A cruise, improved

typed for your pleasure on 17 August 2014, at 7.52 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Island of birds’ by Sven Libaek

As periodic readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ are already aware, there’s not a single thing that I like about the annual Woodward Dream cruise. I’ve mentioned why before, so I’ll not go on about it again if you’re a new visitor; you are welcome. One of the main issues that I have with it, apart from the fact that the event hampers the mobility of local non-participants, or the lack of logic of taking part in such an event when regular petrol is hovering just under $4 a gallon, is that the cars are large, ungainly, and mostly unsightly. Sorry, klassic kruisers, your cars are simply too goddamned big. The only exception to that aesthetic choice would be the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, as it is so comically overproportioned it’s awesome. And classic hearses; you can’t go wrong with those, either.

In making my way down Woodward earlier last week on the way home, I’d seen the safety orange advisory signs bolted to normal traffic signs, reminding people that the week-end of the 16th would be taken over by the Nightmare cruise. What if, I thought to myself, what if all those giant landboats were replaced with smart little classic foreign autos instead? Well, for one, I’d be out on the sidewalk every year, taking footage of the endless stream of European and Japanese cars. Cars such as

the Alpine A110

the Citroën 2CV

the BMW Isetta

the Jaguar E-type

the Toyota Sports 800

the Messerschmitt KR200

the Studebaker Avanti (yes, I’m well aware this is an American vehicle, but it gets a pass)

and the Subaru 360, amongst others. And although I’d fully expect to see both the modern and classic versions of the Fiat 500, the MINI, and the Volkswagen Beetle is that those selections are pretty much a given.
And since ‘classic’ is a loose descriptor, I’d get some automobiles from the glorious Eighties in there as well.

the Citroën Karin Concept, from 1980

the Renault Fuego (I have a soft spot for these, as it was the third car my parents ever had)

the Toyota TAC3 Concept, which looks an awful lot like the Livecougar, the jeep from Chojuu sentai Liveman

and you can’t properly represent the Eighties without some DeLoreans in there. And I’ve noticed that two of the four cars I’d just listed never made it into production. Huh.

This new, more Continental/Japanese-flavoured Cruise would also have allowances for relatively modern cars with retro styling, such as the Nissan Pao, the Nissan Figaro, or the Mazda Autozam AZ-1. In a lot of ways, modern cars with classic appearances combine the best of both worlds: they don’t have the generically bland ‘style’ of contemporary vehicles, but they possess features that older cars didn’t have, such as power steering and air conditioning.

Micro- to mid-sized cars are fantastic! They take up very little space, and more importantly, they don’t scream to the world that you’re making up for some other, more personal, shortcomings! And really, I’m not what you would describe as a ‘car guy’. Meaning, I don’t give a toss about torque, or horsepower, or technical details such as that. I like the cars that I like due almost strictly to their aesthetics.
There’s a whole bunch of cars I’d not mentioned, as I didn’t want this post to be as long as the cruise it would describe. But would you have a make and/or model of car you’d like to see in the improved Dream cruise? Why not mention it in the comments below?

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

A grand idea / 'Oh toh toh toh' / It's on the 11th on December 11th, 2005

Looking backwards is looking forwards on February 23rd, 2013

This was the Future, Vol.44

typed for your pleasure on 29 September 2010, at 12.07 am

Sdtrk: ‘Milling around the village’ by Broadcast

Sweet Dagon, the last one of these I wrote was in April?? *exhales* Wow. Good job I don’t charge admittance to read this blog, right? Yeah. Whooo.

Anyway! This house, like all good dwellings, has a name; they call it Moonacres. Which sounds really Crowleyan, if you stop to think about it. Adding to its pre-20th century Modern pedigree would be the fact that it’s located on the Beaulieu Estate, in Hamster Hampshire, England. According to its listing on The Modern House Agents (yes, I’m harvesting from them again), ‘The Estate is an area of approximately 7,000 acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside, including the Beaulieu River, that is owned by Lord Montagu. The Estate has been in existence since the 13th century and has been carefully protected to avoid over-development’. Mm hmm.

The house itself, designed in the Sixties by architect John Strubbe, boasts two floors, five bedrooms, an office, a study, a reception room, and a double garage. There’s a deck area over the garage as well, so you and your significant other / mistress / what-have-you can lounge about, drinking Bradfords and staring off into the middle distance.

The only issue I have with this place is rather like the one that fellow bloggist veach of s n a p p e r h e a d had with the domicile I’d written about in the previous instalment of this series — Moonacres’ interior is kinda incongruous with its exterior. It’s been maintained, so it’s not as if it’s falling into disrepair or anything; it’s just too modern. Like a now modern, not a Sixties modern. I love IKEA and all they do for humanity, but its distinctive aesthetic simply doesn’t belong in a home from roughly fifty years hence. Although I gotta say — the white, black, and Factory grey with blood-red colour scheme they’ve got going definitely speaks to me.

You’ll be delighted to know that Moonacres is still on the market for a cool £1,750,000, so start rooting through your couch cushions

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.29 on September 17th, 2006

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This was the Future, Vol.43

typed for your pleasure on 18 April 2010, at 7.36 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Electric seance’ by Pram

Next time you happen to find yourself southwest of central London, Engerland, why not make a detour and visit the town of Frimley? I was going to say ‘make a brief detour’, but after spotting this beauty, it’s odds on that you’ll be there for a while.

Designed in 1966, the house contains three bedrooms, a reception room, a kitchen / breakfast room, a courtyard, and a single garage. But there’s only one bathroom for all three floors?? That’s probably going to cause more problems (read: fistfights) than it’ll solve.

What I particularly like about the property is that the exterior resembles some sort of futuristic Modish castle; that’s undoubtedly due to the half-circle windows and the cylindrical whatever-the-hell-that-is on the front of the building. When you think about it, it kinda fits, though; after all, what do they say a man’s home is?

It’s ace in and of itself that a house like this exists, but even more fantastic is that there’s actually a group of houses that all look like that — thirty-two, in fact, all in the same neighbourhood. And as I’d found this place as a listing on The Modern House Estate Agents, you’ll be interested to know that it’s currently under offer, so although it may be bought or rented out soon, on the other hand, it may not. And does that offer apply to all thirty-two of the buildings? Cos that’d be a hell of a deal

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.14 on July 21st, 2005

This was the Future, Vol.06 on February 25th, 2005

This was the Future, Vol.17: supplemental

typed for your pleasure on 12 December 2009, at 6.38 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Modern cinema’ by The Summer Hits

Here’s a neat little follow-up: Vol.17 of this series spoke about the glass-and-concrete space phallus known as the Post Office Tower — which is nowadays called the BT Tower, after its current owners, British Telecom — located in London’s West End. As previously mentioned, one of its selling points was a restaurant at the top of the tower, bizarrely named topofthetower. It operated to great amounts of success until 1971, when it was closed to the public after an IRA-made bomb exploded in the mens’ toilets.

100 Cool Points to anyone who can correctly guess where this still is from.
Hint: you’d have to be a Dodo to not know where it’s from, really

However! According to Retro To Go, BT plan to refit and reopen the tower’s restaurant to the public; their plan is to have it completed by December 2011, so that it can be ready and running in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Nice! Although it’s more than likely not going to have similar fab 20th century Modern decor as it did thirty years ago, it’s good to see that one of London’s landmarks will get a new lease on life…

Incidentally, topofthetower was part of the Butlins conglomerate. Mr Butlins is known as the man behind the Butlins Holiday Camps, which were bargain-priced, chalet-based resorts located in various areas around England and Ireland, that provided entertainment and other recreational activities for holidaymakers. The site Butlins Memories has a fab page that has scans of the original topofthetower menu from the Sixties. Take careful notes BT, as that’s what you have to live up to

EDIT (01 JAN 2014): Why not check out the ‘Eating High’ segment of the Sixties-era ‘Look at Life’ film series? Finally, a video that hasn’t been yanked by YouTube! I say that now, of course…

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This was the Future, Vol.42

typed for your pleasure on 1 December 2009, at 12.29 am

Sdtrk: ‘Oh Odessa’ by Cluster

If you keep an eye on the cultural zeitgeists that come and go with each passing decade, you’ll soon come to the realisation that each decade doesn’t necessarily shift gears when the new one starts up. For instance, the Fifties didn’t really end until about 1963, and the Sixties finally lay down and died round 1974. During those transient years, you get some interesting stylistic collisions, much like Frith Hill, a fantastic house in Godalming, Surrey.

It was designed in the early Seventies, but it still has a very Sixtiesy look to it. Sure, it’s late Sixties, but it still counts. It’s the sort of house that would’ve fitted nicely into Kubrick’s ‘2001: a space odyssey’, had there been more scenes not actually taking place in space.

A spiral staircase, one of those crazy Swiss chalet-type fireplaces, wood panelling as far as the eye can see, four (count ’em) bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and two balconies? And the colour scheme is restrained but Mod, as well! This house is impressive. I’m impressed!
Although it’s been recently sold, you can still drool over its listing on The Modern House Estate Agents, as that’s the sort of thing they traffic in. Impressed!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

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mein letzter Freitag / Another Space-age Bachelor Pad on January 20th, 2005

This was the Future, Vol.41

typed for your pleasure on 5 October 2009, at 7.05 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Si vous connaissez quelque chose de pire qu’un vampire, parlez m’en toujours, ça pourra peut-être me faire sourire’ by Stella

Although it’s painfully obvious that I loves me some 20th Century Modern design, I do have to go on record here as saying that most of the Seventies was rubbish, as it was as if the worst parts of the Sixties were magnified. Disco, for example. Southern rock. Unnecessary pornstar sideburns and impossibly wide Starscream lapels. Avocado and goldenrod as legitimate colour choices. The list of atrocities goes on. Thankfully, though, the decade wasn’t a complete stylistic cesspit; personally, I’ve always believed that a decade’s overall zeitgeist never starts immediately upon the first year — the Sixties didn’t really end until about 1973, for instance. Plus, the Seventies thankfully brought us Punk and dystopian scifi films, so it wasn’t a complete loss. Overall, stylistically speaking, I’m more ‘Ashes to ashes‘ than I am ‘Life on Mars‘.
Where am I going with this, you may be asking in an annoyed tone? Well, 1971 managed to spawn another lost architectural gem — the Venturo prefab house, designed by Matti Suuronen.

The walls were double-skinned fibreglass with 2″ of polyurethane foam, and the floors were an insulated composite beam of marine grade plywood. The whole thing weighed just four tons and sat on 16 small piers. One module contained the bathroom, kitchen and sauna; the other shipped with the filler pieces.

Much like Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House, the entire assemblage was built for easy on-site construction and breaking-down, should the owner wish to relocate, and much like “Bulle“ à 6 coques, the Venturo units were made for a variety of swinging Seventies recreational uses, such as a holiday home, a bungalow, a ski lodge, etc. Unfortunately, much like the Dymaxion House and the “Bulle“ à 6 coques, the idea just didn’t take off amongst the general public. Although, oddly enough, quite a few of the finished units were utilised in Finland as service stations for BP; one still stands, in desperate need of renovation.

Matti Suuronen was also the architectural mind behind another mod prefab structure, the Futuro House, which fellow iDollator Everard had once suggested I write about. Perhaps I shall! Perhaps I shall.

From the comments section on the site the article comes from:

Krissie says: I WANT ONE! But, I only have one question: Where is the bedroom?
dru says: Where ISN’T the bedroom?

This, then, is Seventies

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.42 on December 1st, 2009

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This was the Future, Vol.40

typed for your pleasure on 17 September 2009, at 3.07 am

Sdtrk: ‘Fire, damp & air’ by the Advisory Circle

You can call me a madman, or you can accuse me of stretching my love of Space-age Modular Living to its extremes, or even both, but I’d really love to stay a couple of nights in one of Japan’s legendary capsule hotels. That’s right.

The capsule hotel, if you’re not familiar with it, is a uniquely Japanese phenomenon. Definitely not for the claustrophobic, they’re hotel rooms condensed to their essential components: a three by three by six-and-a-half foot chamber that contains a television, alarm clock, radio, vents for air conditioning, a couple of small directional lights, and a tiny shelf. The ‘rooms’ themselves are stacked in rows of two, with pull-down privacy screens at the entrance of each. When you make your stay, you deposit your luggage at the check-in area, and the clerk gives you a locker key and a capsule number. As the primary function of the capsule hotel is for salarymen who are too fantastically drunk to make it home, at the communal shower/lavatory located on each floor, you can find disposable razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, and toiletries of that nature. As it’s Japan, you can also get various drinks and snacks from the numerous vending machines each building has, and as you’d suspect, most of the capsule hotels have wifi as well.

Television in the upper left corner; photo taken from here

Some capsule hotels feature up to 600 units — goshou & Liann were going to stay at one when they hit Japan a couple of years ago, and learned that they have separate floors for men and women — and they’re usually open 24 hours. Per night, the average price of a room runs about ¥2000 – 4000, or $21 – 42 USD. Convenient and affordable? I’ll say!

Interestingly enough, the first capsule hotel was designed in 1979 by Kisho Kurosawa, who also designed the Nakagin Capsule Tower, a building which just happens to be the subject of the very first instalment of ‘This was the Future’, back when it wasn’t even called ‘This was the Future’. See how that wraps around?

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

This was the Future, Vol.39 on August 1st, 2009

This was the Future, Vol.18 on November 10th, 2005

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