Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Days

After yesterday's retro post about Belmont, I remembered another iconic design.

In the 1950's, while Britain's teenagers were discovering the newly introduced Wimpey Bars, I was discovering Soda Fountains and young Texan ladies in Houston.

Think George Lucas movie American Graffiti  and the TV comedy Happy Days. Think Rock 'n' Roll and Wurlitzer juke boxes.

No drugstore soda fountain would have opened its doors without an iconic Hamilton Beach malted milk shake blender and its metal cups behind the counter Invariably in pastel green or blue although other colours were available. Few knew that Hamilton Beach was not a place.

In 1904 Louis Hamilton and Chester Beach worked for US Standard Electrical in Racine Wisconsin. They met inventor Frederick J. Osius who employed Lou in sales and advertising and Chester in engineering. It was Chester who came up with the scaled down electric motor that made domestic appliances possible. Osius paid the pair $1000 each for the use of their name and Hamilton Beach Inc. was created.

I haven't spotted one in Margate yet, but there are still a few around in Britain. Don't know about those Texan misses though!
Photos via internet

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cutting Costs

Can you recognise this piece of furniture?

It may be the nearest that I ever get to sitting in a seat hand-crafted from six hides at the Bentley Motors factory,

It is in a gentleman's hair salon near Covent Garden which is operated by Brent Pankhurst who acquired half a dozen iconic Belmont barbers' chairs for extensive renovation, including the exclusive Bentley finish.

Yesterday, as I sat in a similarly refurbished Belmont in white leather but not branded by a car company, I wondered about the appeal of these chairs beyond their undeniable tiltability and comfort.

It appears that the company was formed in Japan some time in the 1930's when it was named Takara Belmont. Expansion to the USA marked a phenomenal 60's growth along with a similar surge in sales a decade later as longer hair started the demise of traditional barbers and the rise of stylists and hairdressers.
At Pankhurst you can expect to pay at least £50 for the privilege of having your haircut in a Belmont-Bentley.

In Margate, at Grades, my favourite tonseurist, prices start at £9 for a cut 'n' trim.

I would love to show you pictures of the white chairs and the collection of vintage radio-cassette players displayed along a high wall shelf. It didn't seem appropriate conduct to whip out my camera and start snapping away yesterday and the shots on the website don't download. So we'll have to make do with an exterior.

Meanwhile, I count my blessings that, although there may be increasing shades of grey, I do still have enough hair to require regular visits and that Margate still has places where a touch of luxury is still affordable at a fair price.
All photos via internet

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Provenance 2

Build an international analogue brand in a digital age. This euromaxx five minute feature shows how a simple product can be leveraged to success via a backstory provenance of questionable veracity.

Go to:

Then click on their 'Paper Notebook' story.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


As a child I thought Provenance was a district of France.

It isn't. It is the history of an artefact and matters to some people.

About this time of year I usually question whether I really need my film cameras, especially as I seem to make fewer photographs each year. And, as usual, I stow them away again.

These have a whiff of provenance although it didn't raise their prices.

The Lomo is probably quite rare as it was one of the first UK imports of the model, made and shipped from the original Lomo factory in USSR and sold in Walsall in December 1985, so it is 30.  Updated versions are now made in China and marketed by the Austrian Lomography organisation.

The Konica is younger, was sold in Grand Canaria and appears to date from 2008 although I am pretty sure that production had ceased earlier ... so it could be 2003?

I really MUST see if I can find my former enthusiasm for photography, an increasingly pointless pastime when even babes in nappies can take perfectly exposed pictures on Daddy's phone.

I MUST also learn to call them images.

Some days I feel that the age of my own provenance is making itself felt.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Last Days of Summer?

Check the date!

It is the last week of October.

Margate  has calm sea, blue sky, gentle breezes.

And 16 balmy degrees.


Yesterday I featured photographs by Cedric Canard.

Here are two more to keep the mood alive ...

And because I don't have any of my own to share today.

Enjoy [I believe Cedric lives in Australia?]

Sunday, 26 October 2014

From Elsewhere

"She hadn't left yet, but she was already far, far away - looking where only the imagination can go"  Cedric Canard

More From Cedric Canard who has a blog at

To me he has a good eye,
A way with headlines,
A pragmatic philosophy,
Take a look,
Be inspired.



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Qualita Italiana

I was so lucky to be born on an island where the very first outdoor thing that my baby browns focused on was the brilliant, deep, blue of the Mediterranean.

I guess that is why I am still drawn to the sea and have chosen to live here on the coast, even if Margate's weather isn't quite so clement and, although our sea has its blue moments, they are never as vivid as the Med which can always take my breath away.

As I typed here yesterday it was rainy and grey, so I attempted to create a warmer atmosphere by playing my CD of music from 'The Godfather'.  Thanks to composer Nino Rota and director Francis Ford Coppola, I doubt that I shall ever see another big church wedding without hearing their amazing main theme from the movie in my mind and recalling the wedding party scene.

The last big white wedding I attended as a guest here, was in a stately home where the photographer had a team of three and a fee of £10,000 + VAT. The last big white wedding I observed was in Sorrento at Sant'Agnello and believe me, when the Italian families do a wedding they do it in style! It is still one of the memorable highlights of that day.

According to my photographic magazines, some UK wedding photographers are 'giving up' through lack of demand. In Italy, instead of whinging and quitting, they have a cooperative to market their services. Today's main picture is from
Go to his site, click on 'blog' and see what I mean about collaboration.

Thanks for stopping by. [Today's Margate forecast is for wall-to-wall sunshine and 14 degrees. Not bad for October. Again, we are truly blessed but still ... Sorrento calls ...]
Sant'Agnello Sorrento