Buy the Book. Or the gimp gets it.
Get fucked up, take off that human suit, get on that hot piece.
Party safely: remember, safe, sane, consensual.
We're moth morons, so a guess as to the identity will have to do.
Condica dolorosa? Lol, a goth moth. Trés sympathique.
I noticed this vivid beauty whilst out watering my aloes a few days ago. We've planted a lot of trees, both native and exotic and enjoy a really healthy if slightly obscure compliment of wing'd neighbours like this guy here. Think it's a dude because of the big pheremone-sniffing antennae. Looking at local guides, we're only supposed to have one species of the largely tropical Condica family here so it's probably a crap attribution, but Port Chalmers is home to a leaky-sieve international container port, so yeah. Anything's possible.
He looks pretty fresh out of his silky little sleeping bag so we wish him great success with any Condica ladies he might encounter. Whatever he is, the world needs more of it.
I am about 16 years old and have a younger brother and sister, both under ten. We are homeless, I think, or without a place to stay permanently in an odd sort of IT-type large-town/not-city precinct that is all blue-green plate glass and chrome fixtures, spindly newly planted trees and fresh tarmac. It is an indifferent rather than hostile environment and we wander through the largely deserted facilities without hindrance. Except there are floating, translucent orbs, usually three at a time, following us at a height of about four metres. They look like some sort of semi-organic thing, luminous ghostly silver-green, humming like a cycling appliance and occasionally arcing out loops of phosphorescent light like fuzzy tentacles. They seem at least partially sentient, and intent on locating and following us, which I don't enjoy.
We can lose them by going into buildings as that seems to confuse their idea of where we are and where we're headed. Once inside a long glassy gallery-like library that grades into some sort of retail environment, I stop and watch one of the orbs trying to squeeze through a minute gap in the plate glass frontage panels, sizzling and emitting neon green light but finding itself unable to perform the manoeuvre. Then I know we are safe for the night, more or less, and make my younger brother go to bed on a mattress covered with strange layers of fancy, brand new quilts, duvets and large-scale flower print linen. The younger sister is nowhere to be seen and I seem to have forgotten about her anyway. An uneasy sort of calm or stasis descends; everything is dark and silent and suspended.
R E M A R K S: No idea where the floating orbs came from but their colours are lifted from the graphic I put together for an instalment of the book. The dream siblings looked sort of 'stock' and not physically related to me, and I felt no real attachment to them. By far the most striking image was the floating orb trying to squeeze between the glass panels toward us; the process completey negated both physical laws and the impersonal nature of the entity itself, giving it a strange and unwelcome impetus. I suppose there is a vague theme of harassment or persecution but it lacked both urgency and specific, identifiable agency, so I'm drawing a bit of a blank as to where that's coming from.
Stupid oblique references!
* More dreams * More ravings * More images *
BELOW L 2 R : Nars Mascate, Guerlain Garçonne, Nars Dragon Girl, Bite Pomegranate,
Mac Just a Bite (LE), Russian Red. Along the top is Urban Decay F-Bomb. Neutral indoor daylight.
The Rouge G formula is legendary, and for good reason. It is thick but not too thick, buildable, cushiony, supple, blessed with an expensive-looking gloss and is relatively long-wearing (forget the claims of 6 hours, though; unless you're sitting mute, it's 3 or 4, tops, without touching up). Garçonne's drawbacks? The $60+ price tag :(( The rather penetrating violet perfume isn't something everyone will welcome, and it bleeds slightly on me, unlike RG Gigolo. But hey, it's a glossy red- shit happens. The colour more than compensates. See how it makes so much else in the swatches look homely? If Garçonne were a person, I wouldn't want them standing next to me in photos.
I'm sure as hell keeping all of them. Try and pry them off me. Pomegranate is for going to the shops, Garçonne is my big downtown/competition red and F-Bomb can be my big potential food situation red. * Totally sorted *
BELOW L 2 R : Nars Mascate, Guerlain Garçonne, Nars Dragon Girl, Bite Pomegranate,
Mac Just a Bite (LE), Russian Red. Along the top is Urban Decay F-Bomb. Warm outdoor daylight.
Curve were awesome. Toni Halliday is a sexy stone cold bitch who seemed to be ripping a music journo a new one every time I read about her nasty arse and there is no such thing as too much embittered lyric or overprocessed guitar. I think we're both still in love with her. This track enjoyed some monster remixes and I highly recommend hunting them down. Take it, bitches. You love it.
Another thing possessing a certain level of awesomeness is ye olde JAM Chain and there is a nice piece in the Guardian (I know, just grit your teeth) that reminds us why. The Joy Divison anecdote is delicious. Watch the related video and enjoy the spectacle of a crap interviewer dying inside at the hands of a Scottish prick who's not even trying. I can barely see though the hearts in my eyes. My favourite JAM Chain thing is Reverence, and yes, it is something of an after-the-fact abomination but its discrete contextual and meta-offensiveness is a thing of beauty. You're welcome.
In The Light Between Oceans (gag) filming news, there's a fucking annoying steam train tooting endlessly on the tracks across the bay from us at the moment, shunting back and forth and surrounded by a bunch of catering trucks etc so I'm assuming they're shooting there. The light does a 180 every 20 mins and generally sucks anyway, the wind is freezing and I'm glad I'm not holding a reflector and taking it up the arse sideways from a grumpy DoP right now. Our house will probably be a red speck in the background to these sequences. I'll send them an invoice.
What should you expect this week? (Whiny voice) I don't fucking know. Put it that way.
Lilian’s hands were as cold as the night outside the hotel, fugitives in the pockets of her trench as it settled against her in the aureate warmth of the elevator. Edward had framed his absence as he did every lie, devoid of reassuring ornamentation, but she was pleased to be absolved from explaining her own. Her prospective client had offset his anonymity with the size of the engagement fee transferred to her account, the promise of more exerting its terrible weight on all other concerns. Its plastic, golden possibilities smoothed the disapproval of the concierge accompanying her, the brushed silver of his name tag holding a softly-hatched stripe of her reflection. He informed her dutifully of their arrival on the third floor of executive suites, but did not wish her a pleasant evening.
Panes of limed wood and flaxen limestone lined the hall outside, their bland blonde matte palliative to the weary eye. Her heels made no sound upon the carpet as she glanced at passing door plates and found herself five rooms short of her destination; though there was nothing startling in the discovery, Lilian slowed and came to a gradual halt in the midst of the passage. In the outer corner of her left eye the wall began to shimmer, the stone trembling, its substance loosened as though lofted forth in dust, birthing a myriad of tiny, phosphor-white motes, like dandelion seeds before a lazy drift of sun-warmed air. They wandered out before her, forming an encircling cascade that was not only silent in itself, but drained the volume from the surrounding world until sound no longer existed. Inhaling the brightly-glowing influence of the idling scintilla, she took a hand from her pocket at its whispered invitation and passed into the fall, the motes treating her flesh as a permeable fiction; closing her fist, she watched them drift on through its shape, unchecked, then pushed her hand into the empty air beyond.
It was struck by fulminant agony, as though a length of steel had swung across her knuckles. She dragged her hand back and clasped it in the spinning eye of pain, lips parting in a silent exclamation. At the end of the corridor a maid’s cart emerged from a utility room as a muted and indefinite shape; Lilian straightened slowly though pain still pealed along her bones, watching the cart trundle toward her from the shadowless distance. A door to her right opened inward, admitting a tall woman in a drab suit to the passage, the eyes in her hard, tanned face coming too quickly upon her own while the wall beside her head began to shimmer, its substance loosened as though lofted forth in dust. Tiny phosphor-white motes drifted in a veil between them; Lilian felt them glowing in her eyes, combusting and dividing, and pushed her pale gaze through the idling scintilla, beyond the stranger's stare and deep into the intent that it protected, finding shapes in black and olive drab lettered with shifting glyphs with hot, portentous scarlet. Satisfied, she allowed the incandescent apparition to dissuade her, and to walk her back toward the elevator where its open doors awaited her return.
Shaw leaned into the clammy ivy at the foot of the wall it had overrun, ignoring its sour bronze smell and clearing a narrow gap in the fallen stone. The street on the other side glowed dirty orange through the foliate vignette, crossed only by the nocturnal insects that favoured the lamp post for the amatory and predacious sorties consuming the last weeks of their lives. Looking back over his shoulder, he searched the windows through the lattice of branches and shoulder-high weeds that sheltered his position, bringing his phone to his ear.
“House and grounds are clear.” he confided. “It’s good.”
Josephine sat in the darkness of the rented suite, watching the woman wheel the maid’s cart alongside the bed and strip her secreted equipment from it, stuffing it into a gym bag, her mood related in the rough, clipped timbre of her actions. O'Connor darkened the doorway.
“She came right to my station, Mercer started her run and then it nose-dived... I don’t know what it was... it felt like I was made.” Josephine related. The operative zipped her bags. “We need to check her out. She’s not standard.”
“Ms Frost is on her way to the house.” he replied. “Traffic’s loose downtown, it’s a fifty minute ride at most, so the second team will pick her up.”
“Inoprophenol won’t drop a lab rat. She’ll fight it.”
"I'm happy with what the Interlaken teams have achieved so far."
Josephine watched his face assume a smirk as they recalled the hahdri massacre photostream; she wondered how he could smile amid the disastrous scope of its dissemination, then remembered his lack of affection for the culprit.
"Have they found Bateman yet?" she inquired.
"Pulled him out of business class at LAX."
The woman behind them looked up from packing her equipment.
"Bateman's gone?" she asked, glancing out the door.
"Interlaken took the bambis out and cut them loose on some lycanthropes upstate... it went bad. They ended up having to toast the whole site. Bateman lost it, posted darknet jpegs and fled with his hard drives."
"Damn... I don't think I even want to know what a bambi fail looks like. Those gross things were his babies."
"I think the change of focus was overdue." O'Connor remarked, consulting his watch. "Wipe this down before you leave."
A downpour swept over the crest of the hill, hissing across the tarmac and beading on Shaw's head, misting the glass of his night vision visor. Distant headlights already shimmered in the water clinging to the roadside growth; he leant out as far as he dared through the vine-swathed crevice, pulling the windscreen into focus. To his amazement, one of the black-clad operatives planted at the foot of the hill broke cover and walked out onto the seal, forcing the taxi to a halt on wet brakes. Shaw pushed along the wall until he drew parallel with the stop.
A burst of muzzle flash threw the thicket of figures closing on the car into cartoon silhouette, the rain swallowing the silenced rounds and the sound of the glass trickling from the driver’s door onto the road. They dragged a smoking body from behind the wheel, leaving it lying on the tarmac while the passenger was surrounded in the rear seat, though Shaw could see nothing of Lilian Frost until the door was pushed slowly outward from within. The figure that rose from it and stood beside the cab explained the desperate expediency of the ambush without uttering a syllable, male instead of female, emerald flash meeting the torch beam directed into its eyes. While it stared into the light, a figure stepped up and fired twice into its neck, then again into its shoulder, shrinking back to the verge to reload as quickly as wet fingers would allow.
The armed party retracted, leaving their victim to grasp the stainless darts and tear them free, gazing blankly through the crimson spatter driven onto his face by the murderous burst of fire. He tossed them away and looked down at the body of the driver; even from the top of the wall Shaw saw the deliberation that persisted in the creature’s stance, the absence of the slow and reassuring tilt that was the first sign of meaningful intoxication. The squad stood, hunched and transfixed, steam rising from their shoulders and their laboured breathing while Shaw climbed down. Beside him the commanding figure snarled an order, prompting the foremost trio to creep forward, rain streaming from their chins. The creature gazed over the wall toward the distant house even as they closed on him, his apathy explicitly fatalistic. As one the squad burst forward and swallowed up the figure, like a fist of swarming insects.
Shaw wiped at his face with his hand as he walked around to the rear of the collection van to perceive the result of their endeavours, a prostrated abstract lying on the churned grass, strapped with closely-coupled bonds of woven alloy to a steel stretcher. The drug gunner stepped forward and fired another three doses into the flesh of its leg; he trained his torch upon the captive's profile, examining the deep golden bale of the gaze that slid toward him before a mesh hood was dragged down over its head. A single command extinguished their torches, sent a pair of men to drag the taxi driver's corpse into the boot of his idling car and signaled the others to hoist their trussed objective from the ground, in pursuit of a swift and wordless dispersal.
C O N T I N U E D N E X T W E E K
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
THIS CHAPTER IS NOW AVAILABLE TO READ ONSITE.
* Show some love- buy the book * Catch up onsite *
Potatoes- simple, nutritious and unsightly; the Homo sapiens of the vegetable world.
Not that I'd ever eat people (literally, lol, or unless I was hungry); who the fuck knows where they've been? Luckily we have potatoes. They don't contract oozing green sores 'backpacking' in Thailand and nor do their screams tip off the neighbours when you're cutting them into bite size pieces.
Growing potatoes at home is possibly the easiest thing you'll ever do in the average garden as far as bang for buck is concerned, especially if you ignore the complex apocryphal bullshit that's grown up around the practice. Gardeners of yore preferred you to think they were rustic savants. I'm here to tell you they were just dicks with shovels and time on their hands like the rest of us. We really hate all the elitist obfuscation around something as basic and increasingly important as growing food at home and hope our straight agricultural dope will encourage others to reclaim the practice. You really do just chuck them in the ground and dig them up three months later. Don't overthink it.
Some supermarket spuds are treated with an anti-sprouting compound but plenty will bud anyway, something lazy cooks will have already discovered. There's a lot of talk about the necessity of buying specific seed potatoes from garden centres etc, but we've honestly never had a problem with supermarket ferals. If it's starting to bud, you can probably grow it. Choose medium to large tubers without visible holes, mouldy bits or scabbiness.
Round up your seed spuds a month before you intend to plant (from the end of winter onwards), lay them in a shallow box or tray (see below) and put them somewhere warm and dry, so that they'll sprout. This process is called chitting. I haven't found light levels to be particularly important but I chit mine in bright shade ie. outside under my cactus bench. After a few weeks you'll find them sending out little tentacles like the one to the right here. We like to plant them at this stage, before the stalks get any longer to prevent them being knocked about too much.
You can bury a live potato before it has visibly sprouted; it will usually grow normally enough once the soil is warm. It just takes a little bit longer and you may have planted a few duds.
Once you've got your potatoes covered with a decent layer of soil you can scatter some fertiliser on top if you think they're going to need it. If it's a dry season, you can water-in the new bed but we usually leave that to the elements. In fact water is possibly the only identifiable factor we've ever been able to isolate in achieving a good crop; once the plants have emerged, which can take a month, they'll grow to anything from knee to waist height, flower and become very thirsty, especially in raised beds while the tubers are proliferating underground (we'll post pics of this progress as it happens). Once the plants have established themselves, mulch the ground between them with pea straw, brown pine needles or whatever takes your fancy, pulling out any slimy, terminally overcrowded or diseased-looking plants and being especially careful to cover the edge of the beds to prevent sunlight reaching the new tubers. They're perverse little buggers, forming as close to the surface as possible in many cases; UV light will turn them green and mildly toxic which = no bueno. Some people 'mound' their plants by piling soil up against the stems as they grow in the belief this increases yield. Maybe it does (we're not convinced) but this is too much like hard work and our soil isn't deep enough anyway, so we never bother and still get enough spuds to last most of the year.
Once you have adult-looking plants try and water once a day, easing off with the hose once the crop hits three months old and starts to get a bit geriatric. At this juncture they're committing their last energy to the subterranean tubers and are particularly susceptible to shitty diseases. Don't turn them into a pile of slimy mush by wetting them all the time.
I won't go into the pests and diseases that can afflict potatoes in any given area; there are a few here, but we've never suffered any major epidemics in our diverse, unsprayed garden. When I see a bit of blight, I just rip off that part of the plant, adjust my cultivation and leave the rest to take their chances. If you're suffering a heavy pest and pathology load you might want to review your entire gardening system and that's beyond the scope of this piece.
I'll write about harvesting and storage when the time comes. BELOW RIGHT: Here's the garlic we planted in mid winter (read about that here); it's coming along nicely. BELOW LEFT: Let's kick the growing season off with a nice big fucking trowel blister. Some hands stay tough and honest all year round; others have been up to no-good effete shit all winter. A writer's work is never done.
* Hate gardening? Here's some Film Review * Photoessays * Best of the Blog *
Gdansk, Poland Via Marcin Oleksak on Bēhance
A prodigious talent, don't you think? I adore scientific images.
BELOW L 2 R: (all MAC) Russian Red, Strange Journey, Chili, Lady Danger, Ruffian Red (LE)
Cool indoor daylight. Bottom swatch- filtered outdoor sunlight.
ABOVE LEFT One of our resident Tuis (Prosthemadura novaseelandidae), giant honeyeaters from a relatively primitive passerine fam. It's sipping a flower on our Coastal Banksia (B integrifolia). This winter-blooming species is a staple for all our honeyeaters, another of which is the Bellbird (Anthornis melanura), above right.
BELOW Banksia grandis, the Bull Banksia from coastal Western Australia. This species is a bit of a diva apparently with a backstage rider stipulating access to only the driest, most impoverished soil, no fert, a parched summer and bowls of brown M&Ms or it'll rot out just to spite you. Looks like it came to the right place, lol.
We planted it in memory of my father just after his death so it's a little over ten years old now. From twiggy, sulky, uncertain beginnings rose this strange vegetable monster, leaning wonkily toward the sun and putting forth these plumy 25cm long lime-yellow cones at the terminus of every branch. Every year it makes us wait. And wait. And then stubbornly refuses to yield a decent picture when the flowers finally open. The Lovely R got up on a ladder to get this one. The birds and bees adore them. So do we.
Yes constant readers, it's another Monday, which means there's another week to piss away. Residing on the east coast of New Zealand means I'm taking monday in the face right now, before almost anyone else in the world does, which makes me an expert. You might as well let me help you with the rest of the week.
If you're reading TBO, we hope you enjoyed the last instalment (just below) which is another of our personal favourites, as much for the opportunity to use the phrase esurient shaitani as anything else. Tempting as it is to wank on about the book, I try not to commentate the serialisation too much for fear it will intrude upon your private experience of it. It is quite a private book, I think, and it can take a while to work out what the fuck is going on, so I'll just leave you alone with your thoughts.
If your RSS feed is farting test posts at you, I apologise. The recent Weebly update is a gift that just keeps on giving as far as throwing up shitty bugs is concerned, and at the mo I have to keep retro-dating every post to keep them in some sort of order. But I shouldn't bitch too much in case vengeful spirits chain me to the Weebly mobile editor, which is... well, let's just say I'm pouring out a forty at the crossroads for everyone trying to manage their sites from a phone or iPad. You might have noticed that the blog pages are shorter (down to 20 pieces from 25) and the slideshows in the sidebar bit the big one recently- they were flash-based, but the site is taking so long to load after this clusterfuck update that I've tried to eliminate anything that might be slowing it down. Hope that helps.
What's coming up this week? Errmmm errrr... well, how about a 180 away from facial harlotry to... practical rusticity? I can't promise you that there won't be another lipstick review in there somewhere, but do brace for organically-based infotainment. It is spring down here, after all.
Here's some Björk. I think this is the best version of this song and I hate the one with the accordion. These sets with the live strings were obviously challenging from a performance POV, but they're one of the few shows I really wished I'd seen.
Ashley Joy Disco Explosion 08.2012
half plate tintype
wet plate nudes
In darkly-shadowed abeyance lay the sere and undulant land encircling the two great lakes, their water lying upon the plain like lovers in sated repose. The proud head of the sentinel peak to the south wore the first snow of the season on those narrow, serried strata still favoured by the rosewater rays of the departing sun. As she walked alone over the isthmus between the water, Nyāti strove to conceal her struggle with the lowly altitude, though its influence clutched at her chest and dragged on her long, cloaked limbs.
She gained the summit of the rise and was confronted by the object of her journey. Two score figures clad in wind-worn, cinder-coloured homespun employed the shelter of the hill to assort the grim tools of their trade in preparation for winter, discarding those stolen knives and short bronze swords that had dulled and retaining those fit for the campaign that would resume in spring. Such were the sole conveniences claimed by the bai'issātva; neither hearth, nor tents nor even slaves enlivened their bivouac, all such considerations superfluous to their dour mandate. The dust ground from the mountains by their heavy robes of ice had settled impartially upon them, conspiring with their unvarying stature and aspect so they seemed a raft of sullen corvids grounded by the very misfortune they embodied. A length of horsehair line, strung across the hollow between pikes, sagged under gruesome, flapping festoons of sunbleached brown and shining black, scalps stripped from the heads of their victims. Nyāti was grateful that the scudding wind took their smell toward the west.
Loot from overtaken caravans and campsites lay in disarray upon the ground; robes and bales of silk, items of virtu and adornment contrived from polished turquoise, ivory and brand-like corals, the dowery silver so favoured by the doyennes of her own high order, small chests of precious woods and banded agate vials of scent beguiled from flowers that bloomed beyond the mountains to the rumoured south. With her betters she would select those items most suited to sacerdotal dignity, the bai'issātva themselves being wholly ignorant of such criteria. She could discern those newly consigned by the ire still brightening their gazes, the veterans having given themselves over to the conduct expected of them in triturating perpetuity, wearing disgrace as they did the dust of the plain. They were wary of the crocus-yellow shroud she wore as mufti over the snowy robes of her rank.
“I am come for Kala'amātya.” she informed them; they spoke amongst themselves in the glances that were their silent argot until one of the elders lifted a directing hand.
A string of horses stood drinking from the dark edge of the lake. The moon had risen, vast and blindly white and rolling on the low waves toward the shore. Kala'amātya swept a felt over the back of one of his mounts and tied it fast. The rude habiliment that sufficed his companions smoked upon the fire he had kindled for the comfort of his horses; he had bathed in the lake, tied his hair and donned a blue silk tunic purloined from the nomads he had executed. Alongside those weapons he had stowed the luxuries looted during the sorties under his direction lay bound in four neat bundles, readied for the backs of his animal train and not the discretion of the Sthali'sātva, so profound a transgression that she could not recall its punishment. That he was not preparing for removal to the furthest station of his corps' orbit was obvious, even to her assaulted sensibilities.
“You do not go north?” she asked.
“You do not keep avai’sha?” he replied over his shoulder, in reference to the robe concealing the compulsory garb of her order. She looked over the horses.
“Why do you imprison these beasts when it is against the first words of the Mother?”
He enjoined the equine contingent to stay close to the fire before turning finally toward her.
“It is my evil nature.” His mood admitted no further equivocation.
“Ana'siām'ilye requires that you walk with me.”
“Tomorrow I ride for a day in one direction and then two weeks in another.” Kala'amātya muttered before she could elaborate. "I walk nowhere tonight."
"You go to speak with Sachiin before the snow..." She watched him reserve his glance from her, though she could see well that her knowledge of the rendezvous surprised him.
“Ana'siām'ilye has two good legs of her own.”
“Why should she trouble them on your account?”
“Why should I trouble mine on hers?”
She lifted her hands to the white-daubed hair at her temples.
“Come with me, or do not.” At his silence, she turned into the wind and wound the yellow scarf around her head, departing over the rise that sheltered his encampment.
Nyāti was forced to look back more than once to reassure herself that Kala'amātya had indeed set out after her, though whether he satisfied curiosity or some other perverse precept was as obscure as his distant person. The moon climbed to its apex and had begun its descent into the west by the time she paused upon a eminence and waited for him.
“If not north, where do you go?” He said nothing, drawing a hand across his nape and turning his head slowly in sympathy with flesh worked hard since the first days of an early spring. “When you meet Sachiin, speak of me to him.” she murmured, reminding him of those ironic debarments preventing her from conversing with his brother while saying nothing on his own lowly account.
The moon met the serrate horizon as they came to a line of abraded cliffs, its dry, fluted, wind-carved divagations an echoing maze for the unwary. As a discreet conduit to the bai'issātvas' northernmost theatre of operation, it had been favoured by the priestesses for millennia despite being haunted by the cackling, esurient shaitani cast down from the mountains. Nyāti led him into a crevice barely wider than his shoulders and far darker than the night outside, their footfalls rasping softly in the sand. It expanded sinuously into a slim ravine, banded walls dimly limned in charcoal grey and violet; at its widest point the sky was glimpsed once more between the overhanging stone, the stars like macula on the black skin of some cosmic archetype. He examined their familiar arrangements in preference to the tall, swathed figure awaiting them beside a boss of sandstone, its textural qualities reiterated in the plain weave of her mantle. The glowing pallor of the robes beneath were scarcely distinguishable from the person of the wearer, their hands transfigured into emblems of her station by the symbols scarred into the backs of their palms. They impressed Kala'amātya blackly, stamped over the earliest of his conscious memories, and he felt himself once more a reviled subject. Nyāti left him to receive instruction from her mentor, spanning the distance between the parties in a sanitary measure, between the sacred and the walking depths of desecration.
“Ana'siām'ilye would know if the foremost among bai'issātva can tell us something of this past season.” she told him.
“I am foremost?” he asked.
Nyāti turned to hear her sovereign’s reply.
“Is it not harmonious that something born to transgress might excel all others in such matters?” she related.
“The rain has failed to the south and east. We have had hard work to clear these southern i'ss’it, even from the driest places. They bring their litters and their animals, and they mean to stay.”
“And it is true that you kill more than you ever have? And though you leave their heads and skins as warning, still more i'ss’it will come as soon as the snows permit?”
“You seem already satisfied of this.”
Nyāti strove to uphold the formality her position required, raising her hand in a careful gesture that regained his attention. Ana'siām'ilye overruled her tact by folding back her veil and looking to him directly, her distaste for the measure related in its execution.
“What would you say of your time as bai'issātva?” she asked.
“No one has ever asked if I did like or dislike anything, and I can offer no opinion.”
His reply seemed to delight her.
“Kala'amātya... was I not wise, to know you for what you were? When you left your mother’s body and lay upon the ground it was your silence, as much as any sign, that apprised me of your nature.” the priestess admitted, watching him receive the news with familiar impassivity. “With all I know of you... and I know more than you imagine... I greatly regret that you would not accept reform... in you, there is so much that is lost to us.” Between them, Nyāti listened with the discretion in which she had been so stringently instructed. “Are you not weary of execration? If you could walk again beside your brother, your mother... be promised to a high-born wife and know her children will regard you as worthy of their mother... if you could be known by the name that you were given, and not that which was hung about your neck... would you not think yourself favoured? Out of my great love for our people, and of harmony, I have chosen our daughter Nyāti as a wife for you. Under her auspices, you will be guided and reconciled.”
Even in his armoured heart her words burned like stone under the summer sun. The sight of Nyāti standing without interceding only intensified his disbelief; though they were the same age, the brilliance of her youth was barely cowled by the austerity required of her.
"You would have me?" he asked her, deeply disquieted, looking back to Ana'siām'ilye's implacable features.
“She would set aside a great deal more than vanity to please us.” the priestess replied on Nyāti's behalf; still the naked elements of the proposal encircled him, no more real for the reiteration.
“I thought my sins as certain as your judgement.”
“Who are we to cherish or abhor an absolute? In entailing your birth so heavily, the Fates were tempering you for a long-intended purpose, merely obscure until now.” From within her robe the priestess drew a piece of fraying bronze silk, roughly cut and tied. She lay the object on the sand, returning her hands to her garments while Nyāti bore the bundle to Kala'amātya, in keeping with his threat to consecration; a smell rose from its depths, a murky, burnt and writhing green assault from which he turned his head. “There are three places where the water rises on the plain. Divide this compound between them.” He glanced down into the fabric and examined the substance for himself. It was shifting and dully farinaceous, molded by the silk then falling open with the movement of his hand beneath it, exhaling another taste of its appalling potency.
“Everything that draws breath lives by these wells.” Kala'amātya reminded them.
“As do these i'ss’it, who will whelm us in the summers counted on a single hand. We could not keep them at bay if we were all to pass our lives in putting them to death. Do this thing… they will not return, and you will be reborn to us.”
Kala'amātya considered the two women with equal emphasis, his wonder at Nyāti's abnegation balanced by the pedagogue's consummate cynicism, its shape reared like a tulpa, faceless and commanded.
"Ana'siām'ilye... if you wish me to poison the wells, ask it of me plainly." he told her. When she demurred, he set the poison at her feet and turned to leave. The elder priestess turned to her remaining companion.
"The Mother smiles on you today, as ever." she promised. "Had you been bound to that worthless, soulless waste of skin, I would have thought us all accursed." She began her slate-black anathema, ensuring he could not depart without its sonorous commencement in his ears. “Anamān, called Kala'amātya, you are nameless and forgotten. Give up your life and on your dead feet walk into the South until you meet the water from which you may not return...”
Nyāti went swiftly after him in her determination that no rash impulse would prevail.
“The poison will find the wells without you...” she whispered at his shoulder, keeping pace with him. “Your family cannot speak to this... it will fall on them as surely as it falls on you.” If her entreaties gave him pause there was no sign of it.
“When you become Sthali'sātva, these things will no longer trouble you.” he told her.
Kala'amātya found his horses watered and in harness by the time he walked back into camp, the neat brown features of his erstwhile partner regarding him from behind a narrow pipe loaded with hashish, her dry white hair tied in a plait over her spotted brow. His train had been redoubled by the ancient bandit's thickly-hirsute camels and piebald dzo, all heavily laden, bells chiming on collars of red leather and woven hair. I’Tiang-na heaved herself onto her feet from the hearth and began to douse it with sand, her few remaining teeth, carefully blackened, emerging with the deep squint that she turned on him.
“Kala'amātya...” she began, taking a contemplative tone. “Should I think now that you have finished with this foolishness?”
He threw a water skin over the neck of his red horse and climbed up into the saddle.
“It has finished with me.” he muttered. “You have water for two days?” She nodded briefly from her own horse. “Take nothing from the wells. I will meet you by the Kali ford.”
She took the pipe from her teeth and leant over the pommel.
“With all this new wisdom, you must have a mind to take a house in Paršvãb for the winter!” she called after him.
C O N T I N U E D N E X T W E E K
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
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Establishmentarians were disapproving of this 20thC supremacy of design for its own sake and the associated use of 'commonplace' materials to construct items once so thoroughly steeped in traditional notions of status and personal wealth. So it was left to daredevils and fashionistas to initially flout convention with these pieces, which were even then expensive, often painstakingly constructed and difficult to source.
Christian Dior died in 1957, ten years after ushering in his fateful 'New Look' and it was his protege Yves Saint-Laurent who took over the house, until his own game-changing departure in '61- this collar's year of manufacture.
Further research would illuminate exactly which one of these gentlemen was responsible for this piece but Dior bijoux were manufactured, beginning in 1955, by Henkel and Grosse, who produced four batches a year for Dior and also made jewellery for rival luminaries Schiaparelli and Lanvin.
< This one is date stamped (both necklace and earrings) in its original box and comes with a lovely letter from the previous owner, who wore the set a grand total of once in her fifty + years of stewardship. At 83, she decided it was time for this set to see a little bit more of the world, which is fair enough.
In this intrepid spirit, we offer it for sale to interested parties @ RICE & BEANS VINTAGE
Please enquire onsite via 'Contact' for an ETA.
In theory, coral should be broadly flattering though in practise, it's the kind of thing that can go tremendously right or terribly wrong. Many of us have trouble with its tendency to be so much lighter and brighter than our actual lips that it just looks too horribly extra. Nor is it kind to yellowy teefs or dry or chapped mouths, so yeah- bit of a minefield. I'll admit I was a leetle bit apprehensive about investing in the full-size Zinfandel, sight unseen. Happy to say I needn't have worried.
So excited was I by my other Bite High Pigment acquisitions that I decided to go balls-out and get me some Zinfandel from the same line. Zinfandel is a red grape variety used to produce the titular rosé-type summer tipple in the US, according to Wikipedia, and when you see it in in the glass it makes sense that this bright coral shade should be named thusly. But Zinfandel is an awesome word in its own right and I'm just glad someone threw it on a lipstick.
This Bite product overcomes the usual technical issues posed by light/bright shades by balancing clean, vivid and very integrated pigment with a crystal-clear emollient base. By integrated, I mean the colour doesn't separate out into stain (dyes) + claggy, dirty-looking opaque elements (minerals) with heat or movement, as so often happens with thickly-pigmented mattes, for instance.
Zinfandel's brilliant, orange-leaning, lolly-hibiscus coral begins at about 80% opacity in one swipe on my dark, cool lips and can be successfully sheered or patted down to a gelato-like stain or built until you mouth would stop traffic. So I would call it opaque, but not traditionally so. There is always a suggestion of luminous translucency.
> Here we have a swatch in neutral indoor daylight next to some actual undyed coral, for comparison. There is more difference between the shades in life than is possibly suggested here; Lady Danger, for instance, is much more cooked-tomato red than Zinfandel. The recent True Red is more yellow and orange. If you adjust the angle of your laptop screen that might become more explicit.
Their differences are perhaps best illustrated in the swatch at the foot of this review, taken in cooler light with a streak of Zinfandel sheered out across the top. You can see the pink aspect of the coral quite clearly.
The scent is faintly, organically fruity and absolutely fine. I experience very little to no bleeding with these High Pigment sticks and get to about the three hour mark before touch up time, but I'm incredibly anal about my lipstick (the gross jokes write themselves); normals will probably enjoy a lot more leeway.
Many of us are still chasing that one stick to rule them all, that elusive Holy Grail badarse dark red. I consider the recent MAC Just a Bite (LE) semi-HG and have been wearing the shit out of it lately, but as the warmer weather, café visits and resultant lipstickface (bad thing) roll around I've also been wishing it was a little more matte. So yay for Mascate with its 10/10 Pure Matte formula and rather similar shade.
In the swatches, Mascate looks closer to MAC Russian Red than it really is. RR is quite a bit warmer and more of a 'middle' red. Mascate makes RR look generic (something I've always sort of felt but had never been able to put my finger on til now) and leans in the opposite direction- darker, stronger and blue-based. Evil garnet is how I would privately describe the colour and it packs a lot of visual punch once applied, turning your mouth into a slash of gothy, velvety, old skool cabaret red. Think shallow puddle of merlot on the cherry-red hood of a classic car at four in the afternoon. Does that help? This stick pic is looking pretty close to reality on my iMac, for reference >
BELOW- here it is, second from left, indoors, natural light.
Mascate (مسقط Masqaṭ) is the French for what Anglophones call Muscat, the capital of Oman. Muscat grapes are possibly the oldest in cultivation, the source of the most delicious raisins and Nars Mascate is soaked in exactly this kind of rich, vinous gorgeousness. But don't go by the image at left (which I oversaturated to get your attention); instead have a look at the tube pics below. I shot the one below right against a neutral cardboard background in filtered light in the pursuit of accuracy.
Like most reds, Mascate is a complete bitch to photograph, zinging out of gamut as soon as the light hits it, even with a relatively high-end camera. That's why so many online lipstick review pics are crap, in case you were wondering. I just hope you can find at least some of these shots informative.
And it really is goth rather than pin-up. Some reds are pleasers; they simper and twirl their hair at you. Mascate isn't one of them. It's a dramatic, nocturnal, Dominant ball-crusher. In that respect it's definitely too much so for some; I'd score it 7/10 for difficulty (as far as pulling off the colour goes), so it's not going to be an everyday thing for the average peep.
"... And lo, it did come to pass that ye moon it hath turn'd to blood and verily yon wench dare'd not tempt thee with tales of cunning harlot's folderol and baubles of deceit..."
I stole that last bit from Dracula, (I think it might have been trinkets of deceit, not baubles) but the rest is accurate; I didn't really feel it was right to post lipstick reviews during a lunar eclipse so I refrained for one whole week and now everybody pays! Because this week I'm probably going to pound you into the fucking ground with cunning harlot's folderol! LOL! (makes Hannibal Lecter fava bean sucking noise). Ah, film quotes- good enough for Euripides, good enough for me.
As for baubles of deceit, we're finally posting details of the awesome vintage Dior parure we acquired a wee while back > and offering said parure for sale, so if you've got some investment chingy scorching a hole in your pocket you might want to check that out this week. Hens' teeth, peeps. Flippin gorgeous hens' teeth.
Or maybe you're banging on the glass demanding that latest Day Monkey instalment you were promised some time ago; well, perhaps not demanding or even really wondering, but whatever- we have to redo a few pics, so maybe next week.
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Make Up Review
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Places & Things: A Blackthorn Review
The Lovely R
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