The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'craft'
A few seasonal links for today and tomorrow:
- The mythological trainwreck that we call "Christmas", with its ill-fitting pieces of Middle Eastern and Nordic folklore, was discussed here last year. Now, some people going by the name of Cannabis Culture (read into that what you will) have another element to add to this; namely, the claim that the legend ot Santa Claus comes from Lappish shamanic rituals involving hallucinogenic mushrooms, with Santa's red and white costume having nothing to do with the Coca-Cola logo and everything to do with the colouring of the amanita muscaria mushroom, which may be found growing under fir trees.
- A Norwegian crafter named Jonas Laberg made a 10kg marzipan pig, as a present for his friends' daughters. The finished product looks horrifyingly detailed:
- The Graun's Zoe Williams has a piece on the supposed Christmas tradition of kissing under the mistletoe, which she contends is one of those things that only happens on TV (much like adults playing with cats, she writes), and does a Twitter survey, confirming this; with one heartbreakingly poignant exception:
In 1973, Helen was 16 and having a relationship with a girl at school, but they hadn't come out for a whole load of reasons, most of them to do with it being 1973. "In those days, we were like outcasts, so nobody knew, it was a great secret. A few of my friends were really homophobic. We went to this New Year's Eve party, where people were all goading each other to kiss. So we did. It was brilliant, everybody was cheering, we were pretending it was a joke. It was probably one of the best kisses I've ever had."
It didn't make it any easier to come out, though. "We never came out, we split up two years later, the pressure became too great. Most of it on her, because her family had mapped out her life for her, she had to get married. And I did what was expected of me, when I was 18. I got married as well. I had three kids."
- Christopher Hitchens may be gone, but an unpublished essay he wrote about Christmas has surfaced: Forced Merriment: The True Spirit of Christmas.
I once tried to write an article, perhaps rather straining for effect, describing the experience as too much like living for four weeks in the atmosphere of a one-party state. "Come on," I hear you say. But by how much would I be exaggerating? The same songs and music played everywhere, all the time. The same uniform slogans and exhortations, endlessly displayed and repeated. The same sentimental stress on the sheer joy of having a Dear Leader to adore. As I pressed on I began almost to persuade myself. The serried ranks of beaming schoolchildren, chanting the same uplifting mush. The cowed parents, in terror of being unmasked by their offspring for insufficient participation in the glorious events…. "Come on," yourself. How wrong am I?
One of my many reasons for not being a Christian is my objection to compulsory love. How much less appealing is the notion of obligatory generosity. To feel pressed to give a present is also to feel oneself passively exerting the equivalent unwelcome pressure upon other people... Don't pretend not to know what I am talking about. It's like the gradual degradation of another annual ritual, whereby all schoolchildren are required to give valentines to everybody in the class. Nobody's feelings are hurt, they tell me, but the entire point of sending a valentine in the first place has been deliberately destroyed. If I feel like giving you a gift I'll try and make sure that (a) it's worth remembering and (b) that it comes as a nice surprise. (I like to think that some of my valentines in the past packed a bit of a punch as well.)
- ‘Yes we know it’s Christmas’ say African musicians as they finally record a response to Band Aid:
“Just because we don’t have Boney M or Christmas advertising in September doesn’t mean we are oblivious to it,” said Gundane who went on to suggest that Africans were a lot like the Irish. “They made it through disasters like the potato blight and the invention of the Protestant church without forgetting Christmas – why did they think we would forget it?”
Gundane said he hoped that his involvement with the song would turn him into an expert on British politics and economics in the same way ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ had turned Geldof and Bono into the world’s leading experts on Africa.
- After some UK department store apparently used a godawful twee-folk version of a Smiths song in one of its Christmas ad, the inimitable Rhodri Marsden decided to one-up the horror of it with his own Christmas-themed Smiths travesty. Behold: Heaven Knows I'm Christmassy Now, to be a mainstay of Christmas mix tapes in years to come.
An American designer has created Helvetica cookie cutters:
They appear to be a once-off project, and not actually a product for sale. (Though I do wonder whether Linotype have looked at such merchandising opportunities for their increasingly popular modernist typeface. They could sell them in upmarket gift shops, next to the Pantone coffee mugs. Those with less money to spend will have to make do with Arial cookie cutters from their local Wal-Mart or Argos.)
(via Boing Boing)
Collection of unintentional humour of the day: Regretsy, a compedium of the inexplicable and inexcusable found on handcraft trading site Etsy, from badly painted Twilight-themed trainers to things made from dead animals to the surprising abundance of gynaecologically-themed articles on offer.
(via David Gerard)
(via Boing Boing Gadgets)
Jona Bechtolt of YACHT (and formerly of The Blow)'s latest venture (with partner-in-crime Claire L. Evans): making MacBook Air laptop sleeves that look like manila envelopes, like the one Steve Jobs pulled the Air out of at MacWorld. For people who also have a Banana Phone.
If one had a MacBook Air, that would look either cool or cheesy, depending on the execution. Though I'm not tempted to buy one; given that I use my Mac for music and video, I couldn't justify buying one with only one USB port and no FireWire.
Books I didn't know existed until now (an occasional series):The Laugh-Out-Loud Cats.
An interesting piece from a materials journal about the weapons and armour in the Lord of the Rings film, and how they were made. The attention to detail sounds nothing short of stupendous. (via bOING bOING)
The Internet piracy crime wave spreads; first it was the Napster kiddies swapping Britney Spears/Eminem singles, and the latest menace to our way of life is grandmothers swapping sewing patterns online:
``They're housewives, and they're hackers,'' Hedgepath said. ``I don't care if they have kids. I don't care that they are grandmothers. They're bootlegging us out of business.''