Black velvet masterpieces

I have to admit to a bit of a hankering for all things kitsch.  You know, tiki lounge decor, shag pile rugs, garish day-glo colours.  I’d never have any of them in my own house but I love poring over the kitsch extravagances of others.  Black velvet masterpieces : highlights from the collection of the velveteria museum is the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little vicarious velvet painting appreciation from the comfort of my own, completely non-velvet adorned home.

This book has every kind of awful velvet painting image you could want for and more!  Big-eyed children, crying clowns, kittens, Jesus, and of course…Elvis Presley all feature.  More astonishing (to me) is the fact that there is a whole museum or “velveteria” devoted to the alternate art form.  If I ever find myself in Portland, Oregon and feel a very strong need to gaze on the glory of Jesus blessing a Mack truck, I’ll know exactly where to go.  Kitsch-tastic!

Humour and Fantasy

The Big over easy
The Big over easy

Most of the Fantasy novels that one comes across bore me stiff: full of unpronounceable names, subservient women and butch men. As a complete contrast I’ve been re-reading Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crimes series.

For one thing they’re witty; for another a second reading makes one aware of all the jokes one didn’t spot the first time. The Big Over Easy was excellent but he really gets into his stride with the Fourth Bear. Flushed with success over having discovered the murderer of Humpty Dumpty and thwarting the attempt on the life of the Jellyman, the NCD begin a new set of adventures.  Now DCI Jack Spratt and DS Mary Mary have to deal with the psychotic Gingerbread Man, wife beater Mr Punch, the threat posed by culear energy (sic) and the seedy world of bears, porridge and honey. The author also has a fascinating website devoted to these books and the area around Reading where they are set.

For those of you old enough to recall the Quatermass series on BBC TV in the 1950s, the recordings we have of the BBC spoof radio series Nebulous will prove just as funny as Fforde. Starring Mark Gatiss (of League of Gentlemen fame), these have Professor Nebulous and his KENT organisation defending Earth from alien threats whilst still operating  a superb laundry service. Again hearing it more than once allows you to catch all the jokes that you didn’t hear the first time round – because you were laughing so much.

Southern Amp 2008

Southern Amp
Southern Amp

Hot of the press from the Southern Amp organisers:
Southern Amp 2008 takes place on Sunday 9th November at Westpac Arena Festival Park in Christchurch from 12.30pm. Each of the 3 stages at Southern Amp this year will be completely UNDERCOVER making the event a ‘weather-free’ festival with a strictly limited capacity!

Just announced acts to add to stunners like the Dandy Warhols and our own Tiger Tones:
Seether – known for their epic riffs and thunderous rhythms. Their headline slot at Southern Amp will be the band’s first concert appearance in NZ. 
The Charlatans – Britpop legends coming up to their 20th year as a band (and it’ll be interesting to see if lead singer Tim Burgess still has one of the best ‘barnets’ in British music).

Christchurch City Libraries has copies of CDs by the following Southern Amp acts: