One of the things that I love about my usual watering hole is the decor. Bars can be charming or horrid or amusing or dull in many different ways (one local dive actually has a huge mural of dogs playing poker on the wall, for example), mostly dictated by the kinds of clientele they wish to serve. My regular joint is furnished with antiques, and it’s quite homey and lovely; it reminds me a bit of filmed representations of old English gentlemen’s private clubs. Note that it’s not furnished in antiques the way, say, TGI Fridays or Applebees or some other such place might be. No, it’s home to a rotating, subtle display of hand-chosen items rather than a mad collection of old stuff.
Sometimes, there are treasures to be found there. Once, for example, the little lounge/powder room outside of the ladies’ restroom was haunted by a wedding dress.
She stood there by the radiator, headless and mysterious, for months. Then, just as mysteriously, she disappeared, and the powder room gained a comfy little settee instead.
There’s also a lovely old radio on the premises, one that is also mysteriously mobile; it first started in the little lounge/game-themed room, and now occupies a spot between the main bar and the pool room. I don’t think it works, but it seems to whisper when you look at it.
Recently, I noticed a rather interesting book in the game room: the 1966 hardcover (cloth, not leather) edition of Boyhood Photos of J.H. Lartigue: The Family Album of a Gilded Age
. The photographer himself, Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986)
took the images featured in the book when he was a child, and they are delightful. There’s a sort of daffy charm about them, especially the wide selection of photos of people either fallen or in flight. He had a gift, even as a small boy, for capturing such moments.
There’s a kind of giddy energy in the motion that Lartigue captured, and the sense of a child seeing something amazingly funny and wonderful. What could be better than sitting down with a nice little drink to laugh with Lartigue?
Each flight and each fall is magical…and each one defines and defies something.
The falls and leaps are especially interesting when posed in contrast to the scenes of elegantly dressed women that also populate the pages of the text.
They stand in grace, even as on other pages their sisters fall and float and run.
It’s all rather marvelous, really.
[See a whole set of the images — not the whole book, though — here.]
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