Imagine a ruin so strange it must never have happened.
Welcome to Flik of the Week! This week’s Flik is the novel The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, published in 1998. It has won a bunch of awards, and is on the Top 30 Books to Read Before You Die list, made up by British librarians. I don’t know about that – but it is definetly a book worth reading.
The novel is about the Price family, who move from Georgia to a tiny village in Congo in 1959, because the father, Nathan, wants them to be missionaries. The story is told by the five women who travel with him; his wife Orleanna, and daughters Rachel, Leah, Adah and Ruth May. Orleanna narrates the introductory chapter in almost all of the novel’s section, and then the rest of the chapters alternate between having the daughters as narrator – with the outspoken Leah slightly more represented than the others. I loved this narrative approach, because the girls are very different from each other, and of different age, and how they all adapt to life in Congo is very different from each other.
Since we see the life in Congo through different, and constantly growing, characters, our view changes. First, life in the jungle and the Congolese villagers seem to be childlike savages, but, as the Price girls mature, the villagers become human beings like themselves – members of a complex and rich culture. Nathan Price’s lack of responsiveness to this culture, and his constant attempts to turn the Congolese into Americans wears out his family’s welcome in the village, but yet he refuses to leave. As the political turmoils in Congo starts in the 1960’s it becomes increasingly dangerous for his family to be there – but he does not care. It is only after a series of misfortunes, suffering, and near starvation, that the women decide to escape without him. The daughters and their mother all take very different paths in their future, which is described up until the 1990’s – but in all their lives it is obvious how Congo has, and continues to influence them.
In addition to an amazing story, Kingsolver teaches us about modern Congolese history, and manages to show us a bit about why Congo still struggles today. Run and read!
This week’s Friday Feast is a tribute to one of my favourite chocolates: Non Stop!
These circular sweets are made by Freia, a Norwegian chocolate company, and are made from dark chocolate with two thin layers of white and coloured chocolate. These goodies come in six bright colours: red, orange, yellow, brown, green and black. The different colours have different tastes: red tastes of raspberries, orange tastes of, well, oranges, yellow tastes of lemon, green tastes of apple and pineapple and the brown and black tastes of vanilla.
Mind you, these flavours are only vague; the main taste is the delicious dark chocolate at the center.
Non Stop makes good cake decoration and is yummie with ice cream. I recommend that you all go and buy some for the weekend.
It’s Thursday and once again time for Hottie of the Week here at Vili Flik. Today’s hottie is the remarkable artist, actor and comedian Noel Fielding, also known as his alter ego Vince Noir from the Mighty Boosh. The Mighty Boosh is a comedy duo consisting of Noel and Julian Barratt, aka Howard Moon. Vince and Howard live in a strange world with their shaman Naboo the Enigma (played by Noel’s brother Michael), his talking gorilla Bollo (Dave Brown) and occasionally Bob Fossil (Rich Fulcher). They’ve done one radio show in six episodes, three TV-series each with six episodes and numerous live shows. It is almost impossible to explain what the show is about, so I won’t even attempt it. Suffice to say: get hold of a copy of something they’ve done and bask in the glory of their brilliant surrealism.
But we are not here to talk about the Mighty Boosh. We are here to talk about Noel Fielding. The reason he has become this week’s hottie is simple: he is sexy, creative, funny, original, charming and has his own unique and sensational style. Behold the evidence:
Still not sure? Check out his stuff on youtube; either his solo-stuff, his work with the Mighty Boosh, interviews or his glorious appearances on the pop quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks. I dare you not to fall in love with him and his surreal comedic stylings!
This week’s Wednesday Vintage is all about corsets. This breathtaking garment has captivated women for hundreds of years, with its beauty and slimming functions.
Some ascribe the corset to Catherine de’Medici, the wife of King Henry II of France. She allegedly banned fat waists from court, leaving women no choice but to hold their breath and lace up. The corset stayed in fashion for nearly 350 years.
The function of the corset is of course to shape the body. The most famous shape is the wasp-shape that was fashionable during the 19th century. Corsets were usually made of linen with whalebone to keep the shape and with lacing in the back.
There are different kinds of corsets. And overbust corset encloses the torso, extending from just under the arms to the hips. An underbust corset begins under the breasts and extends down to the hips. Some corsets actually extend over the hips and in very rare cases reaches the knees (I don’t know how one would walk in one of those though). A waist cincher is a corset that only covers the waist area.
Today corsets are mostly used for dress up or fetish stuff, and by certain subcultures, but you can find them in all kinds of coulours and patterns.
I feel obliged to note that corsets can be bad for you if you lace them too tight, but with a little bit of common sense there is no reason why this fabulous garment should not come back in style.
And corsets are not just for women. Yes, men can, and did, wear them too.
Hello my glorious Vili Flik readers, and welcome to the age of Ford. Tom Ford.
Tom Ford is an American fashion designer who in 1990 made the lifechanging decision of moving to Milano. There he started working as a designer for Gucci, and quickly worked his way up – already in 1994 he was the Creative Director for the brand. After Mr. Ford took over Gucci went from making 230 million dollars a year to 3 billion dollars a year – in less than a 10 year period. Needless to say, Tom Ford is brilliant – and is welcome to fix my personal economy anytime.
In the year 2000 (or year 10 in the age of Ford if you wish,) Tom Ford also became Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent.
And in 2005 he launched his own brand: Tom Ford. Sadly, so far, this is a brand for menswear only. Although we do hope that will change!
Since launching his own brand obviously isn’t challenging enough for a genius like Mr. Ford, 2005 was also the year when he opened his own film production company: Fade to Black. Through this company he co-wrote, directed and produced the movie A Single Man, which premiered in 2009, starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode.
Run and rent it, people!
But, we are not done yet. Or, at least, Tom Ford isn’t. This year, during New York Fashion Week, Mr. Ford brought exclusivity back. By hosting his fashion show with only 100 specially invited guests, and only his own photographers, making sure that no other will see the coming collection before it comes to the store. I both love and hate the idea. On the on side – it is brilliant, but on the other – I want to see the clothes! And sadly, none of us Vili Flik’ers were among the 100 invited guests. But we do look forward to see what Mr. Ford has come up with. And while waiting we can look at stuff he has already done gloriously well.
For Yves Saint Laurent
As you may have noticed, we here at Vili Flik like hats. In fact we adore them. So ones again hats shall be the topic of a post, more specifically: the crazy hats of Stephen Jones.
The 53 year old designer had a difficult start to his career. He went to a fashion school in London, but failed to find work as a dress maker and had to support himself as a truck driver. But he still made hats for his friends at the hot nightclub Blitz, and slowly people begun to notice him. These hats are, after all, hard not to notice.
Today he is noted for his whimsical and crazy ideas. Jones is a real life Mad Hatter and his creations are used by designers like Marc Jacobs, John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Jones’ hats are currently on exhibition in the ModeMuseum (or MoMu) in Antwerp, and us Vili Flikers would all have loved to go see them, if only we were’nt so desperatly poor full time-students.
For your enjoyment, here are some more of his wonderful hats:
You can see more of Stephen Jones’ work here.