Not all girlie-girl typers are pink

Filed under: Finds, Machines of Loving Grace, typewriters — olivander January 18, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

Under normal circumstances, if I were to come across a late-model Royal Royalite in the thrift store, I would probably pass it by–especially an off-white one beginning to yellow with age. The Holland-made Royals  with the “squashed Futura” look just don’t do much for me.

But an off-white Royalite slathered in flower decals…?

Now that’s irresistible tackiness! $5 was worth just the opportunity to photograph it.

If you were to guess that this typewriter was probably owned by a 16-year-old girl, you’d be right. The proof is that her class schedule, including Driver’s Ed, was written on a sheet of notebook paper inside the case. Take note, Pottery Barn set designers!

Also down in the bottom of the case were three Gold Bond Stamps. Those of us of A Certain Age remember trading stamps. Your mom would get a certain number whenever they bought groceries. At home, the stamps (most often the green S&H variety) would go into a little booklet, and after so many booklets were filled up, they could be redeemed for Valuable Prizes. I remember my mom once got a set of “unbreakable” dishes with trading stamps. (“Unbreakable” is a loose term in the presence of an 8-year-old.) I think that one could even get a Maytag washer by redeeming a ridiculous number of stamp books.

It makes one wonder: were typewriters ever offered as trading stamp prizes? Could that be how our mystery teenager’s mom bought her typewriter?

I’m leaning toward naming her Lizzie, after Elizabeth of York, whose marriage to Henry Tudor (aka Henry VII) effectively ended the Wars of the Roses by bringing together the houses of Lancaster (whose badge was the red rose) and York (the white rose). Henry subsequently adopted a white-on-red rose as his own badge. Known today as the Tudor Rose, it is still used as the heraldic emblem of the UK. It seems doubly fitting for the name, then, that our Royalite should be white with red roses.

Now if only it had script typeface.

Enjoying this music is against the law

Filed under: Diversions — olivander January 5, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

I need to take a moment out of working on the next installment of Amelia & Me, the 2009 Typewriter Roundup, the 2010 MoLG calendar (I’ll bet you didn’t think I was going to do one, did you?), and legitimate work to tell you something very important:

The new Kleptones album is finally out!

For the uninitiated, The Kleptones is Eric Kleptone, a British DJ who likes to mash together all manner of musical styles to create Something Completely Different. A listen to one of his albums is a trip through his entire musical education, without regard to genre (who would have thought that Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” vocals would have overlaid perfectly with Rage Against the Machine’s “Down on the Street” backtrack?) or obscurity (did you know that Harry Nilsson recorded a cover of “Sixteen Tons” back in 1964 just so it could be mixed with Sister Surround’s “The Soundtrack of Our Lives” 30 years later? Me, either.)

Naturally, the recording industry considers Kleptone’s work to be in violation of copyright and illegal to possess.

Midnight, Jan 1 saw the long-awaited release of “Uptime / Downtime“, the duo’s first album of original material since 2006’s “24 Hours“. As the title suggests, disk 1 is all upbeat, fast-moving, sometimes aggressive tracks; disk 2 is a slower wind-down set. I wish I had had Uptime to play at my New Year’s Eve party (heck, I wish I’d had a New Year’s Eve party), and Downtime for the day-after recovery. “Uptime” is a little heavy on the Beastie Boys samples to me, but that didn’t diminish my overall enjoyment of the side.

Here’s an example of some of the things you can expect to find buried within each track. This is a list of samples used in just the “Uptime” track “Come Again”:

  • The Beatles – “Come Together”
  • Beastie Boys – “No Sleep till Brooklyn”
  • Daft Punk – “Robot Rock”
  • Rare Earth – “I Just Want to Celebrate”
  • Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure”
  • Cypress Hill – “Insane in the Brain”
  • John Lennon – “Power to the People”
  • Boston – “More Than a Feeling”
  • M|A|R|R|S – “Pump Up the Volume”
  • Freeez – “I.O.U”
  • Art of Noise – “Close (to the Edit)”
  • S’Express – “Theme from S’Express”

“Downtime” finds things like Nick Drake merged with Star Trek’s computer (Majel Barrett) and Marianne Faithfull collaborating with the late Paul Newman.

And somehow it all works.

“Uptime / Downtime” is not for everyone. If your musical tastes lean more toward Tobey Keith or Jimmy Buffet, this album is probably not for you. But if you’re looking for an alternative to the packaged synthpop that fills the airwaves today, The Kleptones may just be the aural antidote you’re looking for.