Every Picture Tells A Story: King George Military Hospital Chapel, 1915.

Every Picture Tells A Story: King George Military Hospital Chapel, 1915.

A still, melancholy and hushed photo of a vacant military hospital chapel in 1915, prior to the outbreak of the Great War. The King George Military Hospital opened in October 1915 in London. At the height of the Great War, in October 1917, it was said to be the largest military hospital in Britain with 1900…

Ancient Eye Glasses: Fascinating Historical Artefacts

History: Ancient specs as fascinating historical artefacts

In 2012 while working as a freelance copywriter, I did a series of articles for Direct Sight in the UK about the history of eye glasses. I only just remembered this one, it was incredibly fun to research and write and you can find the original here from 2012. I hope you enjoy it, from…

You are what you do: A quirky composite portrait of tradespeople and their tools

History: You are what you do – olden times  tradespeople and their tools

Hieroglyphics, circa 1800 This delightful print entitled Hieroglyphics dates from circa 1800 and was created by the London-based publisher Samuel William Fores in the aquatint style. We can see the composite portraits of four professions: a florist, writer, musician, and barber — their features made up entirely from the tools of their trades. Such composite…

Welcome to the dizzying world of alchemy and the philosopher's stone in medieval times

History: The dizzying world of alchemy and the philosopher’s stone in medieval times

The word alchemy is derived from the Arabic root “kimia”, from the Coptic “khem” (referring to the fertile black soil of the Nile delta). The word “alchemy” alludes to the dark mystery of the primordial or First Matter (the Khem). Alchemy in medieval times was a concoction of science, philosophy and mysticism. Far from operating within…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Extinct volcanos in Auckland

A Brief History of Auckland’s 53 Volatile Volcanoes

There are approximately 53 volcanoes in Auckland, which have over thousands of years produced an array of interesting lagoons, tuft rings and lava flows in Auckland city. The biggest, most active and most visible volcano - Rangitoto sits on an island of the same name in Auckland harbour. This has erupted repeatedly over the past…

An exciting jousting event takes place outside of Linlithgow Palace each year.

Travel: A weekend trip to the medieval town of Linlithgow: History through the mists of time to today

The beautiful burgh of Linlithgow charmed the pants off me when I went there a few years ago. The town sits astride the Forth and Clyde Canal (which I’ve written on extensively) which is around half way between Edinburgh and Glasgow. There’s a train link on Scotrail which goes between cities that takes you there, and…

Tane Mahuta's Triumph

Every Picture Tells A Story: Tane Mahuta’s Triumph by Jane Crisp

In the beginning there was no sky, no sea no earth and no Gods. There was only darkness, only Te Kore, the Nothingness. From this nothingness, the primal parents of the Maori came, Papatuanuku, the Earth mother, and Ranginui, the Sky father. Papatuanuku and Ranginui came together,embracing in the darkness, and had 70 male children. These…

The Private Lives of Animals circa 1842

The Private Lives of Animals circa 1842

This collection of funny and witty animal fables was originally published in 1842 in French as Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux. The authors of these fables are a who's who of literature in the mid 19th-century including Honoré de Balzac, George Sand. Also The Private Lives of Animals boasts some fine,…

A quaint internet road map from 1996

Tech: A quaint visual voyage through the internet in 1996

Found in the David Rumsey Map Collection online, this poster entitled Ínternet Road Map from the magazine PC Computing dates from the quaint year of internet history, 1996. Back when I was a teen and when 'surfing the web' was something only geeks and introverts did, and therefore which I did with fervour using some…

The Maori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef retold in street art

The Maori legend of Pania: Kaitiaki and taniwha of the reef, retold as street art

Pania is the legendary Kaitiaki (guardian/protector) of the reef in local Maori legend and her wairua (spirit) is connected strongly to the moana (ocean) close by to the town of Napier. Legend has it that Pania was a shimmering and iridescently beautiful maiden who lives in the sea and following a human encounter and a broken…

Book Review: Cats Galore, prominent cats throughout history

Book Review: Cats Galore, prominent cats throughout history

Spurred on by my recent missive about internet culture and the cult of cuteness, I moved very quickly down the rabbit hole into the depths of cat worship on the internet. Cats Galore is an art book with a difference. It’s what happens when internet culture gets mashed up and combined with the prominent art…

An exploration of the aesthetics of cuteness

The answer to why dogs and tiny horses can be used in therapy for PTSD and why cats rule the internet lays squarely in the pulling power of cuteness. But why do we find things cute and what are the commonly shared criteria for cuteness all over the world? According to psychologist Dr. Sandra Pimentel,…

Amazing Human-Crustacean Architectural Collaborations

Amazing Human-Crustacean Architectural Collaborations

If you thought that the Auckland or NYC property market was hot right now, spare a thought for the tiny and unpredictable housing market of the hermit crab. They have a complex and sometimes cooperative and sometimes aggressive strategies for occupying shells aka homes for their fragile little bodies. Some of these strategies involve hostile…

Verner Panton: The Daring Spirit of 60's Design https://wp.me/p41CQf-JFr

Verner Panton: The Daring Spirit of 60’s Design

Verner Panton (1926-1998) is remembered for his bold, daring furniture design and aesthetic which embodied the fun and turbulent times of the 60's and 70's. His most famous pieces are the S chair, which became the world´s first one-piece moulded plastic chair, the cone chair and the flowerpot lamps. Born in 1926 Panton initially began his…

Poetry and music from the film 'Wings of Desire' (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

The top 13 intense and powerful films that will linger with you forever

    The Wings of Desire (1987)   (Der Himmel über Berlin, 1987)  Is a Wim Wenders cult film that follows invisible, immortal angels who populate Berlin and listen to the thoughts of the human inhabitants and comfort those who are in distress. Immensely moving it delves into the human condition and all of the pain, memory…

Auckland's Underground Vogue Scene

Auckland’s Underground Vogue Scene

For a growing community of young LGBTQ Maori and Pacific Islanders in Auckland, the burgeoning Vogue scene is a place of creative expression. It's a sanctuary that naturally intersects with Maori and Pacific traditions of performance art and dance. Vice met with some of the breakout stars of the Vogue dance scene and found out…

The Pont Neuf in 1763, by Nicolas-Jean-Baptiste Raguenet

Mylène Pardoen: The Soundscape of 17th Century France

Instead of restoring pottery shards and paintings(as the mudlarks of the Thames do), historians and archaeologists are increasingly turning towards technology and its immersive VR possibilities when explaining and educating people about the past. A new mode for immersive learning about the past is through sound. French musicologist Mylène Pardoen has set about bringing to…

Thibaut Kinder's exhumed photographs from abandoned SD cards

Thibaut Kinder’s exhumed photographs from abandoned SD cards

What happened to reels of photos from old Kodak cameras of the 80's and 90's? They very well may end up in an Internet K-Hole, I've written about that strange website before. It's a repository of old photos from people's personal and public collections that squashed together and left to coexist in a creepy digital…

Book Review: 'Les Diners de Gala' Salvadore Dali's delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Book Review: ‘Les Diners de Gala’ Salvadore Dali’s delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Salvador Dalí isn't generally remembered for his culinary prowess. Although he was a secret admirer of gastronomy for all of its transformative and monstrous properties. In his rare and 1973 cookbook Les Diners de Gala, just reissued by Taschen. the late iconic artist celebrates dream-like and surreal flavour combinations. Chapter titles include Prime Lilliputian malaises’ (meat)…

Knitting with Dog’s Wool (1966)

Instead of allowing your pesky pooch to malt all over your sofa, put your pet to work in a novel way. The most luxuriant of dog breeds can be put to practical use as producers of dog wool for your next knitting expedition. Some of the best breeds for yarn include the Collie, Old English…