Friday, 31 December 2010

For auld lang syne

My mother and I
December 1969, New York

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.

In spite of everything... I shall be sorry to see this year go. Too much goes with its close.

Now playing: Joan Baez - Forever Young



Wednesday, 29 December 2010

La Belle...

Now playing: Happy Talk from Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific 

Monday, 27 December 2010

A little late...

but, nonetheless Happy Holidays.

Now playing: Walking In The Air

Monday, 20 December 2010

Stocking stuffer

From the very talented curator of Chateau Thombeau (née Fabulon)

2011 Calendars,  Flora and City of Silence

Now playing: Neil Sedaka - Calendar Girl

Sunday, 19 December 2010

For those who have everything

The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China  

by Hannah Pakula

 By David Bouchard with illustrations by noted artist Zhong-Yang Huang

An illustrated fictionalised memoir of the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi.

The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty 

James C. Y. Watt(Editor) 






 Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer  

by Jay Jorgensen 





by Charles Churchward

Introduction by Richard Gere with foreword by David Fahey

Fornasetti: The Complete Universe

by Mariuccia Casadio

Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture

by Jonathan D. Katz

...companion volume to an exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, traces the defining presence of same-sex desire in American portraiture...

Now playing: Ertha Kitt - Santa Baby

Wednesday, 15 December 2010



Scissor Sisters - Invisible Light

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Yet more chairs

Italian 1960s armchair
  Nutwood, plywood with rosewood veneer, dour brown fabric 

North Italian dining chairs, circa 1825-30
Ebonised pearwood with brass knobs
The horse hair upholstered seats rather poorly replaced

Now playing: Cyndi Lauper  - Rocking Chair

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Mission: Impossibly Smart

Bodo Rasch
Inselcafé chair, designed circa 1946
Beechwood, plywood, stained dark, nylon-work seat 

Sunday, 5 December 2010

What's wrong with Muriel Puce?

Only everything
Now, for the right sort of puce...

Little Silver Spray Rose

19th Century Chinese enameled dish


Auntie Mame (1958)

Now playing: Jeff Buckley - Lilac Wine

Before Mr. Chow

There was John J. Kan (1905-1972). More commonly known as Johnny Kan,  the man who introduced Peking duck to the American palate and also the man who taught Danny Kaye to cook. Originally a native of Portland Oregon, Mr. Kan was both a fixture and a force in San Francisco's Chinatown - his home since the age of four. 

This unusual photograph appeared in the March 1941 edition of San Francisco Life, a tourist publication that featured restaurants that paid for advertisements in the magazine. The photo was taken at Cathay House, 718 California, at Grant Ave., probably in January or early February 1941. - San Francisco Museum

In 1935 he opened the first large soda fountain and Chinese bakery in San Francisco's Chinatown and originated (what today would be called fusion) flavoured ices such as lychee, kumquat and ginger. In 1940 he initiated the Chinese Kitchen, a venture said to be the first delivery of Chinese food. And, after his service with the Army in World War II he opened Kan's Restaurant at 708 Grant Avenue. It was to become one of the finest, Chinese or otherwise, restaurants in San Francisco.

 In 1959 Mr. Kan commissioned artist Jake Lee (1911-1991) to paint a series of twelve watercolours depicting the ignominies and the glories of early Chinese American history. These paintings hung in the private  Gum Shan (Gold Mountain) dining room. 

Sometime after the death of Mr. Kan in 1972  the works disappeared. For decades they were believed to have been lost. That is, until eleven of the works surfaced at auction in Los Angeles in 2010.  Now, for the the first time in almost 30 years the complete series of paintings will be exhibited. On 12th February, 2011 the Chinese Historical Society of America will stage  Finding Jake Lee: The Paintings at Kan’s.

Now playing: Jerry Goldsmith - Love Theme from Chinatown

Friday, 3 December 2010

From the Age of Reason

Carved 17th Century armchair covered in stumpwork and petit point

Pair of Charles II turned walnut armchairs covered in tooled and painted leather

Pair of 17th Century carved walnut armchairs covered in highly decorative woolwork

Now playing: Tears For Fears - Head Over Heels

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


National AIDS Memorial, San Francisco
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images from Life

Among the all too numerous names can be found the name of one Tony Brich.
He was not yet 32 when he died.

The Fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law devine
In one another's being mingle -
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Now Playing: This Mortal Coil - Another Day