If you read this regularly, you’ll have noticed that my last post was quite some time ago. I’ve been busy looking for research grants. Writing those proposals takes a lot of time, hence my lack of activity here.

But also, I’m hoping to move from the virtual collection here to a physical site, and set up a museum of vintage clothes in Oxford, and I’ve been working on that. On the off-chance that anyone would like to donate, I’ll point out my Contact page. Submit the form there if you want to know more about the project. More on that later: I’m currently working out some costs.

The Security Guard’s Hand

Some cartoon clichés don't happen. There are no flying saucers with anntenaed aliens stepping thereout, no single-palmed desert islands surrounded by sharks, and no little boys with a bandage round their jaw to relieve toothache. But I know one cliché that did happen: a man putting his hand in front of my camera to stop me photographing. This is the hand:
Security guard's hand in front of my camera, obscuring Tracery bolero jacket hung on the door handle of Podarok in the Clarendon Shopping Centre, Oxford.

The hand, and presumably the keys, belong to the security guard in the Clarendon Shopping Centre in Oxford. I was photographing a jacket, and had hung it on the door to Podarok, one of the shops there. I thought its pattern went with the background formed by the door handles and shop interior. The guard didn't like this. It would be alright, he said, to photograph Podarok from outside the Clarendon Centre, but not from inside it, because Podarok was private property. Since almost every piece of land in this country is private property, the reason seemed suspect. But the guard was insistent.

This didn't seem consistent. A few days ago, a big group of English-language students — Oxford overflows with them during the summer — were sitting near Podarok taking photos of each other on their phones. No guards were stopping them. Anyway, like so many other shops in Oxford, Podarok has closed down. The Clarendon should be more welcoming.

Cranston-Pickle Pink

Cranston Pickles bubble-and-squeak Scotch eggs. One is sliced open, showing the pink colour of the coating.
It isn't often that my clothing gets compared to a Scotch egg. In fact, until Wednesday, it was never. But then in the Gloucester Green market, I stopped to look at a new food stall. It was called "Cranston Pickles" — no relation to Branston, but the owner's surname — and sold pickles and vegetarian Scotch eggs.

While I was looking at these, the stall's owner said "That matches your outfit!" What I was wearing was the pink Gerry Weber silk jacket which I posted about last summer:
Pink silk jacket

I tried one of her spicy kedgeree eggs, and the coating was pleasingly light, without the cloddy heaviness that I find in the supermarket brands. These show a combination of stodge and impenetrability which inspired one humourist — Alan Coren perhaps, or Bill Bryson — to describe these as eggs coated with firebrick.

But this blog is supposed to be about colour, not taste. So I then decided to find out whether Cranston Scotch-egg pink really does match my outfit. I loaded photos of the egg, and of my jacket, into the Gimp image-processing program, cut out a small uniform portion of each, and fed both these into 3D Color Inspector, Kai Uwe Barthel's colour-analysis program that I wrote about here. This plots the distribution of colours in colour cubes with axes representing the strengths of red, green, and blue. Here are my results, the jacket colours on the left:

I conclude that my jacket is a purer colour, and more towards the white. Which I thought it would be; I just decided I'd use this post to remind readers of 3D Color Inspector's existence, as well as writing about some colourful and tasty new foods I'd seen. So thanks to Cranston for the photos and the eggs. Now, has anyone written a Taste Inspector program?... Output from (imaginary) Taste Inspector 3D program, favourably comparing the Cranston Pickles Scotch egg with one from a well-known supermarket.


It's spring! Today is the official beginning; and yesterday even felt pleasantly bright and warm, after more than two weeks of continuous wind and rain. Here are three photos from last spring showing what we have to look forward to. Even in these three, taken from very similar viewpoints, there is so much variation amongst the greens and pinks.

South Parks Road in Oxford during spring 2018, showing blossom and fresh green leaves
South Parks Road in Oxford during spring 2018, showing blossom and fresh green leaves
South Parks Road in Oxford during spring 2018, showing blossom and fresh green leaves

Fun, Environmentally Friendly, and Food for the Senses

The front cover of 'Interzone' number 57.

The quote below is from an article about the history of science fiction: Brian Stableford's "Adolf Hitler: His Part in Our Struggle. A Brief Economic History of British SF Magazines" from Interzone number 57, March 1992. Replace "sf" by "vintage clothes", and perhaps "thought" by "senses", and it would be spot-on for those.

As products go, sf has a lot to be said for it: it doesn't kill anybody, it doesn't use up much in the way of non-renewable resources, it doesn't create much waste, it's mostly fun, and it offers food for thought which is occasionally nourishing as well as flavoursome.

Seasickness Between Two Shelves at Zara, and Buttons in the Mucous Membranes

Excuse me while I vomit on my epaulettes. I ran Google Translate over "Les manches bouffantes : explications + tuto" from mad moi Zelle, because I wanted to see how it translated "manche bouffante". Is this a collocation which translates to something equally specific in sewing English, or just a general combination like "baggy sleeve"? Google was no help, but it did provide some amusement. Here's its translation from one passage in the linked page:

In the following pages, I propose to you to make yourself a top with gigot sleeves, if you have not yet had seasickness between two shelves at Zara and that the sight of these sleeves does not give you buttons yet even in the mucous membranes.

And here's another:

This update comes one season after the reimplantation of the 80's maxi-square way by the Balmain house (among others). It would seem that this place under the sunlights (and on the catwalks) has favored the reappearance of this type of sleeve that had been abandoned in the girls' costume department for years (and Nelly Olson, this bitch.) I see it a bit like a way to say "Good guys, we made them eat squaring squares all winter, you have not an innovative idea? By what I will soon vomit on my epaulets bling-bling. And this is where a small trainee raised his hand shyly: "Well, uh, as long as we're in the revolution of the shoulders, we have not yet exploited the seam of the sleeves of cucul-la-petite-princesse Well, I do not know, you must see.

I think, Google, some more research on automated post-translation editing is needed. And why can't you translate "gigot"?