On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
SORTING ONE thing and another in the garage in preparation for our expected El Nino this winter, I uncovered a forgotten stash of posters. It’s a pity wall space inside our place is already festooned with objet d’art, about which others ask politely, “Uh, you like this here, do you?” Here’s a sampling, along with some internet research on provenance and the like.
The provenance of this one is clear. It’s a portrait of an aragoto (“rough business”) character of Kabuki theater, specifically from the 2002 calendar published by Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo. I’ve not been to the new Kabukiza, part of a giant office tower in Ginza after they tore down the classic theater in 2010.
Taking a detour from garage sorting, I looked over the November 2015 offerings at Kabukiza. I’m reminded that this wonderful theatrical art form dating from the 1600s is still vibrant with new plays. It’s as though English-language playwrights were still into Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter. At her O! Beauty Unattempted website, Emily C. A. Snyder offers interesting views on this. The last such play I recall was Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s Not for Burning, 1948.
This fetching poster advertises the Grand Week of Combat Arms, May 15 – 25, 1912, organized by the Parisian Federation of Fencers, under the patronage of the French National Federation. It appears to be signed Loë Bridge, but the internet stubbornly refuses to believe I don’t mean “low bridge.” After a bit of evasive action, I found Joe Bridge, 1886 – 1967, an artist regarded for his posters depicting sports and automobiles.
Of course, he is not to be confused with Joe’s Bridge, a name given to Bridge No. 9 on a canal near the Belgian city of Lommel just south of the Belgian-Dutch border. The Irish Guards Battle Group, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur, captured the bridge in September 1944. (Ain’t the internet fun?)
According to the Libraries of the University of Minnesota, this particular National Pipe Smoker’s Week was in 1989. A commemorative button was also produced, it too showing my favorite consulting detective in deerstalker and smoking a bent-stem meerschaum.
Not to nit-pick excessively about either the poster or button, but I have already gone on record stating that the real Holmes never smoked a meerschaum. In accurate depictions by Sidney Paget (who knew his Holmes), the detective’s pipes are always straight stemmed.
The meerschaum affectation arose with actor William Gillette portraying Holmes around the turn of the century (that old fin de siècle, not the fairly recent one). Gillette chose the bent stem because it gave the audience a better view of his visage and articulation.
Also, though Holmes certainly uttered “elementary” and “my dear Watson” often enough, he never combined the two.
Sorting a garage is a lot more fun with help of the internet. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2015