Category Archives: 40s and Vintage


I’ve been testing out my new Royal 1920s typewriter, (yes I have a new one, delightful photograph below), and its been settling in nicely. Testing and typing is therapeutic. I set up my cup of tea, lean back, type a thing, evitably make a mistake and try to backspace, end up making a mark that looks like a distressed bird, scrap it, retype, get lost, and as it turns dark. I’ve been penning strange letters to no one in particular as a result. I still can’t resolve the margin issues and now all my lines still look like they are free-flying. The ‘b’ key fails to work and so I venture to do a little skipping continuous click to keep up with the momentum. Faster and faster it is a race that I must catch – I am a little shopmistress in a cloth boutique handling the cash register – cling-ding!



The shop owner’s wife collects typewriters. She has a pretty one called ‘Princess’ that I love. My mind strays to an amusing anecdote that H had told me, about a little girl he met in Philippines during a work trip who told him that her name was Princess. H cannot stand princesses. He has high expectations of girls to be proper and independent and not whimsical and spoilt. I think otherwise, and that a Princess typewriter sounds enchanting! I had asked the shopowner if he had a typewriter in pink, or mint. He had laughed and said that those would definitely cost upwards of a thousand dollars, because of their rarity. For me, I feel my typing soul feels black and old. So the one I got is just right. Though sometimes I am charmed by a little bit of cursive, or a straying musical note. Imagine a typewriter that types music – Like the Olympia modified manual typewriters! Function or nostalgia?

“According to the History of Music Printing website, the MusicWriter was invented by Cecil Effinger, a noted choral composer and music professor who created his first prototype in 1946. His company, Music Print Corporation, worked with various manufacturers (including Olympia and Smith Corona, the creators of this particular model) to produce more than 5,000 MusicWriters from 1956 to 1990.

The keyboard was used to put musical characters on any page. You could work on manuscript paper or use the MusicWriter to create even the staff lines. Unlike a typewriter, the MusicWriter carriage does not advance after striking a key: the user has to very carefully position the paper wherever they want to add any character. Many items, including slurs, ties, and beams had to be drawn by hand. Details of how music was created with the MusicWriter can be seen here.

While ingenious for its time, the MusicWriter didn’t handle transpositions, apply music spacing, or do any of the countless things we take for granted with software today — even in the $10 Finale NotePad. A Boulder History Museum webpage acknowledges this disparity: “Unfortunately, due to the advent of computers, MusicWriters quickly became obsolete.” – finale blog

Some of my favourites that the shopowner has owned/owns:

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Authors and their typewriters…


The shopowner told me that they sometimes have gatherings at the Penny University cafe where all the typewriter-struck folks in Singapore gather, set up their typewriters and type their thoughts – a decidedly hipster affair. Lugging the box itself (my typewriter claims to be portable) is fatal. However, I still think it sounds enchanting! They also gather to do typewriter related craft activities and watch old documentaries on vintage typewriters. Somehow it sounds like something that you, Irving, would love to do too.

The story of how I came to get a typewriter- how and when did it start? But I had been flipping back on this blog’s archives one of those days and I had found that actually I had mused on wanting a typewriter AND a recordplayer in 2011. H’s declaration that I have been struck by G.A.D (gear acquisition syndrome) would be right. I think I am satisfied with these (for now, he claims), and dream on typing and playing a Carla Bruni record on a rooftop sometimes.

I’m thinking of taking custom orders for quotes, letters and such, but thats for another day…


Anna Karina – Jamais je ne t’ai dit que je t’aimerai toujour

I love this song so much and it describes the female psyche so much. Especially the delightful ending!

So fun!! Although my fate-line is short…at least it is a little point on my hand.

Irving, when you come, we have to dance like this all around the island! You have to do the twirl with me! Please watch and MASTER the video VERY carefully. Haha!

And if you complain, please note that at least I did not tell you to learn this one:

Ce Soir ou Jamais!

The Purple Rose of Cairo

“At the depth of the Great Depression, downtrodden waitress Cecilia (Mia Farrow) finds solace from an abusive husband and financial woes by loosing herself at her local movie theater. She soon found herself spellbound by The Purple Rose of Cairo, a brittle pre-Code comedy set in Art Deco penthouses and nightclubs populated by slick Manhattan-ites in fur coats, tuxedos and tails. The film’s ingenious self-reflexivity materializes when one character, pith-helmeted explorer Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels), glances out from the screen and addresses Cecilia directly. He proceeds to climb down from the silver screen, and leaves with her, as the stranded performers question their existence and the movie patrons rebuke them for allowing the plot to fall apart. Wooed by Baxter’s charm, Cecilia finds herself falling for him – until she meets Gil Shepherd (also Jeff Daniels), the real actor who plays him. Romanced by both a fictional character and a famous star, Cecilia struggles to locate the shifting line between fantasy and reality, only to discover that sometimes it’s just a heartbeat away.”

Did you or did you not like Mia Farrow in The Great Gatsby? I’m off to see this movie tonight at the open air cinema/ National Museum, and am gorgeously excited! I think the plot sounds brilliant. I bet you have already watched it, Irving, but if you haven’t, here’s a little slaver of temptation.

The film noir play I spoke about, which I am scriptwriting/co-directing/acting for will show tomorrow! We have tried to keep it slick, but in the end added a little camp given the nature of the audience. Just been so terribly busy outside work! But I am thrilled everything is coming together!

Also kudos to B.C for helping me to get Natsu Matsuri tickets. I am looking forward to it so much, and will dance around in my yukuta and squeal with little Japanese children and do the Bondori!


Henry Stevenson (Burt Lancaster) to wife Leona (Barbara Stanwyck): “I want you to do something. I want you to get yourself out of the bed, and get over to the window and scream as loud as you can. Otherwise you only have another three minutes to live.” Sorry Wrong Number, 1948
Strangers on a Train
Senator Morton (Leo G. Carroll): “Poor unfortunate girl.”
Barbara Morton (Patricia Hitchcock): “She was a tramp.”
Senator: “She was a human being. Let me remind you that even the most unworthy of us has a right to life and the pursuit of happiness.”
Barbara: “From what I hear she pursued it in all directions.”Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) to Guy Haines (Farley Granger): “I do your murder. You do mine. Criss-cross.”
Touch of Evil (1958)

Quinlan (Orson Welles): “I’m Hank Quinlan.”
Tanya (Marlene Dietrich): “I didn’t recognize you. You should lay off those candy bars.”

Quinlan: “Come on, read my future for me.”
Tanya: “You haven’t got any.”
Quinlan: “What do you mean?”
Tanya: “Your future is all used up.”

And my favourite:

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner): “Jonathan, will you marry me?”
Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas): “Not even a little bit.”
Film noir (literally, “black film” in French) evolved out of American hard-boiled detective novels and the cinematic influence of German Expressionism.  For every Hollywood fairytale produced during the 40s and 50s — a time when the puritanical, anti-communist Hays Production Code was strictly enforced — there was a film noir doppelganger, a fever dream full of danger, despair, and depravity.

Julia Saner;

“Going up the red carpet is something that can change a career. Having to show up in front of hundreds of photographers screaming your name is a kind of weird barometer of your celebrity… well, let’s just say it’s not a moment where you want to miss on your outfit.

But let me tell you that, in Cannes, everything is organized around it. Hairdressers, make up artists and stylists are walking around the hotels like crazy, and each couture house has a suite full of fantastic evening gowns. Jewels are the final touch. What is funny is that when jewels are handed to you, they come with a bodyguard…

In these pictures are the last minutes before Julia Saner goes walking up the steps. She’s wearing a stunning Pucci dress and Chopard jewels… Look at that emerald! So beautiful I am out of words…” – Garance Dore

Just had a really awesome day with fantastic meetings on the progress of investigations. Sometimes I really love my job. You feel as though you are getting somewhere. A small team, but everyone’s really earnest, and brilliant. I learn so much from them, all the time.

I’ve moved on to social reading, The Accidental Billionaires – glamourized version of the start-up of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg, and I’m zeons late because the movie, The Social Network, was released so long ago. Plus, my best friend Irving wrote this great review of it (and he never likes modern movies):

“It’s been advertised as the movie about our cyber-technoid generation but I see it more in the vein of the American dream type of story – the facebook element is pretty superfluous to the whole plot. Mark Zuckerberg/Jesse Eisenberg could had discovered anything – so long as it was something that would make him look cool. And in today’s day and age – what could be cooler than being the CEO (you bitches!) of a 500 million Finals club?

It’s the ‘bitches’ part that summarises what the movie is about for me – along with the two assholes line in the movie (‘You’re not an asshole Mark, you’re just trying so hard to be one’). The Social Network is about that self-important attitude that tells you that you deserve to be something great or alternatively be with someone great that leads to a kind of failed attempt to reconcile intellectual arrogance with a desire to be part of the cool group at school. It’s that angle of the movie which I found the most fascinating and even now I’m not sure whether I’ve made up my mind about whether I approve of Jesse Eisenberg’s character or not – which is perhaps one of the best complements I can give to a movie – that it opens itself to interpretation.

There’s a similar ‘in your face’ attitude to the movie as Fight Club (same director), except this time it’s a more subtle ‘I’m doing things that no one in this room is intellectually or creatively capable of doing’ sort of rebellion rather than the merely physical sort – an attitude which seems to be really popular among audiences. We all laugh at quotes like that because we’re rooting for Mark Zuckerberg – we know that FB is a (huge) success – we like to be on the winning smart side – we get a malevolent dose of joy at seeing dumb(er) people being put down. We like it when someone seemingly ordinary with everyday troubles of fitting in turns around and punches everyone in the face with a website that has everyone crawling on their knees begging you to let them use it.

It’s fun and fulfilling to see smart people being recognised for doing smart things. That is the American dream storyline in action.

What makes The Social Network more than just a genre picture is seeing all the bits and pieces that were left behind on the way to success, leaving a bittersweet feeling that nothing at all has changed in his life despite all that success. That trait of self-importance carries with it both the ambish, without which Mark Zuckerberg would never had succeeded, as well as the epithet of emotional unfulfillment. On the one hand, it’s hard to blame Mark for wanting to prove his ability. On the other hand, what’s so great about being in a Finals club anyway? What’s the personal motive behind that?

I really liked this movie. The dialogue runs at a screwball pace – in that witty self referential way which I love where the dialogue falls over backwards on itself – you can never anticipate what will come up next. Don’t miss the first 10 minutes.”

Hey Irving, I now know what you were talking about, and I loved the film!

I remember the days when facebook suddenly broke out on campus. Suddenly everyone was on it, posting photographs, events, cancelled lectures/notes all came flooding through fb, campaigning took place through facebook, and it was so fun flooding D’s and J’s walls haha. It was in early 2006 for me, and since then I suppose I am a guilty facebook addict, though less so now.
J and I met up for dinner, and he told me, amongst others, of some Top Gear host who started up a programme on old toys and created, amongst others, a two-storey house made of lego.
The above photograph  – resembles a pretty toy town, the kind you find with coloured toy tracks. But its actually an aerial photograph of Rekjavik, Iceland – I do want to visit one day.
S and I were talking about hosting a dinner in a wild forest setting. Something a little messy, a little lux, with hot candles and a free spirit, a little bit of jewish songs and too much alcohol, traditional dishes and old wooden cutlery. S came from Canada and rode horses for most of her childhood, ended up in law and has now started her own hedge fund (its so fun telling what the boys to do, she says) and we used to cook together on thursday nights in the summer. S loves sunflowers, turkey and carrots, and stockings with cherry emblems.
In my conversations with S, I always feel so inspired- there is nothing in the world that can stop what we can do together – we can cook for hours and eat by the fire and talk about art and beautiful things. She describes her favourite horse and I tell her about poetry and the obscure theory I am obsessed about for the moment.
All this before we return to the real world where horses rarely tread and the way we live is much more mundane. But I dream of half Canada half Singapore every once in awhile.
A story shared by Christine which I think you will like, Irving:
“When I was in kindergarten, like many little girls, I had a Bonnebell glittery chapstick that I would wear around my neck like a necklace. I’m sure it was the “in” thing when I was five.I still remember her name; Annabell (I remember this fondly because it rhymes with Bonnebell). Annabell asked me if she could use my chapstick. Being the germaphobe that I was, I denied her of her request.Wrong choice of words.Annabell threatened to tell the teacher that I refused to “share”. We had just learned the art of “sharing” a day or two ago so I would’ve been totally fucked. I didn’t want to disappoint my teacher so I reluctantly handed her my beloved chapstick.

Annabell took my chapstick, rolled it all the way up, bit off a huge chunk, and ate it.

This is why I don’t share. ” 

Dear, you.
Forgot to write about the closing of the Fairmont Hotel jazz pub. All the good jazz places are just disappearing from Singapore. Singapore is just not a good place for jazz. Sharon and I were just chatting over lunch on how rare it is to find good places nowadays, those little smoky hideaways where people come in devotion to the music are a thing of the past. In Japan, America, even parts of Asia, the jazz culture is vibrant, reinventing itself, whereas here they try to fit the music into a straitjacket. Sometimes the rare gem comes by for a visit, but then somehow perhaps jazz people don’t make good publicists.
But I love Melissa, I’ve grown a little fond of hearing from her on weekend nights at the Mandarin Oriental Axis bar. In my last week in Fairmont, she was filling in and doing some pieces with a guitarist, but I really liked that intimacy. Forgetting everything but the music. People who come for the music. I think Melissa is a dear and her voice is honeysuckle.
The cocktails have such quirky names. But I think I’ll actually be able to coax Irving to have a Hemingway Daiquiri.

Vera Vague;

Sometimes I think it is marvellous to step back into a film noir universe, and when I do I think of “Laura“. It wasn’t the best, but it was a smoky, decadent black and white romance.

Tonight, watched TRAVAUX, ON SAIT QUAND ÇA COMMENCE at the Alliance Francaise theatre. So zany and absurd, makes me want to dance to Spanish music, paint my walls bright pink, and hide a chicken in the wall. Let me spoil the plot for you that at the end of the movie, Hugh Grant walks in holding a bag of goldfish.

Chantal Letellier is a “wonderful woman.” She’s a lawyer. She always wins her cases. In her professional life she’s a heavyweight, but in her private life she’s a pushover. She’s divorced – and didn’t even litigate – and is saddled with two teenage kids who are very well brought up in a bad kind of way. When it comes to love, think “desert” – she’s got no time. But flesh is weak and one night she lets loose with a client. Undoes a few buttons and then a few buttons more. He falls madly in love with her and settles in. To get rid of him, she undertakes major renovations with the intention of making the house unlivable.

I am not very sure on how I feel about french movies. But then I watch one and I watch the next one again and again. I suppose it means I like them, the way I would see someone I like again and again. Sometimes there are terrifically bad moments, so bad that they remain in your mind like a octopus monster in a french ballet dancer’s room in a queer movie. Sometimes the moments are tender, sexy, delicate. I remember the days in jc of eating cheese and watching french movies without subtitles which I didn’t understand. But laughter, spirit on screen is contagious. It is something like that.

Its a bit like looking through the lenses of someone else, certain french movies. You nibble a little on a piece of someone’s mind.

The models used in that famous American Gothic painting.

warningdontreadthis: The models used in the “American Gothic” painting.


 Met E and J for dinner again…sashimi and gelato…so much like old times.

J’s an ENTJ like me! Looking back at the old photo….somehow it is just surreal how all the years have passed…And soon E will be married soon!

I think the world turns while I still remain very much a child… being happy with my little cup of matcha gelato.

Time of the Assassins

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Time of the Assassins

I walk in a line
I see where I’m going
I turn inside out
The days that I’ve known
I face to myself
And give up the ghost
I turn in my mind
What time already knows

In the Time Of The Assassins
They say hallelujah
It doesn’t take a miracle to raise a
Heart from the dead

I sift through the ash
I look for a sign
I open the wound
That keeps me in line
The shoulder that turns
The flame that goes out
The chapter I close

In the Time Of The Assassins
They say hallelujah
It doesn’t take a miracle to raise a
Heart from the dead

And can something change
But still feel the same