The Consumer Category
We bring you the chic and unique, the best and most bizarre shopping offers both online and offline. We offer you tips on where to buy, and some of the less mainstream and crazy, individual and offbeat items on the internet. Anything that can be bought and sold can be featured here. And we love showcasing the best and worst art and design.
I Was Julian Assange’s Ghost Writer: The Fantastic Story Of ‘Swedish Whores, Pentagon Bores And Being Hitler
ANDREW O’Hagan’s wonderful essay on ghost writing Julian Assange’s autobiography is better than any book on the Wikileak’s puiblisher.
Highlights from it are:
Assange didn’t want to write the book himself but didn’t want the book’s ghostwriter to be anybody who already knew a lot about him. I told Jamie that I’d seen Assange at the Frontline Club the year before, when the first WikiLeaks stories emerged, and that he was really interesting but odd, maybe even a bit autistic. Jamie agreed, but said it was an amazing story. ‘He wants a kind of manifesto, a book that will reflect this great big generational shift.’
At 5.30 the next day Jamie arrived at my flat with his editorial colleague Nick Davies. (Mental health warning: there are two Nick Davies in this story. This one worked for Canongate; the second is a well-known reporter for the Guardian.) They had just come back on the train from Norfolk. Jamie said that Assange had poked his eye with a log or something, so had sat through three hours of discussion with his eyes closed.
DID you own a “Too Cool To Do Drugs” pencil in the 1990s? So long as you weren’t a pencil user, the message was succinct and pure. But those of you who like a sharpener or several, realised that the more pencil you used, the more the message changed.
EXIT via the gift shop. Goldblog spotted one at the German”s Dachau concentration camp. Rachel Salamander’s bookshop “Literaturhandlung”, in the visitors’ center of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, “specialises in the history of Dachau Concentration Camp and those persecuted by the Nazi regime, but books on related topics are also available. There are also a number of books on Jewish culture and literature.”
READING the Mr Porter mail-out magazine Ronan Fitzgerald @rmkf spotted a segment on Warren Beatty. As he says, “Pretty harsh on Annette Bening”:
“In real life, the guy’s hair would be matted down from the helmet. The chick would be your woman instead of a New York model. And you’d be eating exhaust from a bus instead of grooving in farout fields. However, the Landlubbers are real, and they are mildly but honestly transcendent.”
IN 1970 Whitney Darrow created I’m Glad I’m a Boy! I’m Glad I’m a Girl!
NON-SPORTS trading cards around the 1970s generally were aimed at kids and revolved around a popular movie or TV program. They were meant for fun; for collecting and trading on the playground. Nothing serious. Subsequently, it’s all the more unsettling when you run across an old trading card that takes a walk on the dark side. Here are a seventeen insane and disturbing examples. Enjoy.
MOD SQUAD ASSAULT CARD (1968)
This doesn’t look like a child’s trading card. This looks like something a serial killer would pin to his bedroom wall.
BELGIUM has given the world chips and mayonnaise, Poirot and bakelite. Add to that is the Hotel Casanus, a hotel shaped like an anus.
“On a small island nestled between Antwerp and Ghent in Flanders, Belgium lies what could be the most remarkable hotel ever. Shaped like a giant anus, Hotel Casanus just screams, stay inside me!”
It’s ideal for travellers you are – just passing through…
Find it at the Verbeke Foundation Art Park.
IN this study of 1970s life, we look at Peggy Treadwell’s The Working Couple’s Cookbook (1971). In the go-ahead 1970s of free love and wife swapping parties, the book was aimed at not only wives and husbands but “roomates, soulmates, playmates, or wedded mates”.
THIS amused me: the new wristbands containing all sorts of lovely electronic gizmos to aid in monitoring your health actually make you ill. Fitbit, the company that makes them, apparently forgot about how you’ve got to be careful of the nickel content of something that you’re going to put onto a human being who then starts sweating:
Fitbit, a maker of wristbands that track physical fitness, says it is “helping people lead healthier, more active lives.” But complaints continue to mount from users who say Fitbit’s newest product, the Force band, is causing blisters, rashes and itchy dry patches on their wrists.
User forums on Fitbit.com, the website of the San Francisco company that also makes other wearable devices, include hundreds of comments about skin problems from wearers of the $129 Force.
One woman said she developed a burn-like red patch on her wrist that required medical treatment after wearing the wristband for seven weeks. She said Fitbit offered her a financial settlement, which she declined.
THANKS to the digitisation and Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, we can browse scrapbooks owned by the great Harry Houdini (1891-1926). The University has had the archives in its possession since 1958. But only now are they on the web, and free to view.
The scrapbooks are full of adverts, stories, and reviews on Houdini’s twin passions: magic and spiritualism. It’s great to think of Houdini and his peers selecting item for inclusion, then sticking them into place, editing the story of magic and live showbiz in the first two decades of the 20th Century.
Everyone should like collecting and sticking things in books with an artistic flourish. These books create wonderful memories of your life and your view of the world. They reveal what delighted you, what you did and what made you think.
SUNDAY service brings the double crisp chocolate Jesus hands:
Spotter: Christian Nightmares
WHEN Scott Schuman published a picture on his Sartorialist fashion blog of a homeless man in New York, he called it “NOT GIVING UP”:
I don’t usually shoot homeless people. I don’t find it romantic or appealing like a lot of street photographers, and if you asked homeless people they are probably not to happy about their situation either. That’s why I was surprised to be so drawn to taking a picture of this gentleman.
THIS is one of those stories where you just have to put your head in your hands at the gross stupidity of our fellow citizens:
When he vented his frustration about holiday prices shooting up during the school half-term break, Paul Cookson struck a chord with other parents.
His rant to 250 Facebook friends quickly went viral as outraged parents shared his post about rip-off prices 143,000 times.
Now the issue may even be debated in Parliament after more than 100,000 signed an online petition calling for the Government to curb prices.
Yep, 100,000 people are entirely mystified about why the price of something might rise when more people want it. Completely blind to the way that prices, supply and demand interact. You wonder how they manage to exist in a market economy really.
ON this day in photos: February 14 1989: Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khomeini sentences British author Salman Rushdie to death. He also sentenced to death the publishers of Rushdie’s book the Satanic Verses. Khomeni said the book is a blasphemy against Islam. His decree introduced many of us to the word ‘fatwa’.
In October 1964, all the cool kids could buy these Beatles dolls, seen here at the toy Fair in New York. The Beatlee dolls are being watched over by looked over by 10-year-old Carol Valentine, 10.
IMAGINE you’re a kid, it’s 1978 and you’re opening birthday presents. Your heart is full of optimism and joy in anticipation of what lies underneath the festive wrapping. As you tear away the paper, your smile fades to an expression of horror. “A Love Boat action figure?” Surely, this cannot be. No one would be insane enough to bypass the Star Wars figures and get this abomination instead… or would they?
Indeed, an untold number of children of the 70s wound up with exactly the worst sorts of action figures imaginable – the kind that make you wonder what sort of sick mind conceived of making them in the first place. Star Wars lends itself perfectly to the action figure business, as do comic book heroes. The Love Boat, not so much. Here are 10 such figures (in no particular order) which must have been bitter disappointments.
1. SET A COURSE FOR DISAPPOINTMENT
You could’ve had the Darth Vader action figure, but instead you got Captain Stubing. I suppose, in many ways they were similar: They both captained massive ships, both had family issues, and both were part robot. (Okay, I’m not sure that last one applies to Stubing, but you can’t prove he wasn’t.) Regardless, an Isaac the Bartender figure would’ve been cooler than either one.
THIS St Valentine’s Day, don’t get that special one a children’s toy (it’s creepy). Get them something grown up. Get them a ticket to the 3rd Annual Valentine’s Day Digester Egg Tour. What’s that? It’s this:
Love is in the Air: The 3rd Annual Valentine’s Day Digester Egg Tour
Join us on Friday, February 14 for an exclusive Valentine’s Day tour of the Digester Eggs at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The tour will include an overview of the wastewater treatment process followed by a visit to the observation deck atop the famous Digester Eggs. Guests will be treated to an unobstructed view of the iconic Manhattan skyline and will take home a special giveaway.
Tours begin at 9:30AM, 11:00AM, and 1:00PM. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot early. To register, please complete the quick form below.
Sorry, no children under 12 are allowed. Guests under 18 must have a release form signed by a parent or guardian. All guests will be required to sign a release form at the beginning of the tour.
We look forward to seeing you!
HOW bad are the storms pummelling the British Isles?
STUCK for that meaningful bit of dazzler for your significant other? One Etsy seller solve the puzzler with this Star Trek ring: “To boldly propose where no man has proposed before.” Struck in space-age sterling silver and topaz, the ring is yours for $595. or a mere $3,890 if you prefer platinum with diamonds.
BAD Advert: Triscuit Biscuits “put sweet potato in the last place you’d expect… Once you get over the shock, get over to the cracker aisle” – where our team of proctologists are waiting:
THE point of this colouring book was to teach the youngsters of 1953 good safety lessons via the alphabet. From a perspective of 60 years later, some of these lessons seem, well, I think “distressing” is the best word I can come up with. See for yourself.
JAPAN’S Pot Noodle Museum is an entertaining place. The Yokohama testament to instant noodles in a pot offers visitors the chance to try out 12 toppings and various flavours on offer. There are seasonal treats, such as the St Valentine’s Day noodlerama, featuring “heart-shaped chicken ramen”.
The museum also tells the story of Momofuku Ando,”father of the instant noodle.”
They’re not kidding. One attraction allows children to experience the noodle process first hand.