing is old books. I love the way they smell, the cool old tooling covers, the quaint little drawings and poems inside along with the copperplate inscriptions and the exciting dates - if they have any. I know nothing about it, but I still love the feeling of treasure hunting when I go into second hand book stores, looking for either comics or a bargain.

So there I am, in Port Elliot, about twenty minutes away from raiding the famous bakery and scouring the shelves for something cool.

I come across this:

It really is a beautiful little item, about 8 by 10 inches. 1865. Unfortunately, it appears that most of the pages have long ago fallen out - it's just cover boards and title pages. Fortunately, it's full of old drawings and lithographs. Like this one:

And this one:

Nice, eh? Then there's a few different ones like this:

and, erm, this:

Now I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking "What marvellous drawings! What fine detail! I must see more!"
You're thinking that because that's what I was thinking too. Then I turned that drawing over and found, well, this:

No problem. Very artistic, right? Right. Artistic. Great composition, a wonderful example of early photography in the naturalistic form which ....

... ah, yes, see, this is also a fine example of, um, what's obviously a collection of artistic interpretations of the early twentieth century appreciation of femininity as exemplified by the emphasis on .....

R ... right.
Hrmm ... well that still doesn't mean that I haven't stumbled upon a grouping of art works which can be recognised as representative of an era famous for its lithography and the skill of its craftsmen and artists, many of whom were ...

Okay then. Maybe it's just a coincidence. Maybe the collector just happened to have put all the racy ones at the front and kept the real groundbreaking artistic work at the ...

Nope. More naughties.
Okay, if the next one isn't sexy, then I definitely haven't stumbled upon some stone-aged secret spank book from a deceased estate.
Closing eyes, crossing fingers, turning page ... and it's ....

Fucking great. Here I was, hoping to find a bargain first edition and here am, potentially handling the dried remains of millions of little 'first editions'. Gross.
Surely that's it.

Oh man. What is this stuff?
It looks like nuns were really the thing back then. I suppose they had to work out some way to spice things up - what with everything being taboo'n'shit. It's not like today with the internet and everything imaginable at the touch of a button. They probably didn't have a whole lot of weird fetishes or anything because it's not like ...

Does this book come with hand sanitiser?


  1. I'm sitting here in a room on my own that is right next to my boss's and am waiting on about a dozen people to ring me back on various requests and so forth, so I'm reading blogs, tapping away and trying my best to appear industsrious.

    I can not stress enough how f**king hard it is not to laugh out loud and risk having someone come in and ask me what's so funny. I bet the owner - someone's lovely old great great Grand father had it sitting in his bookshelf for years and years and years, presumably confident that no-one would ever be interested enough to take a look inside.... until FRANZY strode into town two centuries later......

    And you are NOT going to believe what my word verification is - ablemen !

  2. Honestly, I almost wish that I could be bothered posting every picture. There are about 40 all in all, mostly these kind of "And then the vicar burst in" scenes and they are all both quaint and smutty at the same time. Back in the good old days when porn was (mostly) fun rather than scary.

  3. I love the look and feel of old books too, but usually I take a look inside before I buy them. I hat getting home and finding I've paid more than I wanted to for what is essentially beautifuully tooled cover boards and not much else.

  4. Yeah - I would hate to have gotten home and found that I'd actually bought a book boring old poetry.

  5. I'm with Kath. Sitting at my desk at work trying not to laugh out loud, and hoping like hell no-one pings me for looking at "naughty" pictures!

  6. This is the beauty of vintage porn!
    Doesn't look like porn! Only like quaint old pictures ... of naked people ... cuddling ... and ... screaming ... in the barn ... over a donkey.

    You think I'm kidding about that last one?

  7. That last one looks like a thingy I saw on a Tony Robinson show one time - I think maybe the worst jobs in history one - the object up the gentlemans posterior was used in the medical profession. They apparently used to put all sorts of things up as suppositories - even food.

  8. But why was it in with the smut? WHY?!?!?

    Also - I think once it's up your bum, it's no longer called "food".

    This is just getting grosser all the time ...


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32