You're not in Kansas anymore…

Archive for February, 2011

Ahoy, matey!

For years they’ve roamed the seven seas bringing terror into the hearts of honest sailors. I speak of course of the infamous pirate. Ever since the ship was invented, pirates have attacked and pillaged, raped and murdered on any ship they’ve come across.

A famous historical pirate is Captain Blackbeard, real name Edward Teach (ca. 1680-1718), who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies during the early 18th century. A shrewd and calculating leader, Teach used his fearsome image instead of force to elicit the response he desired from those he robbed. Contrary to the modern-day image of the traditional tyrannical pirate, he commanded his vessels with the permission of their crews, and there are no known accounts of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held captive. He was romanticised after his death, and became the inspiration for a number of pirate-themed works of fiction across a range of genres.


There were a few cases of women becoming pirates as well. One such woman was Anne Bonny (1702-1782), who operated in the Caribbean Sea. Due to her parents’ complicated marriages, Anne, an illegitimate child, was raised as a boy. When she was discovered to actually be a girl, her parents came clean with their affair and was shunned by the community. The result was a move to America. Here Anne grew up to marry a small-time pirate by the name of James Bonny. Through him she met John “Calico Jack” Rackham, captain of the pirate sloop Revenge, and she became his mistress. Thus she was set for a life of piracy. Escaping her husband, she and Rackham gathered a crew (including another female pirate, Mary Read) and lived the pirate-life until overtaken by one of the King’s ships and brought in chains to Jamaica. Here they were sentenced to death by hanging, but Anne “pleaded her belly” and was given a temporary stay of execution. There are no certain sources stating what happened since, but the most likely alternative seems to be that her father managed to secure her release and that she returned to America.

There are of course pirates today as well, but they’re more of the poverty-stricken, machine gun-sporting, no-nonsense types who do not have any regard for the romanticized image we strive to uphold in the Western part of the world.

To be a pirate (the cool type) you need a proper pirates outfit:

Notice especially the boots, the jacket and the hat.

And of course you will be needing a fancy flag. Here are some suggestions:

Pirates have always been an inspiration for stories, and perhaps the most (in)famous fictional pirates are Captain Hook from J. M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.

And Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island.

But to us here at Vili Flik there can really only be one pirate: Captain Jack Sparrow, the greatest dandy to ever rum the seven seas (see what I did there?)

If you like the idea of being a pirate then you should know that the international Talk Like A Pirate-day is on September 19th every year. Go shiver their timbers!

Love, Elin


ROOM

Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, the two, then one, then zero. “Was I minus numbers?”

“Hmm?” Ma does a big stretch.

“Up in Heaven. Was I minus one, minus two, minus three – ?”

“Nah, the numbers didn’t start until you zoomed down.”

“Through Skylight. You were all sad till I happened in your tummy.”

“You said it.” Ma leans out of Bed to switch on Lamp, he makes everything light up whoosh. […] I look down at Rug with her red and brown and black all zigging around each other. There’s the stain I spilled by mistake getting born. “You cutted the cord and I was free,” I tell Ma. “Then I turned into a boy.”

“Actually, you were a boy already.” She gets out of Bed and goes to Thermostat to hot the air.

I don’t think he came last night after nine, the air’s always different if he came. I don’t ask because she doesn’t like saying about him.

Jack is five years old and lives in Room with his Ma. Jack has never been outside Room and believes that it is the entire world. He knows that his friends in TV are not really real, not in the same way as him and Ma. At night, after Jack has gone to sleep in Wardrobe, Old Nick comes and sleeps in Bed with Ma, but he always leaves before morning. This is how it is and has always been.

But now there has been a change. Old Nick has lost his job and Ma knows that they need to escape before he loses his house. She concocts a desperate plan, and suddenly Jack is forced to face the fact that there is a world outside of Room, and that he has to enter it alone in order to save himself and his mother.

ROOM (2010) is a wonderful novel by the Irish writer Emma Donoghue. It’s portrayal of Jack and Ma’s life in captivity, and how they try to keep a sense of normality, is very interesting and touching. The psychological problems the two main characters face also seem very realistic. The novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for best Canadian novel. It has also been a finalist for International Author of the Year (Galaxy National Book Awards) and the Governor General’s Award.

I really recommend that you pick up a copy of ROOM. It is sweet, disturbing, heartbreaking and funny, absolutely a novel worthy of being read.

Love, Elin.


Umberto D.

I’ve recently been made aware of the wonderful Italian director Vittorio De Sica (1901-74) and I am currently in the process of watching as many of his films as I can get my hands on.

The Man himself

I started out with Ladri di Biciclette (1948), which I truly enjoyed and recommend to everyone, but De Sica had me spellbound with the brilliant and moving Umberto D (1952).

The story revolves around elderly pensioner Umberto Domenico Ferrari (wonderfully portrayed by Carlo Battisti) a poor, lonely man who rents a room from a less than charming landlady. His friends consist mainly of servant girl Maria and his dog, Flike. His financial situation is difficult and he is too proud to beg and unable to get a loan from former colleagues. After a stay in the hospital, he comes home to find his beloved dog gone and his room occupied. He goes on a search for Flike while simultaniously trying to figure out his options in life.

The film is beautifully shot and brilliantly directed and acted. The story and characters are very moving: I dare anyone not to fall in love with Umberto and Flike. I strongly recommend this film – although do not expect a light-hearted comedy! This film will toy with your emotions in an unignorable way. Still, it is worth it. As are the rest of De Sica’s films, at least the ones I’ve seen so far. Hope you enjoy it, even if it’s quite different from what we normally recommend to you. Just trust me on this.

Love, Mari


Audrey Hepburn

I believe in manicures, I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles. – Audrey Hepburn wisdom –

I was shocked and appalled the other day to realize that we have yet to have Audrey Hepburn as our Hottie here at Vili Flik. True, we have professed her greatness several times in other posts, but now she deserves her very own Hottie post.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-93) was a Belgian born actress, dancer and model. Her breakthrough came in 1953 in the fantastic movie Roman Holiday, for which she got an Academy Award, and she also starred in Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Funny Face and My Fair Lady.

She was insanely beautiful and a great dresser. in 1961 she was included on The International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame, where you can also find people like Coco Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Evangeline Blahnik, Bianca Jagger, Nicole Kidman, Estee Lauder and the list goes on and on. Someday we all want to be there as well.

Fun fact: The Audrey, being awesomely awesome, was actually not perfect. She couldn’t sing. So, except for a very few places in My Fair Lady, she is not the one who’s singing.

And ah, the wonderful polka dotty dress from Sabrina

From the 1950s and till her death she worked for UNICEF, and spent a lot of her time in the most disadvantaged parts of Africa, Asia and South America. Oh yeah, she was great.

Pink, short and extremely simple wedding dress – and she pulls it off!

The Audrey in plaid

When starring in Sabrina, Audrey met Hubert de Givenchy for the first time, and later on she was often his muse. Muse for Givenchy. That’s nice.

Quite fabulous, isn’t she?

Love, Hanna


Bow Ties

Good Wednesday, dear readers, and welcome to a new Wednesday Vintage. Today is all about the wonderful accessorie loved by nerds and hipsters alike: the bow tie!

For the history of the bow tie, let me quote shamelessly from Wikipedia: “The bow tie originated among Croatian mercenaries during the Prussian wars of the 17th century: the Croat mercenaries used a scarf around the neck to hold together the opening of their shirts. This was soon adopted (under the name cravat, derived from theFrench for “Croat”) by the upper classes in France, then a leader in fashion, and flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries.” As we see, the great tie has a long, proud history. And they come in all sorts of patterns and colours!

Stripes and a Vili Flik favourite: polkadots!

Patriotic

Shiny party bows!

And, you knew it was coming: Tartan! Wheee!

In addition, some great people have worn a bow tie in their time:

The magnificent Oscar Wilde, sporting a rather large bow tie

Winston Churchill with polkadots (great dress sense, that man)

The lovely Stephen Fry, also with polkadots.

And, of course, the Mad Hatter.

Despite this being an accessorie typically associated with men, women can also pull this off, none better than Marlene Dietrich:

Bring the bow tie back, I say! However, I think the eleventh Doctor said it best:

“Bow ties are cool!”

Love, Mari


Ralph Lauren

Last week I promised you all a superfabulous designer for today, and so, Ladies and Gentlemen; I give you Ralph Lauren.

I have to admit that for a long time I was kind of prejudiced towards Mr. Lauren. My opinion of him and his design was that it was an arch-American kind of countryish style to which I was very skeptical. But I’m not afraid to admit my ignorance, cause boy, was I wrong! Check it out:

Here’s something cool and encouraging for us wannabe’s out and about: Ralph Lauren did not study fashion. His career started when he opened a necktie store, where he could sell his own design as well. And as we all know, the road from sweet little necktie store to fashion empire is quite short (although perhaps just a little steep).

Okay, there is something classical American about the Ralph Lauren style, but I like it. It’s romantic tradition mixed with new ideas, and he mixes the masculine and the feminine in quite a brilliant way. But that’s enough words – more pictures!

And just because this dress is so awesome, and since Mari in particular loves plaid,

Love, Hanna


Dave McKean

Another week is upon us and what better way to begin it than with the wonderful magical work of Dave McKean?

David McKean (1963) is an English illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer and musician. His works include the cover of the Sandman-series, the graphic novel Cages and the animated film MirrorMask. He was also a conceptual artist on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). This man is awesome!

McKean has won several awards and accolades for his work, including a World Fantasy Award, an Alph-Art, a Harvey Awards and a BSFA Award. Yes, this man is truly a genious.

You can find all of his work here: http://www.mckean-art.co.uk/

Enjoy some more pictures:

Love, Elin