The Stone Roses

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Music has for close to fifty years been a key component of the jigsaw of my life. I have loved music since I was a child captured by the exotica associated with some fine recording artists including Three Bob’s, Dylan – see my earlier post here – Bob Dylan  – Marley and Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, The Eagles, The Doors, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones and Tom Waits.

In later years, and for the best part of quarter of a century, I earned my living in the Law, specifically Music Law representing some fascinating entrepreneurs, vagabonds and minstrels. It paid the bills and kept my music opiates topped up. I met some truly extraordinary people, who often lived complicated but wonderful lives devoted to engaging and entertaining others. Equally, I have met a fair proportion of consummate egoists, disinterested in those who don’t pander to them.

Simply put, music talks to my soul. It evokes memories. It causes the recall of sights, sounds and emotions.

Asked for my favourite song – that’s easy – U2’s “One”. I can rarely listen that complete wonder of a composition without tears in my eyes.

My favourite – what we used to call “Album” – being a collection of several songs that the artist (or their record company) has deliberately chosen to join together in some overall theme, concept or message. Honestly, again, that’s an easy one, the 1989 iconic debut album of the Manchester band “The Stone Roses” is simply one of the most complete and luxuriously beautiful bodies of work ever collected onto a 12” vinyl record, 4” digital CD or stream.

Depending on the format and country of release, “The Stone Roses” comprises a minimum of 12 recording that lasso a time, a mood and a vibe of the UK pre-BritPop explosion of the early 1990’s. Along with fellow Manc, The Happy Mondays, this album defined an era and is the soundtrack to the lives of me and many of my contemporaries.

Ian Brown (vocals) and John Squire (guitars) who had known each other from Altrincham Grammar School For Boys – somewhere I often played rugby on Saturday mornings in the late 1970’s – formed and disbanded several bands prior to being joined by Gary “Mani” Mounfield (bass) and Alan John “Reni” Wren (drums) to form The Stone Roses (Squire’s name), a guitar indi-rock band that sprung from the vibrant Madchester scene of the UK’s second city.

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Having composed and recorded songs for a demo, the band sent out 100 demo cassettes that featured the artwork of Squire, a very talented fine artist. This was followed by touring, further production and the release of some tracks to little commercial effect.

In August 1988 the band played Dingwalls in London in the presence of A&R representatives from South African owned label, Zomba and Geoff Travis one of the founders of the seminal indie, Rough Trade.

Rough Trade paid for some studio time and suggested Peter Hook bassist with New Order as a potential producer, when Hook was unavailable, Geoff suggested John Leckie a former Abbey Road award winning producer with an amazing production pedigree including Pink Floyd, XTC and Radiohead. The Stone Rose were signed to Zomba by Roddy McKenna and appeared on Andrew Lauder and Andy Richmond’s  Silvertone inprint. Rough Trade sold their tapes of “Elephant Stone” to Zomba.

Singles from the eponymous album were released in early 1989 and drew the attention of the all important Radio One. The Album, with John Squire/Jackson Pollock inspired artwork, was released on 2nd May 1989, went on to win the NME Reader’s Poll for Best Album of the Year. The Album is certified in the UK as triple platinum, notching sales in excess of 900,000 units.

To add a copy of The Stone Roses to your collection – click the link below the image:

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The Stone Roses (20th Anniversary Legacy Edition)

Images used with grateful thanks – Sony Music and Ian Tilton/NME

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Radio Flyer

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If you, like me, are a fan of US movies and TV series, then the iconic Radio Flyer will be more than familiar. Indeed, I know they must be sold in other parts of the world, but like so many everyday iconic items of US life – check out our earlier post on Iconic US Sweets/Candies –  Iconic American Candy – Part 1 – I don’t think I have seen one for sale in the UK. Certainly, when my kids would have loved such a product they weren’t available.

For generations, US kids have carted themselves, several siblings, pets, toys and other important treasures in these charming red trolley wagons. A wonderful item  of great simplicity that’s use is limited only by the depths of a child’s imagination. As American as “Milk Duds” but what’s their story?

2017 saw the celebration of the first hundred years of the Radio Flyer. Antonio Pasin, a Venetian born son of a cabinet maker who, aged 16, in 1913 arrived in New York City to start a new life. In 1917, in Chicago, he started building wooden toy wagons and selling them to local shops. He was a jobbing joiner who built the wooden wagons to carry his tools.

Demand for the wagons led to Pasin forming the Liberty Coaster Company in 1923, and ten years after he made his first wooden wagons he was making pressed steel versions and selling them for just under $3.00. He was very interested in the many production techniques used in the local car industry, earning himself the nickname “Little Ford”. In the 1930’s he produced several versions of his “Liberty Coaster” including The Streak-O-Lite” and The Zephyr that echoed the Chrysler Airflow.

Renaming the company in 1930 the Radio Steel and Manufacturing, the brand name “Radio Flyer” stemming from Pasin’s fascination with the pioneers of Radio (Marconi) and Flight (Lindbergh).

Production was interrupted during the latter stages of the Second World War and turned to oil drum manufacture but the company survived. In 1987 Radio Steel and Manufacturinf became “Radio Flyer Inc” which has been overseen by Pasin’s grandson, Robert as CEO, since 1997.

The company’s range of Radio Flyer and associated products grows annually and aside from being voted a great company to work for, its iconic products are rooted deep in the warmth of the American psyche.

Images used with grateful thanks – Radio Flyer Inc., ClassicCars.com and Vintage Vending Inc.

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Unsung but Essential Icons

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As I control the creative direction of Aestheticons I choose what’s featured. Largely that means that I chose aspirational gems. However, instead of looking up in awe and appreciation we need to consider the more mundane.

The items featured in this piece are neither glamorous, alluring – unless you are into the really weird – nor really do anything in excess of their primary function. At that, they are superlative and without them elements of our busy lives would be a struggle. They are Unsung – not enjoying massive Instagram accounts with millions of adoring followers – but Essential Icons.

Cable ties

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I defy anyone who derives the smallest amount of pleasure from tending a garden, to fix a plant to a trellace or a bamboo cane or a brush screening to a gate without the use of a cable tie. Not only can this devilishly small but wonder strips of plastic fixing be a the gardener’s friend, they, with equal competence, support the work of electrician, plumbers and builders and many others in thousands of conceived and yet to be conceived ways.

Known as originally as Ty-Rap, cable ties were first invented, primarily to secure airplane wiring into the bulkhead, in 1958 by US based electrical business Thomas & Betts and more particularly their employee, Maurus C. Logan. Mr Logan developed into production the idea he’d conceived of aboard a Boeing during construction. The Patent was submitted on 24th June 1958.

Why not add to your tool drawer with this Amtech selection of 500 cable ties? Click the AMAZON link below the image

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Amtech S0680 Assorted Cable Tie, 500-Piece

WD40

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As our readers know I Like to cycle but over the winter months my bike has a tendency to be a little neglected and exposed to the elements. When the cooler seasons have done their worst on my waistline the time is right to look for the foot pump and adaptor and get some air into those bike tyres. The tyres are only half the battle. The gears, brakes and chain scream out for the TLC that can only be lavished on them by WD40 the spray delivered a light penetrating, protecting and lubricating oil.

As the saying goes a “Sucess has many Fathers” and there appears to be some controversy as to originator of WD-40. It seems that the formula of WD-40 was developed in 1953 by The Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, California and first produced in commercially available quantities in 1958. The contributions – depending on sources – of a Iver Norman Lawson and a Norman Larson (President of Rocket) are named as the “inventor” of the formula with the name WD-40 seemingly stemming from the expression “Water Displacement  40th Formula” – suggesting there may have been a 39th, 38th and so on versions of the formula.

It may be that Lawson invented the low viscosity formula – still a trade secret but still has the original and distinctive smell – and sold it to Rocket where Larson had the bright idea of putting it into aerosol cans. It arrived in the UK in the late 1960’s.

For those many jobs around the home or office for which only WD-40 will do, why not pick up a can or two by clicking the AMAZON link below the image?

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3 x WD-40 Smart Straw Aerosol 420ml Penetrant, Lubricant, Releasant Oil / Stops squeaks / Cleans and protects / Loosens rusted parts / Frees sticky mechanisms

Paper Clips

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As a lawyer I am very pro the paper-less office, technology can teach us loads about sensible digital storage and retrieval. In parking our fears and posting to the Cloud we make a statement that’s more about efficiency and less about tree hugging.

For years we relied on the trust paper clip to secure our files, ensure correct attachments to letters and avoid inevitable embarrassment on a windy day. Called a “Trombone” in French, a literal use that I find very appealing, the simple paper clip does exactly what the tin says.

History tells us that in the US on April 23rd 1867 Samuel B. Fay successfully obtained the first Patent for a bent wire paper clip. On November 7th 1899 William D Middlebrook obtained a Patent for a paper clip making machine that produced an item – made popular as the “Gem Paper Clip” which went on sale in the UK in the 1870’s – and are similar to those sold today. The name Gem – trademarked in the US by Cushman and Denison in 1904 – became known Worldwide and in Sweden, I am told, that the word for paper clip is “Gem”.

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No desk is complete without a selection of plastic coated paper clips – please click the AMAZON link below the image to get yours.

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Zealor Paper Clips with Assorted Colors and Sizes (28 mm, 50 mm, 100 mm)

Image Credits – with grateful thanks – http://www.officemuseum.com, Zealor and the WD-40 Company Inc.

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Favourite T-Shirts

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I have a favourite T Shirt – our featured image. It’s not the slightly lewd text, nor the “End of the Pier” – “Nudge, Nudge” – humour that appeals most to me. It’s the fact that Mrs W bought it over 20 years ago in New York City and it is loved as much for the item as the thought that went into its purchase.

Indeed it may have been on impulse – she doesn’t like shopping much – but it is the expression of her view towards me as her then relatively new husband who was coming to terms with his then slightly thinning hair. It’s been worn by us both over the years and amazingly it has outlasted many branded shirts that have been worn half as much.

I like T-Shirts especially as the summer turns to crank up the heat into the early 30’s.

T-Shirts have, in my view, to deliver in two simple respects. They need to be 100% cotton – whatever the brands try to persuade you of their new wonder fabric that will keep you as cool as a Polar Bear’s backside – sorry cotton is best. It’s also needs to be slightly on the big side allowing it to flap in whatever wind is available capturing some cooling and fanning effect as it goes.

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For me, some of the very best T-Shirts are made by Fruit of the Loom – they are consistently good and I really respect a company that stays loyal – in the main – to the one product that they are noted for and deliver year after year. We have featured Fruit of the Loom on Aestheticons before and you can read our previous post here – Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

I really like certain iconic T-Shirts that shout loudly about your preferences. Many of you will know of my love for New York City and the iconic Milton Glaser design – I ❤️ NY – is simply, though a little cliched by over familiarity, but as valid as a tattoo.

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Equally my London home is well represented by the shirts of the Hard Rock Cafe – again a little jaded and over-exposed – you can pick up the same shirt in London, Moscow or Marbella – but still its a cultural icon. Hard Rock Cafe T Shirt

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Last year I picked up on a ranking of the 10 most Iconic T-Shirts – Iconic T-Shirts    there will be those who will make it their mission – not in any charitable campaign sense but just as a bit of fun – to seek to collect all 10. Not for me, but please go ahead.

Enjoy the summer and enjoy your T-Shirts and I’d love to know which T-Shirts are your treasures!

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Image credits – with grateful thanks – Milton Glaser, Hard Rock Cafe and Fruit of the Loom.

 

Braun Calculator

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Sometimes it’s not about doing the different but its about doing the similar only looking and functioning better.

I recently received a birthday gift from a very old friend, a Limited Edition white Braun Calculator. My pal has particularly good taste – obviously other than his clearly suspect taste in friends – and I know that he has championed, amongst other products, these perfect, stylish and durable calculators for years.

A little like the argument about why do you need a camera or a calculator when you have an IPhone? Surely they cover the same bases. Yes but no. Admittedly, you may need more than pockets or even a brief case to carry your choice of camera, calculator, Filofax – which, mark my words is about to see a resurgence supported by ‘back to basics’ and ‘digital detoxing’ Millennials – wallet, alarm clock and phone but there is something fun and creative in developing your portfolio of preferred items and relishing their use for their specialized task.

You are probably saying, Braun, don’t they make shavers, depilatory trimmers and hairstyling tools – and you’d be right. Originally, only available in black the iconic ET44 and ET66 Braun Calculator (the latter has an additional and very useful slide on protective cover) were collaboratively designed by Dietrich Lubs and Dieter Rams in 1977 and 1987, respectively.

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Dieter Rams, joined Braun in 1955, a German business originally founded by Engineer, Max Braun, who made radio sets in Frankfurt in 1921, and it comprises a beautiful and practical example of Rams’ lean design philosophy “weniger, aber besser” – literally “less, but better”. It is said that early Apple designers – Rams is known to have been a huge influence on Apple’s chief designer, Jonathan Ives – were so influenced by the look of the ET44 that the original IPhone calculator app, down to the yellow “equals” button, and the early incarnations of the IPod bore striking resemblances to the Lubs/Rams designs, including the ET44.

The ET44 and ET66 are not Rams and Lubs’ only iconic collaboration for Braun. From 1971, we also have the the charming and hugely tactile AB1A travel alarm clock, another exceptional example of function, great design and adherence to Rams’ simple design mantra. It’s almost a pleasure to wake up to its shrill chirrup!

If you’d like to add these beautiful, highly practical and iconic objects to your personal collection please click the AMAZON link below the image in the following gallery.

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Braun Calculator – White

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Braun Calculator – Black

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Braun Classic Square Travel Alarm Clock BNC002WHWH – White

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Braun Classic Square Travel Alarm Clock BNC002BK – Black

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Image credits – with grateful thanks – Braun AG and Zeon Ltd.

Drones – Stunning Aerial Photography

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At Aestheticons we are as happy to feature future classic designs as we are to revel in the nostalgia of older and equally classical designs or iconic products.

It cannot have failed to appeal to many the proliferation of swooping visual images that are present in documentaries – David Attenborough’s “Blue Planet II” is a good example. Images that appear to be taken from extraordinary heights giving a very wide angled shot of a coast, mountain range or New York scene effortlessly skirting the tall buildings. Whilst these magical images are not the result of an army of small people in miniature helicopters, they are, in the main, shot using cameras mounted on Drones the technology of which has allowed even novice filmmakers to shoot astonishing footage.

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These small unmanned aircraft are known formally as “unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)” more commonly known as a Drone. They fly either by remote control, operated by a human often ion the ground whilst others with more militaristic uses have onboard computers. It is thought that by 2015 over a million Drones had been sold for non-military purposes – such as aerial photography.

In many major countries notably the USA, UK and Australia the the Regulations that control the flying of Drones are for, obvious of air safety reason, increasingly strict. For the UK the DroneSafe website is a very good source of reference and aims to provide useful and practical advise to ensure air safety. Whilst safety is paramount it is still possible to use Drones to take impressive images.

GoPro – see here our previous post on these amazing cameras – Go Pro Hero 4 camera is one of the largest producers of what are described as “sports cameras” capable of astonishing, highly focussed and stable images. Go-Pro have attached their Go-Pro camera technology via a gimbal – giving incredible stability and wide-angels – to a series of Drones under the brand name “Karma”.

See here the Youtuber and celebrated filmmaker, Casey Neistat, testing the Karma in 2016. Go-Pro Karma Note that this vlog has been viewed over 7.5m times!

See here Casey testing – and raving about – the DJi Mavic Pro in later 2016 – Is this still the Greatest Drone Ever? DJI Mavic Pro as seen by 9.5m people!

Would you like a DJI Mavic Pro – if so, click the following AMAZON link

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DJI Mavic Pro Drone – Grey

Sadly, the Karma was troubled by technical issues, not the success that Go-Pro had hoped for and was eventually withdrawn citing increased flying regulation as reducing the overall market. My feeling is that this is an acknowledgement that DJi have won the Drone battle but it also highlights the speed with which success and failure can visit current technologies and great designs.

The DJi range has been augmented by the addition of the more beginner focussed DJi Spark – hotly tipped to be the best selling drone in 2018 – see here Casey’s review DJI Spark

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DJI CP.PT.000746 DJI Spark Drone, Alpine White

How comforting to see that technology has the power to save live – yes for real! In what is said to be a first, news reports in January 2018 from Australia show a Coast Guard Drone being used to deploy a safety raft to two surfers who were trapped by heavy seas off the coast of Lennox Head in New South Wales – see the dramatic footage here – Drone Saves Surfers

STOP PRESS: 23.01.18 – bringing you right up to date – by coincidence DJi launch their new Drone called the “DJi MAVIC Air” and here is Casey Neistat being thrilled to review this new piece of tech. Casey Neistat Reviews the DJi MAVIC AIR 

We will keep you updated on this and let you know when you will be able buy the DJi MAVIC Air through our pages. Thanks for reading.

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Image credits – with grateful thanks to Casey Neistat, Go-Pro, DJi, National Geographic, http://www.aerojo.com and Euronews.

 

BOSE – Future Design Classics

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The world of personal electronics is clearly one of the fastest moving. Trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, conveniently in January each year, introduce the world to the eye opening developments that have taken a number of years of careful testing prior to bringing to market. The press will be flush with excitement as the market discovers those little boxes that are going to add massively to our lives.

In my search to bring you what may be regarded as “Future Design Classics”, I have scoured the trade shows of recent years seeking identify those aesthetic icons that may already be very popular but also I believe they will stand the test of time.

The first company whose products are, in my view, worthy of the accolade Future Design Classic are made by BOSE. A US corporation based in Framingham (Massachusetts) and was founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar G Bose (who died in July 2013). BOSE is perhaps best known for its home audio systems and speakers, noise cancelling headphones, professional audio systems and automobile sound systems.

BOSE’s QuietComfort 35 noise cancelling headphone are simply superb. Launched in 2016 they are available in silver or black and use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly. They are ultra comfortable and comprise a simple folding mechanism to be stored when not in use. Widely regarded as the “best of breed” noise cancelling headphones they will permit you to enjoy music or a film on a plane train or on a crowded street. They have the additional advantage of a power cord should the headphone battery run out mid-Atlantic allowing you to enjoy the remains of your film – but with less sound screening.

The SoundLink Mini is a loud speaker that smaller and lighter version of the successful SoundLink Mobile and was introduced in 2013. It weighs just 0.7 kg and includes a charging cradle as well as a power socket. The case is made of sandblasted aluminium. Reviewers and users have praised the excellent sound and build quality. SoundLink Mini uses Bluetooth to play audio from cell phones and other portable devices. Some excellent silicon and leather cases for this beautiful practical and portable mini speaker have been made available by BOSE and others in the market.

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In August 2017, the SoundLink Mini II was superceded by the technically more advanced SoundLink Revolve, a conical shaped and aluminium clad mini-speaker, with patented sound delivery. Its sound is big and bold – far superior to the plethora of other Bluetooth mini-speakers on the market. Its real, “head and shoulders” superiority comes from its technology that allows it to be heard from all aspects as you move around the speaker.

If you would like own one of thses BOSE products that we believe will be Future Design Classics please click the following AMAZON links:

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – BlackBose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker – Triple Black

Whilst we are told that stocks of the SoundLink Mini II can still be obtained we’d encourage you to check with your local suppliers – that’s just how good we feel these mini speakers are!

An interesting postscript: A majority of BOSE Corporation’s shares were gifted by Dr. Bose in 2013 to his alma mater MIT who are prohibited from selling their shares in BOSE and are unable to participate in the management and governance of the company.

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Photos by Bose