Last week Noreen brought bacon-flavored beer to the office. I can’t say it was wonderful. It tasted like beer that had some bacon strips in the bottle. She also had maple-flavored beer. I could have made that with a Sam Adams and bottle of Mrs. Butterworth syrup. Which leads me to one of my favorite idioms, Psychedelic Victorian. You take some upstanding Victorian typography and elements, and run them through an acid trip color system. It doesn’t hurt to exaggerate typographic flourishes and mustaches. The record covers suggest music such as Maple Leaf Rag sung by The Doors. But, most of it is just nice barbershop quartet and ragtime music. If you ask me, however, someone new and groovy should start singing some of those good old songs like Oh’ Susanna.
After my grandparents passed away, we cleaned up their house, fixed the heater, bought new beds and linens, and left. The plan was to visit as a family every month or so. But everyone gets busy and the months pass. My sister, Heather, moved to Hawaii. This made get-togethers even harder. We still manage to get together as a group each July 4th. It's odd to open the door and find the hermetically sealed house, virtually unchanged since my grandmother redecorated in the late 1960s. We've considered splitting up the furniture, art, and objects, but there's so much we have no idea where to start. And my grandmother's style ran toward the western Victorian genre. I've considered bringing one of the sofa sets, marble topped tables, and Victorian gas lamps home, but I think I would have an odd result. At best, the design would have the feeling of the Haunted Mansion, at worst, Liberace.
We still find odd items in the drawers. I found a huge set of 35mm slides last weekend, and a really groovy napkin thingamajig. I remember this napkin set from our ranch. It was in the guesthouse bathroom and went with the red, white, and blue Americana wallpaper. We never used them because they seemed so fancy. I look at this now, and try do determine the rationale. Someone made the decision to green light this design. I try to imagine the meeting; “I’m seeing an oddly drawn guest towel set based on the menu of a Victorian bath house. But make sure it’s wonky.” In any event, I like these along with the ancient packages of Dixie cups.
This may be hard to believe, but I don’t particularly like musicals. I’m a big Rodgers and Hammerstein fan, but that’s due to brainwashing at the ranch. I’m the type of person who fast-forwards over the singing sections of a movie. Last week, Meet Me in St. Louis was on television. I could live without the singing parts, and if I were the father and had a big promotion, I’d tell everyone to shut-up and start packing. The titles, however, had that saccharine and Technicolor “Gay Nineties” style. I love that. Flourishes and fancy frames need a revival. I’ve slipped them in here and there, but nobody particularly loves them—yet. However, there is hope. Last week’s Milner Gray post was passed around all over the web. Maybe it’s that time; the time when fancy frames, Victorian pink and yellow houses, old fire trucks, and handlebar mustaches come back into fashion.