Saturday 4 January 2014

Chaps, choo-choos and Charlestons

With the Twelfth Day of Christmas nearly upon us and the New Year now 4 days old this will be my last Christmas post as I take the opportunity to showcase some of my more vintage-y presents.  I expect you want to see what I got, so here we go:

Christmases have been fairly lean for us the last few years and tend to be celebrated quietly but so long as the family is together at some point that's all that truly matters.  My sisters have both come up trumps again this year, though, with a calendar from each of them - one scenic, one Steampunk!  I shall have to alternate between them, I think(!).

Another sororal present, the silent 1928 film The Wrecker has featured on this blog before and now (finally) makes it into my DVD collection.  I've watched it already and it's a cracking bit of 1920s fun & action.  The villain can be spotted from a mile off, the plot is both quaint yet serious, there are many long smouldering looks to camera and just in case there was any doubt about the hero's bona fides he turns out to be an ex-Lancashire cricket captain and therefore beyond reproach.  Plus, of course, plenty of trains (including that crash!) and buses too.  The feature, as previously mentioned, has been lovingly restored and given a new accompaniment by noted silent film music writer/composer Neil Brand.  He's even done the same for the abridged 14-minute home movie version (above) and there are plenty of other extras on the DVD to do with the film as well as other staged locomotive crashes and the old railway line on which parts of The Wrecker were filmed.

Am I A Chap? was given to my by nan and a jolly interesting and amusing little tome it is, just as I had hoped.  A welcome addition to my bookshelf, where it will join other books from the same stable - The Chap Manifesto and The Best of The Chap.

I've occasionally considered submitting myself to the critical eye of The Chap magazine's editor Mr Gustav Temple in the Am I Chap? feature but always fear what would surely be his withering opprobrium at my effort.  It's the tweed within rather than without that really counts as the Chaps also say and I am in agreement with that.  Still, maybe one day...

There were also other gifts not featured in the lead photograph for certain reasons.  Some are still en route from the supplier.  Others have no physical form.  I refer to the noted South American river and online retailer, who offer a splendid service whereby you can download music direct to your iPod.  As much as I enjoy having a CD in my hand (and a couple of new acquisitions included both) there's definitely something to be said for the space-saving qualities of direct mp3 downloads.  They also tend to be cheaper and in the case of music from the 1920s and '30s Amazon are to be commended for offering it in that format and thereby giving a new lease of life to these old songs.

I was thus able to obtain four new albums this way - Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer's latest, Can't Stop, Shan't Stop; Caro Emerald's new The Shocking Miss Emerald and two splendid compilations - Hits of 1930 and Vintage Charleston.  There's nothing like starting the New Year with some new music and these tunes will certainly keep me entertained for a long while.

I'm sure you all received some perfectly wonderful gifts too and I look forward to hearing about them as well.  In the meantime I'm off to do a bit of Charlestoning.  Toodle-pip!


  1. OOOH! The Wrecker looks right up my alley, I shall have to get a copy. Looks like you got some lovely gifts.

  2. "It's the tweed within" just made me laugh out loud!!! Happy New Year lovely, I hope that 2014 is kind to you. Great gifts there, your nearest and dearest certainly know you well.

    P x


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