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.
ON August 21 1957, visitors to the Radio and Television Fair watched the effect of their words on a TV telephone set up in Frankfurt, West Germany. Phones used for calls were linked to four TV sets and two cameras so each person can see a picture of himself and the person he is talking to. The AP reported: “There is no telling what effect the TV telephone will have on what people say and how they do it when they call.”
It’s the mask sported by anti-capitalist protestors. It is also the mask from the film V For Vendetta:
A shadowy freedom fighter known only as “V” uses guerrilla tactics to fight against his terrorist, totalitarian society. Upon rescuing a girl from the secret police, he also finds his best chance at having an ally.
The Warner Bros film cost $54m to make.
A cut of every mask sold goes to Warner Brothers. Another cut of every one sold on Amazon goes to Amazon – the company that paid £2.4m in corporate taxes last year, the online retailer’s accounts show, despite making sales of £4.3bn.
The tax bill was almost as much as the £2.5m in government grants Amazon received over the same period, according to a Companies House filing.
So. Buying that mask to wear as a protest against capitalism and corporate greed profits the very companies you dislike.
Rubies Costume Company, which makes the mask, sells around 100,000 a year worldwide, and 16,000 in the UK, according to spokesman Steve Kitt, who seems a little concerned that any association with activists might harm the company’s image.
“We sell over 100,000 of these masks a year, and it’s by far the best-selling mask that we sell,” said Howard Beige, executive vice president of Rubie’s Costume, a New York costume company that produces the mask. “In comparison, we usually only sell 5,000 or so of our other masks.” The Vendetta mask, which sells for about $6 at many retailers, is made in Mexico or China, Mr. Beige said.
Mr. Beige said he did not know why the mask was so popular until recently. “We just thought people liked the ‘V for Vendetta’ movie. Then one morning I saw a picture of these protesters wearing the mask in an online news article,” he said. “I quickly showed my sales manager.”
The masks are being manufactured in bulk in a factory in Brazil.
Isn’t this all a little… hypocritical?
The pro-Anonymous account @youranoncentral tried to stem Twitter’s tide:
“Hey look everyone, our masks were made in some factory in a developing nation. We are the only hypocrites.” (see here)
And a number of people came out with views similar to Reddit user sayheykid24, who wrote: “How do people think the masks were made? Did they think they were lovingly handcrafted by anti-corporate artisans, or something?”
It’s true that Anonymous are not the only hypocrites. But not all hypocrites are entirely dependent on having a moral leg to stand on. Some, like big corporations, have other resources. But punishing other people’s bad behaviour is Anonymous’s recruiting message – join them, they suggest, and you are on the side of the good guys. This means that the group stands and falls on its integrity – and if it can’t afford to play by it’s own rules, it certainly can’t afford to break them.
How can Anonymous break out of the system?
Just be careful who you buy the ink, pinter, paint and paper off?
DOES playing violent videos games make you violent?
Christian Happ and his colleagues recruited 60 students (20 men) with varied video gaming experience and had them spend 15 minutes playing the violent and bloody beat-em-up game Mortal Combat vs. DC Universe on the Playstation 3. Some of the participants played the morally good character Superman, while the others played the Joker, the baddie from Batman. Apart from that, the game experience was the same for all participants – their time was spent in hand-to-hand combat against a variety of other computer-controlled game characters.
Another twist to the experiment was that before the game began half the participants read a bogus Wikipedia article about their character, designed to encourage them to empathise with him. For those playing Superman, the article said how he’d come from a loving family. The Joker article described how he’d suffered abuse in his childhood.
DID you read TV 21, the British children’s comic from the 1960s and early 1970s? It was “A brand new comic of the future for the children of today”. TV Century 21 was a look to the go-ahead future.
Episode 1 launched with no little hype.
In 1960, City Magazines first published TV Century 21. The title would later be called just TV21.
Every week the taglines at the end of each strip would be written in code, and the Identicode was used to decipher them.
* With City’s close association with Gerry Anderson’s Century 21 productions TV21 was far more than just a comic that featured tv characters. The editor himself (Alan Fennell) was a scriptwriter onFireball XL5 and Stingray, and Lady Penelope debuted in her own strip in issue one several months before the first episode of Thunderbirdsever appeared on tv. The comic also had access to exclusive photographs of the models and characters, which were ideal for the newspaper-style covers of TV21. All in all, TV21 was very much a part of the Gerry Anderson universe, and the exciting thing was that the comic presented all those tv shows as part of a shared universe.
* The much heralded arrival of ‘Thunderbirds’ in TV 21 came after the first immensely successful year of the comic. In issue 52, Lady Penelope visits Tracy Island to see the home of International Rescue, and agrees to be their British agent. On the following week, Lady Penelope was given her own comic in a spin off from TV 21 aimed at girl television fans. The emphasis here was a little different, with the first class Lady Penelope strips being accompanied by features on pop stars and fashion. This comic is also very popular with collectors, with many photographs from the television series.
It wasn’t all Anderson TV shows. Whatever did happen to this crew?
And Ed “Stewpot” Stewart:
THE £100 reserve price for Ian Curtis’ kitchen gable had yet to be met.
The item is the genuine deal. A certificate of authenticity has been signed by Curtis’ daughter Natalie and Curtis’ widow Debbie . The table was owned by Curtis’ neighbour, whose daughter – the seller – has also vouched for its providence.
Dorothy Smith bought 77 Barton Street, Macclesfield, with everything in it from Debbie.
The seller narrates the table’s history:
In 1996 the table was passed to Dorothy’s Daughter Vicky Morgan when she got married and set up home in Macclesfield. In December 2005 the Morgan’s were redecorating and felt that the table no longer fitted in with their own home. They offered the table back to the family and contacted them via Marco of Joy Division Central.
With the filming of Control taking place in Barton Street and Natalie Curtis arranging the props the table was offered but was declined.
Natalie Curtis, Ian and Debbie’s daughter was then going to take the table for her own flat but in the end decided to have one of her mums instead which belonged to her Grandmother.
At that point it went on Ebay and I travelled to Macclesfield after winning the bid.
So. You can buy the kitchen table where Ian Curtis might have eaten an egg or tapped out a melody to a Joy Division hit or contemplated suicide: 0n May 18 1980, Ian Curtis the singer of Joy Division committed suicide in the kitchen.
The Measurements are:-
- 75 cm Wide
- 98 cm Long
- 76 cm Tall
- Extend Flaps 28 cm each.
I easily got this table into my car, which if you have a 5 door car with seats that go down anyone else with a reasonable size car should do also.
Pop artefacts don’t come any more mundane than this.
EVERYDAY Sexism: Anorak harks back to the 1972 book The Golden Hands Complete Book of Dressmaking.
What is ‘Golden Hands’ in the pink neckerchief thinking? That if he pretends to be “a good dresser” or a “poof”, as the 1970s language had it, the woman won’t mind his appraising her chest? Maybe. Don’t knock it, dudes. Wind the clock on a few decades and raging heterosexual shagger Gok Wan is undressing women on telly and telling them how to look good naked.
Remember: no-on on TV is gay. It’s all an act. After all, if lesbians were popular, you’d see a lot more of them on the magic box.
HOME Run is a project.
In this Single Sentence Animation for Electric Literature, Ilana Simons animates Home Run by Steven Millhauser. Voice by Mark Decarlo. Single Sentence Animations are creative collaborations. The writer selects a favourite sentence from his or her work and the animator creates a short animation in response. Except in this case, wherein the entire story is one sentence.
MICHAEL O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, has a few things to say:
He’s not stressing out passengers; he’s toughening them up:
“I’m certainly not a new man. Neanderthal more like. What the hell’s a man bag? I’d never use moisturiser, I prefer the rugged look.”
He’s seen the light:
“If you go to the gate with the wheels of your bag sticking out it shouldn’t matter. People who have lost their boarding card shouldn’t have to pay seventy quid at the airport.”
WHEN the FBI closed down dodgy website, Silk Road, they probably thought their work was done. However, this is the internet and people have a habit of not going away.
Five weeks after the drug vendors bit the dust, Silk Road 2.0 came online (“we have risen again”) and the site’s mastermind has adopted the Dread Pirate Roberts namesake used by (alleged) Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.
A tweet said: “#SILKROAD IS BACK UP. DEJA VU ANYONE? #WERISEAGAIN
I’VE just realised that I was interviewed about the Call of Duty game back a while. They wanted to know how realistic was the plot point in the game where the Chinese exploited their monopoly of rare earths production.
Complete bollocks was my simple response. Here’s the set up:
Blockbuster video game Black Ops II last year enthralled gamers, with its premise that the world could be brought to the brink of war over China’s dominance of rare earth minerals (REM).
The premise is based on the scarcity of these minerals which are used for, among many other things, powerful batteries, camera lenses, MRI scanners, modern electronics, such as iPods, TVs and computers, and for renewable energies, such as solar panels and wind turbines, meaning they are integral to modern life.
Although obviously far fetched, at its inception Black Op II’s narrative didn’t seem so implausible. For many years, China had been responsible for producing 97% of all REMs. In recent years it has been known to use its monopoly of the industry as a geopolitical weapon, and to drive up the price of REMs. However, more recently China’s dominance has diminished and in November last year, the country closed its largest mine, Baotou Steel mine, in a bid to maintain falling prices.
As a direct result of China’s tactics, the exact opposite to Black Op II’s narrative has occurred – the world hasn’t fought China for its REM riches, but found its own.
Ageing hipster with £300,000 knocking around your bank account? Well then why don’t you check out this little listing on eBay.
You could own your very own central London record shop, and as the current owners says hang out with interesting people and maybe even meet the odd pop star or two
USELESS Products For Women introduces the Liberation Wrapper.
With this handy device, women with small mouths, or ochobo, can eat a meaty burger without disgusting everyone else.
The Vinyl Lego Store:
The use of 2×2 printed tiles as LP jackets is spot-on and the eclectic nature of album art is such that just about any tile would make a good jacket. I also love the speaker up in the corner, as it really anchors the shot. I also like the use of 1×1 tiles as CDs. I have to say I’m impressed. It is not often that a builder completely captures the essence of scene like this.
AS Gideon Defoe puts it: “Jesus, this is what the Sunday Times thinks hipsters look like”. It’s Johnnis Boden and The Bodenios:
Spotter: Gideon Defoe