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Gotta thirst at the end of a day? Well, there is no shortage of colourful, solutions to be concocted–by you yourself or by a licensed professional (image from here). Cocktails are back. Lucky us.
The mixed drink for adults that goes beyond the quick and simple rye and ginger, rum and coke, scotch and water, tequila and tequila is very much in favour just now and shows no sign of retreating any time soon.
Funny how things come and go. Not so long ago, the thing to do was to keep everything simple, including your brain buzzing beverage of choice. Open the bottle, pour a healthy slug, add something a child might drink, and repeat as necessary–or just make a giant jugful.
But now, it’s all about multiple ingredients, hard to find, mixed in just the right proportion, requiring some care and skill, served in a special glass, beautiful to look at.
They say the cocktail craze started way back before we let television in the house. Almost a hundred years ago, people of means and money looking to fill the void between the afternoon nap and dinner decided the thing to do was to have friends over for drinks, real drinks, stiff drinks crafted with expertise made from hard-to-get components, just like their hats and furniture.
Great design above by Beverley Nichols found here.
Those who looked into it seriously say the cocktail hour was born sometime between 1917 and 1924, somewhere between London and America, moving inevitably from houses to bars, cafes, nightclubs, fund raisers…
The bunch above are slurping their cocktails during prohibition in America, meaning you needed a password to get in and you had to lie to your mom when you got home. From this article.
This crowd is on the town Berlin at a time when, it seems, nothing was prohibited (and just before just about everything was prohibited).
Wherever you are, the cocktail seems to be best consumed in the presence of someone you think is swell.
Or at least someone you used to think was swell. This is a fine photo by Irving Penn was taken in Lima and found at this eye-opening site.
Then again, some gals just like to put on their best cocktail hat and go it alone.
OK, so back to the here and the now. Below is the bar at the Brasserie NYC in the one and only Seagram’s building where, we can tell you, you will not go wrong in acquiring a satisfying cocktail, New York style: big, quick, yummy, and served by someone who won’t make you feel like you don’t deserve this.
If you find yourself near NYC or just thinking it, it would be a fine occasion to have a Manhattan cocktail.
Wherever you are, spare an hour late in a day to seek out seat at the bar somewhere in your town. Give the bartender a chance to try something new on you–or challenge him/her with something little known.
At the r of l, our official cocktail is the negroni.
Why? it tastes really good in any season and any time of day, it only has 3 ingredients, and it goes very well with any activity, whether you are being quiet and reflective (wondering where you put that note reminding you to do something) or hosting a gathering of 20 friends and neighbours in celebration of the fact that you have 20 friends and neighbours. (Image above, History, and more from Swide)
Find your cocktail, find your reason to sip it.
All of us are born with more than enough imagination. It is not exclusive to people who go on to write novels, paint pictures, make movies, design buildings, or start a fashion label. Just look at any child under 10–look at what they are doing.
Middle photo, children drawing on panels, Japan, 1909 b7 “F Carpenter”. Top photo and lower one, kids on the street in New York, by Helen Levitt. Lots more here.
But if you ask people over 20 about their imagination and how they use it, you’ll find them frowning while they try to come up with something that won’t sound stupid.
It seems that once we get it into our heads that we are grown ups, most of us abandon the inventive use of our imagination and only call on it when hankering for something we don’t have: a tropical vacation, possession of a winning lottery ticket, a cigarette, a cheesecake, a white Christmas, dream girl/guy.
Fine, but isn’t there something a bit more useful you could do with this amazing tool that takes you beyond the here and now and the run of the mill?
It doesn’t have to be the invention of an alternate reality or a re-imagining of the modern metropolis. It could be your choice of an outfit for a walk downtown.
Like this inventive and still playful woman. The Japanese, bless their hearts, take their imaginations to the streets as a matter of course.
And they are not alone.
Above The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas of NYC, photo by NPR found here
More than anyone (as we at the RofL noted before) we have the amazing Bill Cunningham to thank for finding and photographing people who set their own standard every day in New York.
These are people who wouldn’t be caught dead in some other persons clothes. Above from here
But, hey, public displays of originality aren’t for everyone, of course. And plain clothes have been the choice of some of the most imaginative humans who ever lived.
Mr Einstein at the beach, almost blending in, seen here
The point is: somewhere in all our lives there is an opportunity to do what feels right to us and what we strongly suspect is not what most people are going to do.
Don’t we have some sort of responsibility to do something, sometime, that is all our own, a demonstration of our DNA writ large?
All we need is the courage to let loose our imagination, our playful side, and put it out there.
Start small, start with lunch. This is a sandwich, a baby grandwich. Bravo, and bon appetite. After lunch, maybe go outside and paint the house, pushing yourself beyond taupe with charcoal trim.
Nice building, personalized, and you won’t have any trouble finding it again. It was given a lick of paint by Stanley Donwood, pen name of an artist and is the London office of XL Recordings. More here
Tired of hauling a spruce into the house or the landlord just won’t let you?
We all have an oceanful of ideas–some bright, some wacky, some spooky, some great–floating around in our heads. Giving ourselves permission to dip into that ocean a bit more often would make the world a bit more interesting, don’t you think?
Paris, the 1920’s, letting it loose, 24/7. Photo from here
Happy New Year. Go play
Shopping, like a lot of things, can produce a smile and a sweet memory or it can make you grumble for days and hate yourself. A lot of the difference lies in the attitude of you and me, the shopper. But much depends as well on the shop itself, and the face it presents to the street. Above is a shopper’s street of dreams, Rue Manzoni in Milan.
Still in Milan, where commerce takes place in settings suitable for an opera or the overthrow of the government. The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele is centre stage, a shopping mall where you and everyone else is part of a performance–comedy, drama, money changing hands, loyalties tested.
Italy is more than Milan of course, and if you find yourself in Naples, for example, at the other end of the country, you won’t lack for chances to exercise your shopping muscles and the offerings may be quite different than Milanese high fashion.
Above is a windowful of Neapolitan wood carved figures, a product of this ancient city that can be found all over the world (e.g on the giant Christmas Tree at the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Nicely photographed by this perceptive shopper.
But its not just Italy that has a history and a culture of shops and shopping. England too is what it is because of trade and traders, goods and wares, purveyors and shoppes. our life as a shopper isn’t complete until you’ve treated yourself to London. This is Regent Street, a shop front done up by architects in 2013.
This looks to us very English too, but it is in New York, via Copenhagen, albeit on “Prince” street. Nice job by Han Kjobenhavn, is a “playful” Copenhagen-based eyewear brand. Fits right in and stands out all at the same time. Found here.
Awwwwwww. Cute as a box full of budgies. How much for those red lips, Mr Pucci? This store is up on Madison Avenue in NY where they’ve been setting up shops to feed your eyeballs since way before there was QR code or a #.
Still on Madison Ave, this fellow and his fluffy companion have, I guess, seen it all before, but those gals in the window seem to be looking at him with intent. Nice photo.
If you want to join the show on Madison, you better have your act together, and this is just about perfect, we think. Nicely done Ms Marni.
We’ll give the last spot to Paris, not the fashion houses or perfume shops, but this little stationary shop between the Marais and the river. Mmmmmm. Wish it was just around the corner.
With shopping, as with dining, the best moment is often before you take the first bite. Give yourself an eyeful next time you go shopping. It won’t show up on the credit card statement and it won’t wear out.
These little fellas help us get our act together all day, until we undo them in the dark. While we dream, they wait, wide eyed, for the start of a new day. For most of us, it’s a kind of unacknowledged mutual dependence, like those birds that live on the backs of rhinos. We know they’re there, but we act as if we don’t.
Of course, some people are different, and some of those people are not at all indifferent to their buttons.
These are the pint sized offspring of London’s Pearly Kings and Queens, who gussy up their plain clothes with as many pearl buttons as they can. The results are fabulous, fun, and a little tragic, like much of life for those on the lower rungs of London living. More recent pics in this article.
Truth be known, while we often admire displays of a great big bunch of stuff, we are generally more partial to those who celebrate the individual unique thing, be it a bungalow, a backless dress, or a button.
Aaaww, look at that, cute as what it is.
And this one, well now we are way beyond cute into the country of art and design. This has an idea, and this was executed with skill and craft. It’s from the collection of the National Button Society! Along with more, below:
This black glass button is as stormy as a Canadian winter sky or a late-night argument that just won’t end.
The above nifty trio, each a fine bright thing, live in the Pennsylvania House Museum, which is not in Pennsylvania, apparently.
But buttons aren’t just a North American pleasure. Look at the above fistful from Birmingham, the one in England.
These gems up there, from here, tell us that button making and button wearing was once something special. Today, we think we are the most interesting people who ever walked the face of the earth, but how many of us pay any attention to our buttons? Maybe that will change. There is lots of encouragement…
This great little book is a catalogue for an exhibition/celebration of buttons in Paris at the Mona Bismark gallery Many were from the collection of Loic Allio, who has his own book (hard to find and pricey). First seen here.
Some have been woven from cloth, many more punched from mother of pearl shell
A few made it to the vest of the little emperor himself and left their mark.
Coco Chanel knew her buttons and put her mark right there, out front, in classic fashion below seen here
Of course, it’s really a question of style and personal taste, whether you go plain above or bravura below.
The thing is you have a choice, it’s up to you. Don’t leave it to chance.
This is one of the oldest buttons ever found. Simple, yes, but made with care, not like any other. See its story here.
If you want a bit more history to go with the eye candy, Slate has this. And if you want to shake up your daily life just a little, go to your closet and check your buttons. Are they YOU? Well, you can change that.
When we get dressed for the day, they are probably the last thing (well 2 things) we think about, even when we want to make a big impression. But socks, it turns out, can say quite a lot about us.
The lower-limb fashion-forward group above is way ahead in the sock-as-statement game–they even give the left foot something different to say than the right. These sockstars spotted here.
But don’t go thinking that sock fanciers are something faddishly new. Check out fashionable people in photos from the near past and paintings from farther back, and you’ll see plenty of foot candy on guys and gals of virtually any era. The silk slip-ons above date from 1750 and are in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
But most of us don’t live in museums do we. If you need that bit of extra confidence for the Monday morning meeting, how about a pair of genuine super hero socks under the flannel trousers. Found here
But don’t stop there–you can have happy feet all week long. See here
Now, if you encounter extreme conditions in your work week, you may need some technology in your socks like these electric heated dandies, available here.
Look, someone has paid tribute to various countries of the world with socks–these represent the colours and patterns of soccer teams playing in the World Cup. Does your country have a national sock?
Socks and the City. Not sure if these long socks on these long fashion models represent the official sock of the respective cities, but until we’re told “no, they aren’t”, let’s just say they are. See here
In any city just about anywhere, you can find a sock-o-rama going on somewhere. Including here.
Irish Dancing socks so you can do your full Riverdance routine and not disturb the neighbours below. Get yours here
The latest news from Tokyo right there on your feet, spotted here.
But we all know that socks, like these all good things, do not last forever. Fortunately, some go on to enjoy a second life as sock monkeys. This one, from sock monkey dreams, is particularly happy and gainfully employed.
Remember, even in sockmonkeyland, the forces of darkness are lurking. Beware blood-sucking sock monkeys.
But please don’t turn all your socks into monkeys. Socks have a serious job to do serving and protecting your heels and toes as you go about your work and life. Wherever your tootsies take you.
Whether thundering down the field in front of a crowd of delirious thousands.
Sliding under the family car in your best skirt to fetch that sandwich you tucked away for emergencies as seen here.
Or heading out on the town with $27 cash and some bold ideas. Step into here first.