Wednesday, February 29, 2012

John's Phone

You appreciate clean, simple design. That's part of why this little Dutch piece really knocked you on your bottom. Designed by John Doe Amsterdam, the John's Phone is the simplest mobile phone around. It makes and receives calls anywhere in the world. That's it. Aside from a speed dial feature, which allows a number for every key, there's no digital address book. If people's phone numbers are important, the back of the phone contains a paper address book and a pen. The top of the phone displays inbound and outbound calls. It's basically an unlocked GSM phone, usable with prepaid and contract SIM cards anywhere there's a GSM network. It's $100.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go"

Seldom does a book convey existential melancholy as well as Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel, Never Let Me Go.  It may be because stories about loss, in particular the loss of hope, are rarely told so plainly and without melodrama.  At its core, Never Let Me Go is about human decency, particularly as it survives in the face of swiftly moving time and weighty, ever-present duty.  The memories recounted by the narrator, Kathy H., are imbued with what is best described by the Portuguese word, saudade, in essence, a nostalgic longing for something that does not and cannot exist.  Ishiguro captures the idea beautifully through characters who are compelled by their unique world to accept their own mortality.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Taylor Knox on "The Green Angel"

T.K. doing his thing on a special Campbell Brothers Bonzer 5.

On Seeing "The Artist"

A few weeks back, you went to see The Artist.  It was a Monday evening, and you were alone, as you often are.  On that night, however, solitude followed you into the theater, and it was in her company that you eschewed the pre-show calls to silence cell phones with an ungentlemanly gesture at the screen.

You also said, in full voice, because you could, “It doesn’t matter!  I’m the only one in the theater!” 

But you turned your phone off anyway.

What you were expecting when the lights dimmed is still not exactly clear, but the cinematic experience that unfolded over the next 100 minutes was unprecedented.  Two realizations in particular remain with you. 

The first is that despite being a lifelong fan of silent films, you had never seen one on the big screen until that night.  The same was probably the case with most modern audiences who screened the picture; their exposure to Hollywood’s silent era likely came from watching on a television.  The scale made all the difference.  Nuance and subtlety were enhanced and the smallest moments were that much more powerful.  In a room equipped to deliver multi-dimensional sound, the images took center stage.

In the absence of other audience members, themselves a chorus of crunching, slurping, and other fidgeting, the only sound (other than your sobs) was the musical score of the film.  You might have forgotten that you were in a Cineplex had you not been reminded by the faint booms from the adjacent theaters.  You were, after all, in a temple of Bruckheimer and Bay.  While neighboring explosions rattled the chests and squeezed the heads of fellow moviegoers, the concrete walls did their best to rebuff any impingement on your cocoon of silence.  For that 100 minutes, you existed somewhere in the awkward intersection of art, entertainment, and history.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

At Duckie Brown F/W 2012

With their most recent presentation, Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, the duo behind Duckie Brown, offered the usual tour of the next level on which they’re operating. It was a collection full of juxtapositions—in silhouettes, proportions, patterns and textures. Buffalo check, wide-pleated trousers billowed beneath trim-fitting tailored jackets in Fair Isle and tweed herringbone. While the palette was primarily somber blacks and grays, including a fair amount of dark barathea, there were splashes of orange and purple in the form of an “exploded” plaid overcoat and oversized trousers. Designer Steven Cox calls the look “hiking-evening,” which makes perfect sense in the Duckie landscape.