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Category Archives: Interiors

Back in the late 1960s I had some relations whose home was far more like the homes that you saw on TV or in the movies than our house was.
They had a colour TV, a ‘studio couch’ (without arms- coarse brown plaid fabric), dynamic looking lightshades, a ‘hi-fi’ with seperate loudspeakers (we had a radiogram), an aquarium, a shaggy rug, ice cubes…
I took all of these things to be the hallmarks of sophistication, signs that these people had somehow escaped from the austerity in which my branch of the family seemed terminally stuck.
But of these trappings the one that I have the strongest memory is the soda siphon.

Theirs was dark green (the model above dates from 1965). Funnily though, I don’t think that anybody in the household drank. My cousin and I would play with it, shooting fizzing jets of disapointingly bland and dusty water into sturdy green pimpled tumblers. Other than that I don’t think it ever got used.


We collected the empty gas capsules though, and employed them in our Airfix armageddons as weapons of mass destruction, which we ominously called Doom Bombs or Blockbusters.

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Fans of Tretchikoff might want to check out these stunning murals. Here’s the Surface View blog. That’s Wayne Hemingway there…Wayne is an English designer, founder of Red or Dead and author of Just Above The Mantelpiece: Mass-Market Masterpieces.

Here’s something that I had not noticed before.
I recently watched
Performance (1970) by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg- one of my favourite movies. In the scene where Moody and Rosenbloom are in Tony Farell’s bedroom we see Chinese Girl by Vladimir Tretchikoff…


Performance.

This is not he only time, of course, that Tretchikoff has featured in movies. Here are two other notable examples:


Frenzy.

As Charles Darwent wrote in The Independent newspaper’s obituary of Tretchikoff in September 2006:
A Tretchikoff had only to appear over Bob Rusk’s chimneypiece in Hitchcock’s Frenzy (1972) for the audience to know that Rusk was odd; the Green Lady on the wall of Alfie’s Ruby in 1966 marked her out as irredeemably modern.
As a maker of cultural artefacts, if not of art, Tretchikoff was a master.



Alfie.

Based on Tretchikoff’s enduring popularity I’m guessing that there must be literally hundreds of other such examples of his work appearing in movies or TV, either as signifiers as shown by Darwent or nowadays as a shorthand for retro kitschism.

All that was once directly lived has become mere representation– Guy Debord.

I want that radiogram, I want the record that they are listening to, I want my girlfriend to look this happy.
Maybe she is dreaming of a life away from this sterile home, away from her radiogram obsessed boyfriend and his difficult jazz?
She wants the wind in her hair, the sand between her toes and Yeh Yeh music…
Perhaps she is dreaming of Kartoshka?


Very little is known of the British artist JH Lynch (1911 –1989). He was renowned for his popular paintings of sultry women. Probably his most famous work is Tina (1964).
I remember seeing Tina in many living rooms in the 1960’s and 1970’s, or maybe similar pictures for which this has become a default memory image.
Lynch’s work appears in this scene from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.


Everything here is pretty cool, but I’m not sure about the mother’s dress.

Throw in a decent laptop with a high speed internet connection and I’d be more than happy with this set up. I bet there was a lava lamp somewhere in this room!