Category Archives: WORDS

Writers of the world your carriage awaits

Petite – the written world at your small fingertips

1980. Fair-Play. France.

How many of us began our mechanical word journeys on a Petite typewriter? In the 80s I didn’t have a Petite, but I did inherit my auntie’s Scout typewriter that she used for college in the 60s – a small, compact, pastel blue thing of some elegance and which weighed a ton. I wonder how many times my fingers pushed those creamy white keys, how my ears attuned to the striking of hammers against the ribbon onto the page?

The Scout was dethroned by an early 90s electronic word processor, a Brother, which weighed two tons and took up all the space on my desk. It came with a screen about the size of a  letterbox on a front door and could save to floppy disks as well as print. Both the manual and electronic machines served me well as a young writer, popping out page after page of poems and stories (of which a certain few were published. And there is a charm now to that old-school way of submitting typed work by post with an SAE that you had to do back then – but that’s another story for another time). Back to the machines, and I still have pages that were churned out from them which have survived the years and all the moves. It’s funny looking over them again, not just the words I wrote but the typeface, the indents, the smudges and marks. The time-yellowed correction fluid blobs.

When the electronic Brother became redundant, with parts increasingly difficult to get hold of, it was replaced by my first laptop and MS Word package. It’s satisfying seeing words, sentences and paragraphs organise and compose themselves on a computer screen. The tools available make searching and editing simple and fast. With that said, you still can’t beat the elemental feel of a pen in your hand, its shaft working magic from the flicks and swirls of your wrist.

To the left of me right now are hillocks of paper marked by Bics and Papermates and HB pencils – precious notes. To the right is a coffee cup. And in the centre of these is the keyboard, and the screen that I stare into every day, the screen upon which those pen-made notes find their order and place.

I’ll let the artist Stella Marrs have the last word(s) at the end of this post. For now, please enjoy these images of what is possibly the equivalent of the writer’s first car, the Petite typewriter! Plus, a sewing machine, and an activity centre …

It’s all about creation, right?


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


1980. Fair-Play. France.


Hamleys. UK. 1983.


stellamarrs.com


Thanks for carbon copying with us 🙂

The Nutella Poem part two

Qui Est-Ce? / Guess Who?

Hypocrisy

Nutella Nigella, your Pater has audacity far thicker than blood

Mixed with water and palm oil and gathered in the gutter

Such hypocrisy to mutter about tiresome hoops

Of bureaucracy he may have to haul his arse through

Watches his nuts as he jumps, palm-oiled and bright red as a propaganda bus

That suggests money saved from Europe could go to the NHS

Oh whore-brandy, weak scarlet-mouthed rock shandy-dandy

Piss-taker extraordinaire, serpent-tongue brass shiner

Slop-deliverer of rank duplicity, Baboon-arsed quackery

And slime-lipped pecksniffery of the highest merit

Utter Cant. May your carte de séjour receive no rubber stamp

And please purchase your Nutella from the Britain you wanted

No single market nuts, free movement or customs union trust

And enough forms to fill in to make even a French person blush

(Love never ends) We’ll always be together

Together in Brexit dreams


Words by the editor.


 

Predictive text – it’s no picnic

‘Why are you looking so perplexed?’ Wooof asked me this morning during my third cup of coffee.

‘It’s that predictive text thingy,’ I said.

‘Oh?’

‘Well, it never works. For example, I’ve been researching for a big writing piece I’m working on. I tried to enter into my search engine: “Public Inquiries of the Twentieth Century” … and do you know what it predicted?’

‘What?’

‘”Picnic Injuries of the Twentieth Century”, that’s what!’

‘Ha-ha,’ laughed the cat. ‘I suppose that might involve trapped fingers inside hampers, wasp stings, napkin cuts, champagne corks in the eye.’

‘It’s pretty serious stuff when you look into it. Perhaps we ought to warn our readers?’

‘We should,’ agreed the cat. ‘Summer’s only around the corner. Soon there’ll be chequered blankets and condiments everywhere! How are we to keep the good folk of Vintage-land safe?’

‘By launching our very own public service picnic ad campaign!’ I said.

‘Are you serious?’

‘Sometimes.’

‘Alright,’ said the cat. ‘Let’s do it!’


INTRODUCING 

TVTA’s Summertime Safe Picnic Initiative is proudly sponsored by Badgerworth’s Wasp-catcher Kettles and Foxes & Fangles Mind That Bear Exploding Monkeys.



Ask The Family! 

We asked 1960’s Tammy’s family for their top Dos and Don’ts when it comes to enjoying a safe picnic in style.


The right look, the safe look!

Tammy: “It’s important for me to look my best at all times. But when it comes to picnics… skiing, roller skates and archery are huge no-go areas. Don’t be tempted by the latest fads or what your friends might say. It’s just not worth the risk!”

 

Below: Good show Tammy, that’s the safe way to picnic and you still look stylish!


Don’t be a square, daddy-o!

Ted and Dad are taking big risks by wearing such formal and warm attire to the picnic. 27% of picnic fatalities are caused by heat exposure and the rapid onset of mindless delirium. In severe cases the over-heated picnicker may resort to heinous criminal activity. 

Below: That’s better lads!


Stay cool, but never be underdressed!

Blimey Mom, watch out for your skin! More than 32% of picnic fatalities are caused by deadly insects attracted to human flesh. In addition, serious sunburn injuries can occur within just minutes of exposing bare arms and legs on the picnic blanket. Don’t risk it. Cover up sensibly. Mom looks great for a woman her age, let’s keep her that way!


Keep an eye on children at all times!

More than 47% of picnic fatalities arise from children being taken offsite by wild bears, mountain lions, Komodo dragons and in rare cases sharks.

Be seen!

Tammy’s younger sister Pepper says: “When I was very young I had to stay at home during family picnics. Understandable. The risk was too great. Now I’m older I wear the latest, brightest and fashionable clothing so that my family can easily spot me. Bright colours can also act as a deterrent to killer animals. Don’t forget to accessorise with glitter and jewellery to make you really stand out! Visibility coupled with style is key. How else will your family be able to find you as wild creatures drag you screaming into the woods by your bleeding hair follicles and…  

… alright Pepper that’s enough, we get the idea. Stop freaking us out! 

Picnic on dudes!

So dear reader, this summer, be safe, be seen, be stylish, and most importantly enjoy your picnic adventures!

 


Editor’s note: If you would like to find out more about Tammy’s family then please take a look at our excellent Tammy catalogue pages here

And Wooof, please change the site logo back to how it was!

Poem – The fisher and the sun

 

This fisher has had far too much sun.

Nowhere to sit, she stands on her raft which is a thin broken biscuit

Floating on the tea of the sea. 

The sun weighs down on her head like an iron press,

With nothing else better to do than to squeeze and burn her.

It claimed the colour from her hair long ago.

Turned her arms into dangling crisp bacon.

Turned her shoulders into bronze epaulettes of no rank or division.

Made her thin, her pot belly as hard as a pumpkin,

Her legs as stringy and black as liquorice sticks,

And skin so leathery you could line writing desks with it.

But every day she still went out – this fisher –

Waiting for her rod to twitch with fish so that she could return to her village the hero.

The sun waited with her. Patient and simmering,

As time and skin blistered, peeled, repaired, repeated, went raw again.

 

Then one morning …

Hoy! Her rod bends into an arc,

A bamboo rainbow between the raft and the sea.

The line goes TWANG and the surface ripples, froths, is ready to spew.

Quick to react she seizes the rod and bends her back,

Her bacon-y arms now taught and rippling with willing muscle,

Her shoelace legs like steel anchors fusing feet to raft.

She sucks in her belly, her abdominals are cubes of frozen tuna

Lined up on a chopping board, her sweat coming fast, wetting, glossing her,

Making her marble, a statue, a goddess, a hunter of the sea.

The sun becomes interested and pours heat on her like a furious kiln.

She ignores its spiteful baiting and struggles on with the fish.

Then her eyes bulge as the water breaks, and a shark erupts from the cold depths

Like a pale blue missile which lands on the raft with a boom that almost sinks her.

It writhes there for a moment, flipping and flopping, its teeth bared savagely,

A single black pupil throbbing in its socket that nails her to that bobbing drift of wood.

Exhausted, she watches the shark die. Her arms turn back to bacon, her legs to jelly.

Her belly pops out like a seed from a pod.

 

The sun is impressed and immediately sets about boiling her sweat…

But she’s seen too much of this cruel sun, has this fisher,

And she looks up at that moody blood orange in the sky and says:

Here, sun, see what I’ve done! A fish taken from its cold city,

And placed before the sky on a matchstick boat.

I ask you, oh mighty you, could you do this?

And the sun thinks could I? Should I?

A pensive sun. Enjoying this unexpected inquisition.

Then it blinks and has to close its eyes,

As an enormous white cloud chugs slowly by.

Time. Stilled for a while. Clouds are not to be hurried the elders say.

And when later the sky breaks and the sun looks again,

The fisher, the raft and the shark have all gone.

And the sun, deceived, vows to furiously torch all the gulls in the sky

That have the audacity to fly above the wake of the fisher

Who has long since moored her raft and summoned the children

To help drag the shark across the beach

For butchering up for the night of the feast.

The cool night that comes to put suns to sleep.

 


Words by the editor.


 

Poem: The Joker, the Snow, and the Beast from the East

To prove your undying love you said you could make it snow.
What are you now, a magician, a conjuror, clown, the Joker? Hahaha.
I detect your urge to display power rather than sentiment,
You tricky buffoon, in purple costume and spinning bow tie,
True to your word you widen your smile, cackle, and make it snow.
So glorious, in minutes, an hour, an afternoon,
The world becomes covered, the sun’s rays hardly knowing
What to do with themselves upon all that virgin whiteness.
“See what I did!” you boom fiendishly, making trees tremble and shake                                       Their shoulders free of their dusty, white epaulettes.
The mountains grumbled you’d given them headaches,                                                                 While birds tweeted symphonies of pure joy.
Tweet, tweeting: Hey, wow, did you see the orange snow in eastern Europe?
African dust storms and pollen lending peachy pink patches to the continental quilt                    Of Bulgarian ski resorts. And that woman, OMG, oranges and lemons, so beautiful                      In yellow against the tangerine of snow that framed her.
See, not everything from the east is a ‘beast’ you stupid fucking imperious                               Jingo-jangling Brexitmotorbreathcraprag and piss poor TV emission.
Hahahahaha, see the Joker tipping fish into the London Thames.
Haaaaheeheee, see the Joker down in Cambridge data mining privacy.
Weeehahhahahhaaa, see the Joker paying off his porno actress fees.
Snick, snick, snicker, see that clown making off with all the loot and family jewels.
Look! Watch him drive away in his comedy clown car, toot-toot, parp, bang,                               Falls to bits, oops, he forgot to attach snow chains to his comedy wheels.
Snow go! Snow joke! The Beast from the East strikes again! Oh FFS the pun of it all!
And, why? Why so serious?
The stuff will have melted by the time you’ve dragged your asses outta bed,
Pulled up your boots and put on your mittens.
Good thing I took pictures. Click. Click. Whirr.
Reminds me of Wilson Bentley and his magnificent slides,
How he photographed snowflakes.
He was no joker, unlike you, racing off to eastern Europe in some insane attempt                       To paint the snow there a cobalt blue.
Wilson Bentley – a Gotham City-esque name if ever, eh?                                                         Diligently cataloguing his Ice-flowers, could teach you a trick or two.
And I’m sorry to pick on you dear Joker, but you kind of deserve it…
And you will do well to hide among clowns until we’re bored of looking for you…
Or get distracted by Eastern summer tournaments and puffed-up superstars…
But like fingerprints collected at the scene of a crime, no two snowflakes are ever the same.      Whistles blow. And justice points you out as the yellow stain you are                                           Sunk deep into the snow.                                                                                                                  Hahaha, who’s laughing now?


Poem and photos by the editor.

Toy images by TVTA. Poster and adverts scanned by TVTA from own collection. Batman and Joker copyright DC.

Valentide

Valentide. Part I.

There is a distance. A gulf. Water, water, everywhere…

Uncharted seas treacherous as tyrants clinging to power,

Or familiar shipping lanes, precious days, favourable winds.

We navigate small islands, atolls, pause to watch ancient, mystical whales.

We dive and weave with playful dolphins, float on our backs and listen

To tales of mer-people and sea-monsters and pirate-fleets

As told to us by wise old turtles.

Once we saw a ghost ship – its crew a band of bleached-boned skeletons,

They blasted us with spectral cannonballs

Launched from the rotting boards of their phantom galleon.

We fled those shrieking ghosts and sailed on by,

Sometimes calling on deserted islands of pure and absolute paradise.

It is here, once, I saw your soul. Did you see mine?

Then one night a storm, unbelting itself and lashing us with its wet black leather.

Plunging us below then tossing us in the air – three, four, maybe five times…

Until we sank,

Became separated.

Our lifeboats were poor yet somehow sustained us. And what happened to our crew?

Some deserted us and jumped overboard. Some died. Some remained faithful.

Ultimately it was just you and me. Alone. Alone we drifted. On two different boats no bigger

Than matchsticks in the grand sea of things. Did you think of me as I thought of you?

Parched, sun burnt, salt in our hair and eyes like apocalyptic dust. We survived.

God. How on earth (or rather, on water) when I am such a poor sailor, and your captaincy

Is sometimes questionable?

But survive we did.

And though there was, sometimes still is, and maybe will be for much a long time

An ocean of distance to separate us,

Tides will always bring us together again.





Valentide. Part II.

On a bench somewhere, sometime, not long ago, someone wrote ‘I love you’. It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t you, but we borrowed those words and made them our own for just a moment. On dry land we shake off water and tuck in our fins. Retract our tails. Fold up our sails. Moored. Docked. We traipse the city and village and town, lost among others, surrounded by concrete and stone and things made of metal. They say we look small here. Maybe we do. But to me you will always be a giant. Je t’aime. Words borrowed from a wooden bench that looks out to the sea and back again.



Words and photos by the editor.

Adverts scanned by TVTA and Jaltesorensen.

Boatniks. 1970. Denmark; Moby Dick. Pif Gadget. 1982. France; Playmobil. 1979. Denmark; La Mauny. Geo. 1992. France; Sea-Monkeys. Fix Und Foxi. 1984. Germany; Canon Noir. Pif Gadget. 1979. France; Weird War Tales. 1975. US; Lego. 1989. Denmark.


 

Two poems

1.

Among Us

You told us once about reptiles and amphibians

The symbolism, intent, double-meanings

Their hunger

A prince’s pursed lips, a fairytale wish

You said stay away from forests, castles and New York sewers

Warned us of bacterial bites from Komodo Dragons

To not keep snakes or entertain Bearded Dragons

Are you a witch? We asked

No, you said, but was once poisoned by hand cream and oranges

Contaminated beans on toast and energy drinks

Offered by men and women in alligator skins

Who had power to turn poetry into horror in a single day

You said it made you puke when you read in the news

Of that three-headed, six-legged frog found in a school swimming pool

Would make a great pet, someone said

No, said you, it is us who will make great pets for them

See, how they will try to improve us

Stare into our dark places where we hide our shame and guilty secrets

How they devour our sad stories, our dark fairytales

How they leech on our desires

Don’t. Ever. Trust. Them. Is what you say

Beware of them hiding under stones and rocks

Lurking in the grass or under damp logs

Camouflaged in trees or submerged in bogs

And as for the forests and castles and the New York sewers…

Some fairytales are best put to bed

You told us you used to think exploding frogs

Blown-up by straws was extremely cruel

Now you tell us it’s extremely cool.


2.

A Deadly Stream

Three days and nights of relentless rain

That came in sheets as hard as nails from four directions and a granite sky

Accompanied by that lunatic Mistral which owned the streets and ripped off tiles

Toppled fences and sent wheelie bins spinning like defective Daleks

Wisely, most trees bent the knee to the staggering onslaught

Those more republican were swiftly uprooted

Came crashing down like dissident ogres and defeated giants

Coudon offered up its slopes to the charging water

That rushed from the mountain in anticipation of the sea

A delegation bearing gifts of fag ends, soft drink cans

McDonald’s packaging, palm leaves and plastic bags

An armada of debris and detritus offered to the Med.

 

It was on the news

The campus resembled a lagoon

The stream that parted it no longer visible

She went under at around four O’clock, and he jumped in to save her

Witnesses said both were gone in seconds

Forced through a culvert no bigger than the door of an industrial washing machine

Propelled through the concrete tube built beneath the main road

By town planners who believed that this was the best way to control water

When you wanted cars to travel across it

 

A year passes

Remembrances for the two dead students

The mayor erects fences along both sides of the stream that cuts through the Uni

Commissions signs written in French and English that warn:

DANGER. FLOODPLAIN. RISQUE DE NOYADE

Town planners nod sagely in warm offices

Once again believing they have the measure of water.


Words and photos by the editor

Nutella, it’s a jungle out there…

Just got back from the supermarket with our ‘three-jar-only’ rations of Nutella, both eyes intact and no bones broken. Was a good trip today. Maybe tomorrow not so lucky.

French supermarkets these days, it’s a jungle out there…

The Nutella French supermarket brawls

Pif Gadget. 1977. France.


Nutella Poem

Nutella, Nigella, your nuts have a nuance enrobed in palm oil

Rush for nuts, aisles smeared in irate blood and nuts that are crushed

Underfoot, tut, tut, zut! Leap over yellow signs that say Sol Glissant

Nuts, Nigella, cook me up your brunch of nuts Nutella

Black dress, black hair, let’s split then call 18 pour les pompiers

Nuts, palm oil nuts, Nigella, Nutella, it’s a 24 hour gastronomic countdown to

cut price markdown meltdown supermarket aisle showdown smackdown

Downtown Intermarché, Lidl, Carrefour, Aldi, Super U, Super you

You got Nutella, 3 packs, and all your limbs intact, nuts, pots and pans

Casserole, nuts Nutella, Nigella palm oil, je suis la, j’ai faim, oui, mais calmez vous!

(love never ends) We’ll always be together, together in Nutella dreams


France. Pif Gadget. 1981.

France. Pif Gadget. 1976.

Italy. Topolino. 1978.