They are garish, faded relics of a time gone by: the towering electrified signs signalling motels, diners, stores and bowling alleys that sprang up across the US in the 20th century. As car culture boomed, brightly lit signs became the advertising method of choice for roadside businesses, with bold colours and cartoon-like graphics competing to grab the attention of passing drivers. Many are now under threat, either too expensive to maintain, destroyed by bad weather or torn down for new developments. However, a passionate following of vintage sign enthusiasts has evolved, with thousands of photos on Instagram using hashtags such as #signhunters, #signmongers and #signspotters. Popular accounts include @everything_signage, whose team of curators shares its favourites with 16,000 followers. The first commercial electric signs used incandescent bulbs, before neon became popular in the 1940s and 50s, and their potential demise has prompted local movements to fight to preserve them as … [Read more...] about Flickering out: fans fight to preserve the last vintage electrified signs
Quotes about preserving culture
Winning tip: architectural gems, Hakodate This summer I visited Hakodate, on the southernmost point of Hokkaido. On steep hills overlooking the harbour is the area where the outside world set up trading and diplomatic missions following the end of policy of isolation in the mid-19th century. You find colonial-style European architecture mixed with Japanese features such as sliding doors, painted scrolls and pine tree bonsai. There is even the sound of church bells from a Russian orthodox church. These buildings feel unique, not just within Japan but the world. You can go inside many of them to learn more: we visited the former British consulate for just over £2, to see historical exhibits, preserved rooms and a well-kept rose garden. Will The Lion Café, Tokyo The Japanese reverence for high-quality recorded music finds an outlet in classical music listening cafes. One of the oldest is Meikyoku Kissa Lion, the Lion Cafe, opened in 1926. It is in the sleaziest part of Shibuya, … [Read more...] about Cultural highlights of Japan: readers’ travel tips
So, what’s all this about a milkshake duck? In June 2016, Twitter user @PixelatedBoat coined a neologism that was arguably robbed as Oxford Dictionaries’ 2017 word of the year: “Milkshake duck”. The tweet went viral for neatly describing a now familiar arc, where the internet rushes en masse to embrace something or someone as cute, worthy, fun or funny – then just as quickly drops it, when it’s revealed to somehow be unpleasantly complicated. In just 140 characters, as was the style at the time, @PixelatedBoat encapsulated social media’s inclination to cast heroes and villains in black and white; to gloss over nuance and pay for it later; its short-sightedness, its fickleness, its breakneck pace, and its penchant for animals doing human things. With 30,000 favourites to date, the tweet is about as close to canon as it gets on a platform built for goldfish memories. “Milkshake duck” has become a useful shorthand, referenced if (or, … [Read more...] about What is a milkshake duck? And why isn’t it the word of the year?
The Grand Quarter of Leeds, a Georgian tower overlooking Bath, and a group of prefabricated Victorian lighthouses are at risk of being lost forever, according to the agency in charge of preserving England’s heritage. The sites are among hundreds that have been added to the Heritage at Risk register, meaning they are deemed by Historic England to be vulnerable to decay, neglect or inappropriate development. As well as the historic streets around Leeds’s New Briggate, the first part of the Yorkshire city to be developed beyond its medieval boundaries in the 1600s, the register now includes Beckford’s tower, a much-loved landmark built in the early 19th century for the writer William Beckford as a store for his books and viewing point over the city of Bath, and the Dovercourt lighthouses and causeway off Harwich in Essex. They are joined on the at-risk register by the Grade II-listed Lower Leas funicular railway in Folkestone and the former Weedon Barracks in … [Read more...] about More than 200 English sites added to Heritage at Risk register
Jimmy Kimmel “President Trump had a very difficult day today,” said Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday night. On the thousandth day of his presidency, Donald Trump met with Democrats and had what the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, called a “meltdown”. “Which, is it even really a meltdown any more?” Kimmel asked. “Trump didn’t have a meltdown – he had a Wednesday. “The White House claims Trump was measured, factual and decisive, not hysterical,” Kimmel continued, pointing to one of the president’s bizarre tweets from the day: a picture of Pelosi standing at a table full of men, captioned: “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” “He really should be writing headlines for the Enquirer instead of running the country,” said Kimmel. The meeting with Pelosi was ostensibly to discuss the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, a military strike against America’s Kurdish allies facilitated by the president … [Read more...] about Jimmy Kimmel: ‘Trump didn’t have a meltdown – he had a Wednesday’