Saturday, 12 December 2015

Advent 12

Ziggy Glitterdust ..

Advent 11

Delayed post for Advent 11 due to computer problems.

Now if only I'd gone to Currys for a ZX Spectrum ..

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Advent 10

Selection Box - Mars

Looking at the box, I'm not too sure, from the male style top half and the female bottom half,  whether it's meant to be a male or a female Santa. It doesn't look as if Rudolph is too sure about what's going on either.

Still, as this selection box dates from the early-mid '70s, perhaps the artwork imagines a kind of Ziggy Santa, complete with 'optical illusion cards'.

Full Value.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Advent 9

TV adverts, 1983

Billed as 'Christmas Adverts', and certainly featuring the kind of booze, chocs, aftershave and gifts associated with Christmas shopping. Some familiar faces and voices are to be found.

But except for Woolworths and arguably Quality Street, which have a 'parade' or 'pantomime' theme, absolutely no Christmas styling - no snow, no snowmen, no Christmas music, no Father Christmas .. and, apart from Woolworths and Debenhams, it's all about advertising for products and brands, not supermarkets, department stores etc.

Highlights include:

Spy themed Black Magic with the proper centres, not the soft pap of today
Baileys, where the woman behaves oddly
Quality Street in a decent sized tin, probably four times larger than now
Pint and a Castella - first sighting of a cigar ad this advent
Bisodol for the huge pace of 1983 life; hmm; when you went home you went off the radar
Mel Smith advertising Terry's chocolates
Braun Independent, the excitement of gas
Timex watches
BT with a precursor to the internet 'network' adverts featuring the short lived and missed K7 box
Debenhams toy sale
SKOL lager, voiced by Tom Baker
Old Spice
Martini, featuring the Martini Girl on her roller skates. An Italian drink sold by a vision of America
Hugh Laurie in a Kestrel Lager advert sketch
Joe Brown and an all-star cast sell Woolworths, through the familiar song and dance style routine.

I think I'm right in saying that Woolworths is the only one that's gone.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Advent 8

It's time to get those Christmas cards written, especially if you're sending them overseas ..

Monday, 7 December 2015

Advent 007

James Bond! What's that got to do with Christmas? Well, a fair amount in the UK, mainly because of the unavailability of the 007 films before the advent of VHS [and therefore any DVD, streaming, YouTube, etc].

Since the mid-1970s the periodic screenings of the James Bond films [by ITV] at Easter and Christmas became a major event and a ratings winner until at least the mid-80s, and maybe later.

But I don't want to write too much about the whole series of 007 films here; as someone who had read and re-read all of the James Bond books before I'd ever seen even one of the films, I have a definite view about the Bond movies. Which is - they're a mixed lot; entertaining - more, or less; but overall a shallow set compared with the original Ian Fleming source material.

The book that's part of this Advent series is of course Ian Fleming's 007 Christmas story - 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. Well, it's Christmas-themed, anyway; it starts as the shops do in September and ends as the rest of us do, on New Years Day.

The film version of OHMSS is traditionally derided, but in reality it is one of the best 007 films ever made. Staying faithful to the book, the storyline needs little enhancement, only a skilful and intelligent transfer to film, which it gets. George Lazenby is very well cast as James Bond - arguably better than the subsequent Roger Moore. The studio sets and location settings are excellent, and the cast peerless. I like this film, almost as much as I love the book.

Back to that book. If you've never read it or indeed any James Bond book, this story is worth your while. It's superbly written and beautifully paced. Many editions are available, it doesn't matter which one you choose. The one pictured here is the paperback edition that I grew up with. I think that this edition-series has the best cover artwork set of all of the 007 issues.

If you fancy reading this up to Christmas why not try to find a copy soon; it's already December the 7th, so you haven't got all the time in the world.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Advent 6

These are the 2015 UK Christianity based, Christmas (Nativity) themed Christmas stamps. Remarkable if only because a few years ago this kind of issue was predicted to be unlikely - at best.

It can appear to some that potentially up to two of the stamps feature settings on a moon orbiting a gas giant planet such as Jupiter and the others are based on a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' storyboard theme.

People are also saying that in the 1st class stamp, Mary appears to be playing a Bontempi Organ that she got for Christmas!

That's just ridiculous; Christmas only started the year after - at the earliest.

They may not be the *best* Christmas stamps Walford's ever 'ad, but, they're all we've got.


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Advent 5

Put your tree up yet?

Before real trees came back into fashion, in the mid 90s I suppose, 'real looking' artificial trees were the thing in a phase that lasted from the 80s onwards. You can still get them and many folks still use them as they're convenient and don't have to be purchased anew each year. We've got five that we've collected along the way.

But, before the fashion for 'realistic artificial' trees came along, artificial trees were somewhat different. Quite minimalist and you could say, 'Space Age'. Considered very fashionable alongside the Scandinavian design furniture, and from the U.S., Eames influenced household designs.

Needless to say this kind of tree in original condition, with the fake red pot and Pifco lights, concave baubles and thin tinsel is the height of fashion once again in certain quarters ..

Reminds me of  'Christmas on Tracy Island'.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Advent 4

Are you a Wise Man? Do YOU smoke cigarettes?

No, me neither. But I used to and my favourite-evers were Camel Filters. Although I never had any packs with Christmas themed adverts on them like these ones, from RJ Reynolds in Germany I think.

I can't imagine many, or any, countries these days allowing a tie-up between tobacco and Christmas. It's still ok for alcohol, but not cigarettes, or even cigars come to think of it which always had a Christmas themed ad until the 90s I'd guess. I'll see if I can find a cigar advert for later on in Advent.

But for now we'll close with the Camels, associated with (it's said) the Three Kings. I hope they were Wise Men who soon gave them up.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Advent 3

My first Christmas ..


Christmas stamps were issued by other countries well before the UK. I'll come back to the subject of UK Christmas stamps, and Tony Benn, later on in Advent.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Advent 2

Just crackers.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Advent 1

I was wondering what to put here to create a kind of Advent calendar. I've decided on some pictures of a nostalgic and vintage theme, with just a few words.

So to kick off we have a few old fashioned (vintage!) Christmas light bulbs. I'll probably put some more of these up in the next 23 days as I like them. This kind of bulb is usually in a string of 12, being rated at 20V (for anyone reading from overseas, domestic UK power is 240 volts).

They have been produced in this voltage and fitting (MES) format since at least the 1930s, and many of the original bulbs are still around and working today, having had relatively little use in total during the past 80 years.

This type of decorative bulb, called 'figural' when representing a particular item, person, or fruit, are an interesting and attractive thing to collect. It's even better if they're still working. So if you're looking around flea markets, reuse shops or car boot sales - my advice is - always carry a 9v battery.


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Well well well,

so this old thing still works.