Object Name: The Beatles – All You Need is Love tin
Accessioned: 2002 (?)
Notes: A set of stackable tins inspired by the movie Yellow Submarine.
Comments: From about age 13/14 I was obsessed with the Beatles. I would slavishly save up the £15 or £16 to buy each of the thirteen original UK released albums, having to specially order the less popular ones through my local record shop. Predictably my first album was Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band but I think one of the last I got was the Yellow Submarine as this was a few years before it was remastered and re-released. I loved the movie and the soundtrack – it is pure 1960s psychedelia and was utterly bizarre. Travelling through a fantasy land the Beatles (voiced by actors, not the Beatles themselves) are on a mission to save Pepperland which is under threat from the Blue Meanies. The Beatles use their music (and happiness) to defeat these curmudgeonly evil-doers. This includes using the song All You Need Is Love that builds a tower of song lyrics to torment the Meanies.
My brother bought me this tin on the back of that love I had for renting these movies. I rented them over and over from the local video store on VHS along with the other three movies by the Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night, Help and The Magical Mystery Tour).
Mostly the tin stores pins and buttons these days. It is a lovely (and suitably tasteful) reminder of that passion I still have for the Beatles – however over-rated some people claim them to be!
Object Name: Platypus Soft Toy
Accessioned: early 1990s
Notes: One of a number of Australian soft toys I own.
Comments: An aunt of mine was also lucky (?) enough to by my Godmother. As a Catholic this basically means that in the event my parents are incapable or lapse in their duty to raise me in the faith my Godparents should step up to the plate. In the absence of that need, Godparents send you presents! My Godmother is a nurse who spent a few years working in Australia in the early to mid 1990s.
Mostly she sent me soft toys as when I was little I loved all manner of stuffed animals. I used to go to sleep every night with all my soft animals arranged from biggest (at my pillow) which was a bear called Rupert, right down to the smallest of the animals at the end of the bed. It just so happens that the biggest bear, Rupert, was originally my Godmother’s bear. When I had him as a child he was over 25 years old. He was a well loved bear who has now been returned to his original owner when she had her own family.
I think the funniest thing about this Platypus is that he is about twice as big as a real one and he looks like a furry sausage with felt ducks feet stuck on! He is eminently cuddle-able though, you can not fault him there.
I was recently contributed to the “I’m a Museum Person” series on The Museumist.
My humble ramblings can be found here.
Object Name: Sindy Badge
Notes: random purchase on Ebay
Comments: I have to admit this will not be the last Sindy item to appear on this blog. I was a Sindy girl my entire childhood, in my eyes Barbie just couldn’t measure up to her. I grew up in the era of the Hasbro Sindy, which in a lot of ways mimicked Barbie in her penchant for pink and her figure. Although her feet and her chest were relatively flat in comparison to her American rival.
I’m not going to give you a biography of the Sindy doll as there are plenty of websites and blogs that do that already. I’ll just tell you why I felt the need to buy this badge. As I said I grew up with the Hasbro Sindy but my sister had Pedigree Sindy – or as they are some times known “Big-headed Sindys”. She had a whole doll house full of late 1970s to early 1980s furniture, complete with an orange kitchen and a blue bedroom. As I got older I was allowed to play with this doll house and my small headed dolls had their time renting this mid century gem. Now I feel the need to own my own, perhaps for myself or for a future family but part of me wants my own small plastic orange kitchen.
The second reason I bought this is just pure collecting. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s I was like many kids and owned many collections. Stamps, coins, keyrings, fancy paper, pencils and pens, soaps, Puppy in my Pocket and badges. Although my old collection of badges is long gone, this represents them. Or maybe it’s just a rusty old badge.
Object Name: Agfamatic 2008
Notes: My mother’s old camera.
Comments: This is the camera my mother used from the 1970s until the 1990s. As a child it was the most satisfying camera to take a photograph on based on the mechanical action alone. The excited clockwork noise it made as you slide the mechanism to roll forward the film, which gave it the name “Ritsch-Ratsch-Kameras”, was a delight to me and still is. Anything with a big red button like that has its own particular attraction anyway.
It was a follow on from the camera featured in Object Number 6, it’s film came in a neat little cartridge and produced tiny thin strips of negatives. Mostly I remember my mother having to take pictures outside as getting the flash to operate was a little tricky. When she did use it though it made that wonderful high pitched warming up noise. Not only did the flash screw onto the side but it was hooked up using a cable to the body of the camera.
Looking through the view finder, a little yellowed and with the silver brackets to aid in centring, makes everything look like the 1980s to me. Everything look just a little vintage, as if the world is framed in the paler, round-edged photographs of my childhood.
Object Name: Purple Velvet Doc Martins
Notes: Given to me by my other half.
Comments: There are a few things that I am remembered by. One of those is a pair of black velvet Doc Martens I wore in primary school when I was about 11/12 years old. My aunt gave them to me and they were 1980s velvet romantic goth magic represented in boot form. I wore them, literally, into the ground. Towards the end they actually looked like they had mange but I loved them. When the velvet wore away so much it cracked to show the canvas underneath I attempted to colour in the exposed areas with a black permanent marker. How I loved those boots. What made that time more special was that those boots forged a very long lasting friendship. Emily, another slight eccentric like myself, wore the most amazing Docs money could buy at the time. She had not one, but two pairs of fabulous footwear: A silver pair with an oil stain-like iridescence and a pair that were bright patent red. These boots form our first memories of each other, and all most 15 years later we still talk about those boots.
So it was my glorious other half that tasked himself with finding me a new pair. Having searched the internet for them myself, all I ever found was blog posts bemoaning the lack of velvet Docs. They appear to have been an exclusively 1980s phenomena. So with a tall order and a girlfriend with rather large feet, my other half stalked Ebay patiently. It finally paid off. Last year he secured a pair of purple velvet, size 8 genuine Doc Martens for an undisclosed amount. Unfortunately I regard them so highly I barely wear them. I hope to change that (somewhat) in the new year.
Object Name: Maple Leaf
Accessioned: 1998 (?)
Notes:Collected in the garden of Louisa May Alcott.
Comments: In the late nineties my brother spent some time in Boston. Being a young girl, I had inevitably read Little Women and it’s sequels. So while visiting Alcott’s house in Boston, he collected this leaf for me from the garden. He has always been very good at finding objects like this, regardless of whether they are ‘found’ like this, that mean a vast amount. As I was so smitten with this when it was presented to me my mother got it framed for me. I rediscovered it amongst items carefully packed boxes from my later adolescence a few years ago. It now has pride of place on my wall. Of course this has even greater meaning now as my brother moved to Canada. If I believed in fate, I might read into that and this entry would be a lot longer.
Object Name: Worry Dolls or Sorgenbeutel
Accessioned: 2004 (?)
Notes:gift from a friend.
Comments: I suppose these items don’t a very complicated story, but they are very beautiful. A friend of mine was studying German and spent a year abroad in Germany. She now lives there, I suppose good beer in that quantity is hard to pass up. I think she bought these in the Nuremberg Christmas market along with a Christmas lantern. So like my Mammoth worry dolls, you tell these three your worries, place them under your pillow and the next day you will feel better! Obviously my friends think I worry too much, maybe I should distract myself further by making my own.
Object Name: Globe
Accessioned: December 2009
Notes: Bought by my mother.
Comments: Last Christmas my parent’s house was rampant with nostalgia. Myself and my siblings delved into bookshelves, investigated cupboards and riffled through photo albums. This resulted in my mother trying to encourage her children to take away more of their possessions, or to allow for them to be given away. It was at this point the old globe was produced. My mother bought this in the 1980s when we were all kids, it was around the same time she got The World Book and the Encyclopaedia. Seeing as I was born right in the middle of the 1980s, this is the world as it was when I entered it. In particular there is still an East and West Germany, and Eastern Europe looks very different. A lot of the older names of countries in Africa and Asia are still noted, such as Ceylon. Seeing as I was the only one with any interest in an out-dated globe it came home with me. So really this globe is really mine now as a product of navel gazing…
Object Name: Gilt Silver Lamp Stand
Accessioned: March 2010
Notes: bought by my mother in a lot at an auction.
Comments: For many years my mother did quite a lot of flower arranging. To find interesting, and more unusual objects to incorporate into her arrangements, she used to go to local ‘lot’ auctions. In these kinds of auctions you buy an entire box, or a ‘mixed lot’. As far as I know this lady emerged from such auction. I have always loved this lady, who adorned my mother’s sideboard for many years. After expressing an interest in recent years in Art Nouveau it was decided that I would be the ‘silver lady’s’ next rightful owner. So earlier this year, surrounded by old books and some childhood soft toys, she made her way to my house in a borrowed suit case.
She appears to be from the late 19th or early 20th century and she is stamped with the letters WMF EP. WMF is a German company, which still trades today. EP stands for electroplated. In her previous life she had a very industrious polisher for an owner as most of her silver had been rubbed off. You can see this in her now silvery ‘highlights’ around the features in her face, the folds of her dress and her toes. When I examined her, I remembered that as a child I polished her just as exuberantly. I realised this based on the amount of whitish polish that was deposited all over her. Over the course of a number of days, using a little warm water and mild soap I cleaned her from top-to-toe. I used ear buds and toothpicks to clean it out from from the leafy detail on her plinth.
She appears to have been a lamp originally, but she arrived to us sans lamp fixture. So that she was not holding her arms aloft needlessly, my mother found a candle that fits perfectly. Maybe someday I could find her a suitable glass lamp to hold, as I think she might be beyond being reinstated as a lamp. I might get her re-plated someday, although as someone interested in the history of objects, I do love the story her sparse silver tells.