This is another phone box set I spotted in Northampton on Hallowe’en 2015.
I think these ones are very pretty with the flowers, autumn leaves and memorial in the background. It’s nice when red phone boxes are still a feature of town centres.
…is gradually, very gradually, starting to feel like home. Sort of.
I spent most of today dismantling the old Ikea Billy bookshelves that we don’t have space for anymore. The plan is to make new ones out of them, but I’ll get my dad’s advice on that when he’s visiting later this week. I also put one Billy up in the living room as temporary shelving next to the TV. If I like the way it looks long-term it may get a reprieve. It’s currently holding all our ornaments, which sounds frivolous but actually has the useful function of giving us some time to work out which ones we like looking at enough to keep.
Boxes are also getting unpacked a bit quicker than expected. This is mainly because twice a day I realise that I need something, but don’t know which exact box it’s in, so I have to go through a few before I find the thing. There’s not really anywhere for the stuff to go yet, but I am finding a lot of temporary solutions.
This week should be a real breakthrough, as once my parents have visited, we will have the walls painted upstairs, meaning that we can get the furniture finalised up there, meaning that I can get all our clothes and accessories put away. Well, in my case, about 40% of them. Dear God, I have far too many clothes. The amount I’ve pulled out of boxes this week has been enough to send anyone screaming into the night. The main reason I’m so impatient to get to my target weight is that I can’t wait for the giant trying-everything-on-and-then-getting-rid-of-most-of-it session that I’m not allowed to have until then. You never know what might suddenly look awesome at target, so I’m not allowed to chuck anything out till then, no matter how old and scraggy it is.
(I realised yesterday that one of my current-rotation bras is about twenty years old, judging by the style of the M&S label. Somehow, I don’t think it will survive the cull.)
I have a few pictures of this phone box, which I consider one of my ‘local’ red phone boxes as I can get there on the Metro; Newcastle itself doesn’t have any red phone boxes (other than the mystery derelict one in Gosforth that I have never managed to find), but there are plenty in other areas of Tyneside and Wearside. The first photo I have of it was taken by my dad when my parents were out exploring the area on their first visit to see us here:
The phone box has since been taken over by BT’s Adopt-a-Kiosk scheme, and is now an art installation. Good to see it getting some love.
I did some phone box hunting while in Northampton on Hallowe’en 2015 for the wedding of my friends Bod and Blanka:
You can’t really see from this picture, but when I was on Google Street View to find out the name of the street, I realised that there’s actually another phone box behind this one. Next time I’m in Northampton I’ll make sure to take a picture of the both of them!
Every time (it feels like) I pass these phone boxes, it’s when Geth and I are rushing from the bus to the train. On this occasion, it was absolutely pouring, meaning that Geth was extra-especially grumpy about having to stop for me to take pictures of phone boxes.
I was pretty happy about it, though, because this particular date is an important date in the story of one of the novel series I’m writing, and I always envisaged it as being rainy in Edinburgh on that day. Given how often it rains in Edinburgh, though, I don’t think that notion was particularly prophetic. It feels like there’s a 70% chance of rain at any point, even when it’s been bright blue skies for days. You can never be too careful.
Well, I did say February was going to be big for vintage fairs. Averaging two a week at the moment!
Today I went to the Vintage Pop-Up at Newcastle Student Union, put on by University Vintage Fairs. Like the one at Northumbria I went to last week, it was quite a small affair, but I managed to pick up another addition to my ’80s jumper collection:
Seeing as winter’s not showing any signs of going away yet, I’m going to count this one as a ‘sensible’ purchase!
Another weekend, another vintage fair! Today I went to the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, for the fair put on by Britain Does Vintage, and added a few more pieces to my collection…
From left to right, the black material is a wool-blend bolero jacket, the silver floral material is a dress, and the shiny matching things are clip-on earrings. Very pleased with today’s haul!
This week’s phone box is the first one I found in the North East of England, outside Durham Cathedral.
When I took this one, I remember Geth going on a big rant about how there was this beautiful medieval cathedral right in front of me and there I was, taking a photo of the phone box. An older lady who was walking past backed me up, saying ‘they don’t make them like that anymore!’ They most certainly don’t. Anyway, I did take a photo of the cathedral as well:
But frankly, you can see pictures of Durham Cathedral any time you like (given that it has a Wikipedia page and everything), and you can’t say that about the Durham Cathedral phone box.
There have been a few periods in my life where I’ve tried to fit in with the prevailing fashions of the day, but in all honesty, I’ve never really succeeded, and when I look at photos of myself during those periods, I always think I look uncomfortable and not quite right. The style of the ’80s has always felt ‘correct’ to me; it gives me a strong sense of ‘these are what clothes SHOULD look like’, and later fashions just look dowdy and unstylish to my eye. I’m not sure whether I just internalised it really strongly when I first came into the world, or whether I’ve just come to love that aesthetic by chance, but thirty years later it’s still what I’m drawn to, and I think I always will be.
So, my history of being an ’80s fashion throwback, then. I don’t think it counts as being a ‘throwback’ when you’re still in the actual ’80s, but that’s where it began, and clearly my toddlerhood was the best dressed era of my life:
I wore so many different (and AWESOME) outfits during this era. I guess most toddlers go through lots of different clothes, due to the whole rapid body growth thing, but looking at pictures it really seems like in my five short years spent in the ’80s I wore more clothes than in the rest of my life put together.
Shame they couldn’t all have grown with me. Especially the moon ‘n’ stars nightdress in the bottom right corner, my favourite nightdress of all time.
The ’90s, meanwhile, were probably my most difficult decade fashion-wise. Due to a combination of hand-me-downs from family friends, thick curly hair that utterly refused to be browbeaten into the poker-straight trend it was supposed to be following, and a stubborn fully-developed taste that meant I was already gravitating towards the styles of the ’80s, I spent the whole decade doing the awkward ‘dated by quite a few years, but not enough to be retro or vintage yet’ look:
Jeans, especially, I found so awkward – I was drawn to high-rise straight-leg styles, but as the decade went on, they became more low-rise and bootcut – that it put me off them for a long time, and nowadays I don’t own any blue jeans at all. When I reach my target weight, I’ll maybe give them another go.
The ’00s were better (not in general fashion terms – I think the trends of the ’00s were the absolute nadir of fashion in my lifetime so far – but for me personally in terms of style). My teen years, 1998-2004, coincided with the first big wave of ’80s nostalgia in pop culture (The Wedding Singer! The BBC’s I Love The ’80s series! The accompanying CD that I got for Christmas in 2001! Bergerac repeats on BBC2 every day while I was on school exam leave! Websites such as Like Totally ’80s starting up! ’00s indie bands aping ’80s indie bands…now I’m nostalgic for a period of nostalgia. I’ll stop there), and so it was then that I first became conscious that I loved the ’80s so much – that the music was better, the films and TV shows were better, the fashion was better. (I also had a brief flirtation with the early ’70s due to my love of glam rock. You can’t beat a pair of silver glitter platform boots.)
2003 was also the year I became goth. Goth is a wonderful subculture for ’80s throwbacks of a certain style, because the look has basically stayed the same since 1978, and all the clubs play lots of post-punk and synthpop. Utter bliss.
As such, my ’00s look can basically be divided into pre-2004 (Madonna-style fishnet gloves, jelly bracelets and plastic beads from Claire’s Accessories in every shade of primary and neon) and post-2004 (mainly goth, with occasional disastrous forays into mainstream contemporary fashion):
Which brings us to the ’10s. The less said about the first half of the decade, the better – I was uncomfortably overweight and spent most of it hiding away in leggings, baggy t-shirts and hoodies – but now that I’ve lost most of the weight, I’m starting to remember how to have fun with fashion again, hence my recent interest in cultivating a vintage ’80s wardrobe.
I know – from reading stuff by people who are into mid-century vintage – that as time goes on, ’80s vintage stuff won’t always be as readily available and affordable as it is at the moment. As such, I’m making the most of it, with the aim of being able to dress in clothes from my favourite decade for the rest of my life. I hope I’ll be lucky and long-lived enough to be eighty or ninety years out of date one day!
A good vintage fair day today! I went to the Vintage & Street Food Market at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle, put on by Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs. I didn’t even notice any street food vendors (probably because of the overriding allure of The Shiny), but I managed to get some of the essential purchases that were on my list for this year:
From left to right: the black velvet material is a knee-length pencil skirt, which I’ve been looking for since I realised I needed to replace my old black pencil skirt with the broken zip (I got that one from Matalan in 2001, so it’s ‘not due me anything’ as my mum always says). The silver shiny material is a lightweight vintage ’80s miniskirt that will look awesome with going-out outfits this year, and the black and blue materials with the fabulously old-fashioned gilt buttons are blouses for the spring and summer. I’m so excited for the weather to get warmer now. Just have to be patient for a few more weeks.