The Consumer

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.

The coolest Wrapping Paper on the web

Over at the Flashbak Shop, they’ve got what might be the coolest wrapping paper ever. With designs by the likes of Ernst Haeckel, Louis Wain, Gustav Klimt and Wassily Kandinsky, your gift will never look better. Never buy boring wrapping paper again. Check out their full range of wrapping paper.

They also have great deal on their gorgeous fine art greeting cards and postcards – buy any 10 or more and get 20% off your total order. Postcards come with a craft envelope, so you can make art part of any gift.


Check out the Flashbak Shop for the coolest wrapping paper ever and much more.

Posted: 8th, June 2022 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

Spellbinding prints of New York City In Neon

The brilliant Flashbak shop for archival prints has a new range of photographs by Gerry Cranham. The British photographer (born 1928), took these pictures and many more in the late 1960s, experimenting with speed and light. The results are spellbinding. New York City, London and Las Vegas throb with energy.

Gerry captures the thrill of seeing halos of bright hues appended against the black night sky as mankind’s wattage vies to usurp the moon and the give substance to life’s fragility. Rather than seeing the neon lights as part of messages to pull us in off the street and into restaurants and clubs, Cranham plays with them, creating transformative clusters of abstract images, so that words and signs show us how light sculpts, altering what we see and how we see it.

You can buy prints of Gerry Cranham’s spellbinding photographs in the Flashbak shop.

Copyright Gerry Cranham,. Pictures not be used without permission.

Posted: 20th, March 2022 | In: Photojournalism, The Consumer | Comment

William Nicholson’s London Types

William Nicholson designed his ‘London Types‘ in 1898. Printmaker William Nicholson worked in partnership with his brother-in-law James Pryde, under the pseudonym the Beggarstaff Brothers.

Spitalfields Life

Although not strictly “Cries of London,” some of these characters are familiar from earlier series of prints stretching back over the previous century and, recognising this, Nicholson portrays them as quaint curiosities from another age. In each case, the ironic doggerel by W.E. Henley that accompanied them poked fun at the anachronistic nature of these social stereotypes, through outlining the ambivalent existence of the individual subjects – whether the street hawker displaced in Kensington far from his East End home, or the aristocratic lady at Rotten Row challenged by her suburban counterparts, or the drunken Sandwich-man displaying moral texts, or the fifteenth generation Bluecoat boy at Charterhouse School in Smithfield now moved out to Horsham.

See the full set of prints at Flashbak.

Posted: 5th, January 2022 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

Dutch designer Ootje Oxenaar’s handmade replacement book cover spines

Dutch designer Ootje Oxenaar created replacement book cover spines. You can see them in a new book, Ootje Oxenaar Spines.

Although renowned for his designs for Dutch banknotes and postage stamps, Oxenaar was a prolific designer of book spines. This wasn’t done for commercial publishers, but for books in his own library. When he didn’t care for what he saw poking out from a shelf (or when he needed to procrastinate) he would make his own spine for a book. The result is a fantastic and fantastical mosaic made of tall-and-skinny strips, hand-lettered and drawn with great skill and great whimsy.

Spotter: i love typography

Posted: 5th, January 2022 | In: Books, The Consumer | Comment

Winnie the Pooh is now in the public domain

This Public Domain Day on January 1, 2022 meant works from 1926 lost their copyright and became yours to play around with and enjoy. Around 400,000 recordings published before 1923 entered the public domain thanks to the 2018 Music Modernization Act (MMA). 

You can explore them at the National Jukebox, the Library of Congress’ archive of sound.

You can find music to go with your version of A. A. Milne’s first Winnie the Pooh book. Here are some more books now in the public domain:

  • A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, illustrations by E. H. Shepard
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
  • Dorothy Parker, Enough Rope
  • Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues
  • T. E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
  • Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist
  • Edna Ferber, Show Boat
  • William Faulkner, Soldiers’ Pay
  • Willa Cather, My Mortal Enemy
  • D. H. Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent
  • H. L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy
  • Vita Sackville-West’s The Land
  • Franz Kafka’s The Castle
  • Felix Salten’s Bambi, A Life in the Woods

Posted: 5th, January 2022 | In: Books, News, The Consumer | Comment

The best vegan-friendly, fair wear organic cotton T-Shirts

These organic cotton -T-shirts from Flashbak are environmentally safe, fair wear and vegan friendly. The organic T-Shirt carries the The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) label, the leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. They’re approved by the Fair Wear Foundation, an independent, non-profit organisation that works to improve conditions for workers in garment factories. They’re certified Peta-approved vegan. And they are also certified by STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. And they’re cool T-Shirts.

Get organic cotton T-Shirts here.

Posted: 9th, December 2021 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

Buy the Best Christmas Cards

Looking for Christmas cards, maybe ones without the robin dusted in snow or a turkey doused in cranberry sauce? Well, you’re in luck. Flasbak has a fabulous range of the best Christmas cards. There’s a great choice. I’ve picked out a few Christmas crackers:

Christmas cards – the best Christmas cards – are available at flashbak.

Posted: 14th, October 2021 | In: The Consumer | Comment

E.A. Seguy’s Butterflies

Papillons by E.A. Séguy (Emile Allain Séguy), 1877-1951, was published in Paris in 1925. The work features 81 sublime images of butterflies (papillons) in 16 tableaux.

All 16 plates are now available as high quality prints in the shop – HERE.

Posted: 6th, October 2021 | In: The Consumer | Comment

Killer Sunglasses in a 1837 Portrait

That’s Nathaniel Olds in the killer sunglasses. They weren’t added by photoshop, but were as Olds wore them in 1837 he sat for his portrait by Jeptha Homer Wade (American, 1811-1890). According to the Cleveland Gallery of Art:

The green-tinted spectacles worn by Olds were designed to protect the eyes from the intensity of Argand lamps, a type of indoor light used during the early 1800s. These lamps burned whale oil, and many people worried that its bright flames might damage eyesight.The painter of this portrait founded the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1854 and soon became one of Cleveland’s wealthiest industrialists. His grandson, Jeptha Wade II, was a founder of the Cleveland Museum of Art and donated the land upon which it stands as a Christmas gift to the city in 1892.

You can buy a print of this fabulous picture in the Flashbak Shop.

Posted: 29th, September 2021 | In: Fashion, The Consumer | Comment

Eco-labels, organic and green but only one thing matters: the price tag

The Guardian is interested in seeing which labels on supermarket and processed foods gets diners to change their ways and opt for the more eco-friendly product. It spots “a different type that calculates the environmental cost”, and “how it had a surprising effect on consumers”. The test was not carried out on shoppers at Aldi or Lidl, rather at the Birmingham headquarters of the UK division of the food services business Compass Group. You might have seen their lorries dropping off bland school dinners.

It’s lunchtime at a workplace cafeteria in Birmingham, and employees returning to work after months away during the coronavirus pandemic are noticing something has changed. Next to the sandwiches and hot and cold dishes is a small globe symbol, coloured green, orange or red with a letter in the centre from A to E. “Meet our new eco-labels”, a sign reads.

Researchers at Oxford University have analysed the ingredients in every food item on the menu and given the dishes an environmental impact score, vegetable soup (an A) to the lemon, spring onion, cheese and tuna bagel (an E).

But organic and fair trade and all the other foods that have extra labels advertising their niceness cost more than those that do not. You don’t need a new label when you already have the price tag. The other solution, of course, is to tax things that don’t advertise their wellness factors and make everything more expensive, forcing us to go greener and ethical – and be more middle-class. And if you can’t afford it, well, that’s because you’re just a bad person.

Posted: 23rd, September 2021 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment

Georg Bartisch’s fabulous eye surgery illustrations from the 16th Century

In 1583, Georg Bartisch (1535–1607), a German physician, produced the first Renaissance manuscript on ophthalmic disorders and eye surgery. The book, Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst, discusses ocular diseases, surgical techniques and instruments, and contained an ophthalmic atlas of 92 woodcuts depicting diseases of the eye. The pick of those illustrations are featured here, and be bought as prints and even T-shirts in our shop.

Posted: 13th, September 2021 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

Ode to a Highflying Bird – Charlie Watts’ Jazz Book

Charlie Watts left behind not just a catalogue of great music and performances but a book. The trained graphic designer and musician best known as the drummer with The Rolling Stones loved jazz. In 1960, he wrote and illustrated a children’s book, a tribute to Charlie Parker called Ode to a Highflying Bird – “Frustrated with what life had to offer him in his hometown, he packed his whistle, pecked his ma goodbye and flew from his nest in Kansas City bound for New York.” As Watts recalled, “This guy who published ‘Rolling Stones Monthly’ saw my book and said ‘Ah, there’s a few bob in this!’” The book was published by London’s Beat Publications on January 17, 1965, and cost 7 shillings.

Spotter: UDiscoverMusic

Posted: 26th, August 2021 | In: Books, Celebrities, Music | Comment

When and why Charlie Watts punched Mick Jagger, by Keith Richards

Charlie Watts has died. The coolest and best looking Rolling Stone by far. In Keith’s autobiography, we get a bit of Charlie we can admire:

Spotter: Andrew Beasley

Posted: 24th, August 2021 | In: Books, Celebrities, Key Posts, Music, News | Comment

Harrods for Everything – 1912

s for everything 19112

With the Selfridge’s department store on London’s Oxford Street now up for sale – yours for $4bn – what next for the city’s biggest shopping brands? Harrods, the Knightsbridge store that once promised it could get you anything from an elephant to a pin and charged shoppers £1 to spend a penny, seems set to stay. But when you can get pretty much anything delivered to your door, why go out to shop, something Harrod’s appreciated over 100 years ago. The 1912 Harrods for Everything book is 1,525 pages long, illustrates more than 15,000 products, and was backed by a then cutting-edge logistics operation that included telephone ordering and home delivery by automobile van. Eric Hutton scanned the entire book. He writes:

Putting Harrods for Everything through Distributed Proofreaders was a mammoth and long-running task, which started sometime in early 2007 with me scanning the original to produce a text that other DP volunteers could work on. While the books we work on sometimes have a few pages of advertisements, this project was ALL advertisements. Pages were split into three to five parts to make proofreading and checking easier. … As the assigned post-processor, I worked behind the scenes from 2010 to 2014 preparing the 15,000+ illustrations, but there were long gaps when other commitments prevented me from working on it. I began officially post-processing the text in 2014, but again with many gaps in working on it. It went out for smooth reading (SR) in October 2019 (a round in which DP volunteers read through the project as for pleasure in order to spot remaining errors). It was finally released to Project Gutenberg on the 1st May 2020. Sincere thanks to all who worked on it!

Spotter: Project Gutenberg.

Posted: 15th, August 2021 | In: The Consumer | Comment

Cool Cats & Red Devils – brilliant photographs of British football fans in the 1970s

Manchester football fans

Iain S P Reid’s fantastic photos of British football fans in the 1970s are going to be in our new book. You can back Cool Cats & Red Devils at the Kickstarter. Please do – it’s a great project and 15% of all profits from both the prints and the book go to Melanoma UK.

Rewards are cool – with a choice of any of these great, very high-quality prints.

Cool Cats & Red Devils – the book.

Posted: 10th, July 2021 | In: Books, Key Posts, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Prints of Kawanabe Kyōsai’s erotic Japanese scrolls

Kawanabe Kyōsai Prints (1831-1889) was a Japanese artist born into the age of feudalism and maturing into the Meiji period, when the country became a modern state. Nicknamed “The Painting Demon”, he became a caricaturist, lampooning the great and good, and later painted ‘makimono’, aka ‘battle of the farts’. He co-created what many consider to be the first manga magazine in 1874, Eshinbun Nipponchi, and later a scroll depicting sex scenes, nudity and people with enormous genitalia. You can buy prints of these and more at the brilliant flashbak shop.

Buy Kawanabe Kyosai prints here.

Posted: 30th, June 2021 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

Raymond Chandler’s dictionary of police and prison slang

Writer keep notebooks because ideas arrive unexpectedly. Raymond Chandler kept two sorts of notebook – one to jot down daily events and work in progress; the other a lexicon of titles, words, puns, slang, similes, story ideas, observations, and first drafts.

Narcotics Squad Slang

pin-jabber—hypo user


dodo—any addict

gow—a dope, as “gowed up”

kick the gong around—use dope (Harlem)

daisy crushers—shoes

pearl diver—dish washer

fancy pants—(verb) to act cagily or coyly

Hard Harry—a hard guy

Flashbak has the full list.

Posted: 30th, June 2021 | In: Books, Celebrities | Comment

You legally grow, smoke and carry 28g of marijuana in Mexico

Leira-Cannagars cannabis cigar

As lockdowns end, Mexico’s top court has decriminalised the recreational use of cannabis. You can get stoned in Mexico without fear of fine and worse, just as you can in many US states over the border. In an 8-3 decision, the court decreed that adults will be able to apply for permits to cultivate and consume their own cannabis. But smoking weed in public and in front of children is banned.

With a permit, you can hold up to 28g of marijuana and grow as many as eight plants at home for personal use. At present, it is illegal to carry more than five grams.

Looks like we’re edging towards declaring a winner in the war on drugs.

Posted: 29th, June 2021 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment

Rudolph Kalvach prints and T-shirts

Rudolf Kalvach (1883-1932) was the Austrian artist whose youthful expressionism made him a mainstay of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop), the group established in 1903 by graphic designer and painter Koloman Moser, the architect Josef Hoffmann and the patron Fritz Waerndorfer. The avant-garde Werkstätte was a composite blend of architects, artists and designers working in ceramics, fashion, silver, furniture and the graphic arts. Kalvach the most vibrant, quirky, satirical postcards, which you can now buy as T-shirts and prints at Flashbak.

Rudolph Kalvach prints

More at Flashbak Shop.

Posted: 5th, June 2021 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

ASCII pr0n is fine art for museums

How good is ASCII art? Illustrated Phonographic World told its readers about typewriter art in 1893.

The Reporter’s Journal agreed with the Phonetic Journal about “the foolishness of attempting to make sketches by means of typewriters.” Furthermore, the London publication continued, “Some of our American contemporaries indulge largely in facsimiles of this class of work, and this has tended to foster the absurd custom.” Stung by the white glove, Illustrated Phonographic World set out to prove that typewriter sketches were indeed worthy of respect. “We believe that any endeavor which will cultivate painstaking and accuracy on the part of operators should be encouraged,” they wrote. “The endeavor to excel in artistic typewriting unquestionable does this. The pen maketh the exact man; so will the typewriter, which is only the modern pen.”

And ASCII porn, or pr0n? Maybe you’ve seen Deep ASCII, a take on Deep Throat, the now infamous 1972 skin flick, produced by Slovenian artist Vuk Ćosić in 1998. He used software capable of converting the pixels from still and moving images into ASCII. In 2010, a collection of Ćosić’s film clips went on display on the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) NetArt online gallery. So ASCII porn is art.

Posted: 31st, May 2021 | In: Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Jack London’s extraordinary photos of London

Jack London prints of London

In 1902 American author Jack London (January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) visited London city. Writing in The People of the Abyss he described a trip to Whitechapel, seeing people in doss-houses and living rough on the streets. He was upset by the “old men, young men, all manner of men, and boys to boot, and all manner of boys” who had no other choice other than to sleep on the streets. “Some were drowsing standing up; half a score of them were stretched out on the stone steps in most painful postures…the skin of their bodies showing red through the holes, and rents in their rags.”

London had trouble finding anyone to show him London’s East End:

“But you can’t do it, you know,” friends said, to whom I applied for assistance in the matter of sinking myself down into the East End of London. “You had better see the police for a guide,” they added, on second thought, painfully endeavouring to adjust themselves to the psychological processes of a madman who had come to them with better credentials than brains.

“But I don’t want to see the police,” I protested. “What I wish to do is to go down into the East End and see things for myself. I wish to know how those people are living there, and why they are living there, and what they are living for. In short, I am going to live there myself.”

“You don’t want to live down there!” everybody said, with disapprobation writ large upon their faces. “Why, it is said there are places where a man’s life isn’t worth tu’pence.”

“The very places I wish to see,” I broke in.

“But you can’t, you know,” was the unfailing rejoinder.”

According to Michael Shelden, George Orwell‘s biographer, the English writer had read London’s book while in his teens and greatly inspired as can be seen in Down and Out in Paris and London and the Road to Wigan Pier.The People of the Abyss was published in 1903 the same year as his novel Call of the Wild was serialised – bringing London international fame. London later said: “Of all my books, the one I love most is The People of the Abyss. No other work of mine contains as much of my heart.”

The pictures Jack London took are available as fine art prints. They are extraordinary. See them here.

Posted: 27th, April 2021 | In: Books, The Consumer | Comment

Making Japanese prints – a lovely video

Japanese prints

Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) are routinely gorgeous. But how are they made? Master printmaker Keiji Shinohara shows us how in this great video.

Lead image: Eight Shadow Figures, c. 1842 by Utagawa Hiroshige; colour woodblock print , Publisher Jōshūya Jūzō. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Buy this print.

Spotter: Kottke

Posted: 17th, April 2021 | In: Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment

Gorgeous hoodies for Organic loving Vegans at the Flashbak Shop

On Flashbak, there’s a fabulous range of hoodies, all suitable for organic loving vegans.

Hoodies are Vegan Friendly & Organic.

– High-end product, wonderful quality (350 G/M²)
– Available sizes: XS to XXL
– Available colors: white, navy blue, burgundy and black
– 85% Organic ring-spun combed cotton, 15% Recycled Polyester

Printed on back.

Our Hoodies are organic and Vegan friendly. Full details here.

Head over to the

Posted: 16th, April 2021 | In: Fashion, The Consumer | Comment

Spurs fans joy at watching paint dry – the Dulux years

Spurs fans have been watching paint dry for years. And now the club has – get this – an official paint partner. It’s Dulux, the paint brand with the shaggy dog on the cans. No, not the Labrador. That’s the toilet paper. But give it time and Spurs will move to secure that vital signing, too. The Dulux deal was announced on social media. First the apology:

Proud to see your paints on the walls of the Spurs trophy room and bogs:

Spurs Dulux

Spurs last won the League in 1961 – which is even longer ago in dog years.

Posted: 16th, April 2021 | In: Sports, Spurs, The Consumer | Comment

The best aprons ever are now in the Flashbak Shop

The brilliant Flashbak Shop has introduced a range of aprons. Smarten up your BBQs and suppers with designs by Dmitri S. Moor, Leonetto Cappiello, Gustave Dore and Gustav Klimt.

Order your aprons here.

Posted: 9th, April 2021 | In: The Consumer | Comment