Archive for dark

Futuristic Shoes and Vintage Silk

Posted in Clothes, Etsy, Fashion, Jewelry, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2011 by vprime

Many changes have come to Prime Manor, including a change of employment for me that takes me away from academic work and a renewed focus on my fiction writing. In the meantime, I’ve gotten some nice things in the mail these past few months that I’d like to share.

Swordmaker shoes by Irregular Choice

The customer service people at Topshop were excellent to me in the wake of the two left boot thing. They sent me a nice refund check which I used to buy these Irregular Choice shoes. I’ll have to get some pictures of myself wearing them. The shoes have an ultracozy blue crushed velvet interior. I haven’t worn them out yet, but I do have concerns about two things: One, the shoes have no grip on the bottom and I have been known to take a dive from time to time. Two, the point of the toe, as you can sort of see in the picture, curves upward. The shoe feels kind of awkward on my foot. I’m hoping wear will even out that curving toe thing. Still, these are a retrofuturist’s dream come true. I’ll wear them to the robot uprising. Visit Irregular Choice here.

Vintage Silk Phoenix Shirt


I found this silk shirt on Etsy. It has a beaded panel that attaches to the front with tiny buttons. The bird appears to be a phoenix. I have been looking for more natural fiber clothing lately since it breathes and stays cooler than synthetics. I have this tucked away for a special occasion. I think I will wear it with a skirt and an obi belt. The sleeves are wonderfully full, giving this a sort of sorceress-Stevie Nicks vibe that I’ve been into lately. Yet the high neck and ruffles are severe and governess-like as well. Visit Verite Vintage on Etsy.

Pass the crystal, spread the tarot. Yeah, I know, this isn’t that Alice. I bought this necklace from BellaLili because I’m wearing a lot of matte black metal right now. I liked that the shape was unexpected and that the crystal in the center keeps it ironically pretty. It’s elegant and weird without being cutesy. I was swayed to purchase this item because it’s a once of a kind creation. As with the other items, I haven’t worn it anywhere yet because I don’t often have places to go. I guess I could just start dressing up for Kitty Prime’s amusement.  BellaLili on Etsy.

Coming soon: My new tattoo, makeup, things to sniff and more things I’ve made.

The Rise and Fall of Skinny Puppy

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on March 2, 2011 by vprime

Listening to Skinny Puppy was like living in a haunted television. The vocals were run through layers of dirty distortion that made what came out of our stereos sound like a tormented soul in hell or worse. Over this and assorted electronic noises, clips of movies or tv shows with telltale midcentury diction floated, unmoored and decontextualized so that they may as well have been more synth noise.  The lyrics, such as they were, vaguely hinted at death, torture and despair. Narratives were absent, just nebulous words connected only by some nearly schizophrenic  associative process that inspired a codebreaker’s fervor in me. My middle school boyfriend—a pathological liar with unaccountably great taste in music—and I would pour over liner notes, debate what samples were supposed to mean. In the days before everything was on the internet it was a massive triumph to finally prove that the line in The Choke was “assuming that were possible” and not—as said boyfriend insisted—“assuming I were comfortable.” We spent hours trying to conjure up lucid dreams while Skinny Puppy tapes reeled out on the stereo in my room. What we expected from those dreams in not clear. Something like divination, maybe. Communicating with those eerie disembodied voices?  The music was disturbed, irrational and perhaps we wanted to think we were like that too.

We—and here I mean all the Goths who grew up in this late 80s-early 90s not-quite-Gen-X- but-close-enough milieu—thought of ourselves in some ways as like these songs. Full of random noise, made of senseless words from TV shows that only came on after everyone else in the house was already asleep, knowing a world of pain existed out there but not sure we were actually feeling it. Songs like “Deep Down Trauma Hounds” spoke to us of horrors in remote, vague terms. If there was identifiable pain in all the vivisection and torment, it didn’t seem to belong to anyone specific, so we made it belong to all of us. We reveled in the strange, dissonant noise. We had been vivisected, it said so on our ripped black shirts. And if—as in all likelihood—that wasn’t true, we would find a way to do it to ourselves. If ever there was music made for zombies, this was it.

There was talk that Skinny Puppy was going too mainstream when Last Rights came out. There were fewer of the songs that challenged you to sit through eight minutes of stuttering samples and tinny drums. The lyrics were more coherent but still cryptic. Though this album gave us the hauntingly beautiful “Love In Vein”  and the quiet melancholy of “Mirror Saw” it still dared you to prove you were not a poseur who’d skip through “Circustance” or “Download.” Then Dwayne Goettel died, The Process eventually came out and it had all kinds of horrors like Ogre’s unprocessed vocals and acoustic guitar. Was the band trying to be Skinny Puppy Unplugged? If the opening acoustic guitar of “Candle” played over any club’s system and you headed toward the floor everyone would know you were a noob. You’d better sit on those cockroach–kickers until “Testure” played.

In retrospect, The Process shaped a lot of the industrial that came after. But it also began Skinny Puppy’s deviation from a band that would make most people call the exorcist to something that might conceivably be played in association with some sort of sporting event. There was a time in the early aughts when one could hear Front Line Assembly on MTV sports. I feared this would be Skinny Puppy’s fate.

The excellent book House of Leaves has a dedication reading “This is not for you.” This, then, exemplifies how I felt when Skinny Puppy t-shirts started cropping up on regular kids. This was not for them. They hadn’t listened as intently, trying to scratch some meaning out of the songs. They didn’t understand where this music came from. They liked some rocking guitars and bass drums and didn’t care about the message. Of course, it was the time that anything vaguely labeled “alternative” was stripped from the fans to sell toothpaste. I’d cherished this music that was spooky and weird and I didn’t want to share it with everyone. Sometime close to 2003, I stopped trying to keep up with any music save a handful of obscure German acts. I mined the past and avoided the present. I ignored Ogre’s solo albums and focused on the multi-volumes of Back and Forth. The Process really marks the end for me.

As I was looking for videos to insert into this post, I came across this:

This is just the worst sort of thing. Trying to throw some sort of banal hip-hop attitude into Skinny Puppy? It’s not funny, it’s not cool. It seems like if Skinny Puppy aspired to be played at wet-t-shirt contests, then this would accomplish that.

Sigh.

I need to get some sleep. See you in electric dreams.

Tokyo Milk Review

Posted in beauty with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by vprime

Clove Cigarette Lip Elixir
Tainted Love No. 62

The best thing about clove cigarettes was the taste that lingered on your lips after you’d take a drag. Sweet, spicy and heavily fragranced, clove cigarette smoke sunk into your lungs with languid, oily ease. Regular cigarettes always tasted thin, metallic or antiseptic. I haven’t had a clove in almost two years, but I pause to take a deep breath when I catch a hint of that familiar burning sweet scent. Tokyo Milk’s Clove Cigarette Lip Elixir tastes like the sweet residue of a clove cigarette without a strong smoky component. The tin is huge, at least twice as large as I expected. The balm itself is pliable and silky. It takes just as few swipes with the finger to have enough elixir to cover your lips. I found the elixir kept my lips soft and moisturized without leaving behind any waxy residue. The flavor tends to mellow after ten minutes. All I taste is the clove, though there is a slightly cinamonny note here. The only critical remark I can make right now is that the clove taste isn’t balanced with a hint of smokiness, but, perhaps that’s for the best.

Tainted Love does have some common ground with Dead Sexy. Both wear down to a woodsy note, though Tainted Love is much less assertive. Tainted Love begins with a spray of white florals with a hint of Bourbon vanilla. The vanilla is rich and smooth, not sweet or sugary. What emerges after some time passes is a lovely light sandalwood fragrance, overlaid by the orchid. There’s a hint of musk here too that reminds me of Crazylibellule and the Poppies Shanghaijava Musc and Patchouli. I love sandalwood and musk, so this is a winner for me. I found that Tainted Love faded to a very close scent after two or three hours, and was undetectable after four hours, so you may need to reapply. After trying out this sample for a few days, I plan on purchasing the bottle.

A Many-Splintered Thing

Posted in beauty, Books, Etsy, Jewelry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by vprime

I’ll refrain from the obvious Joy Division reference for this Valentine’s Day post. Instead I’ll just borrow a bad pun from Mr. Eldritch. Valentine’s day is an orgy of romantic stereotypes, waxy chocolates and unfelt sentiments. And substituting Lupercalia is already played out. Yeah, if I didn’t look at this holiday with a jaundiced eye, you’d worry. Sometimes I celebrate it, sometimes not, depending on how depleted I feel. I do have plans that I am looking forward to this year, but I’m equally satisfied by staying home and watching a movie. Nonetheless, I do have recommendations should you need dark offerings for that special someone you’ve been cyberstalking.

Hedonist Necklace by Bellalili

This necklace by Bellalili manages to be tough and refined at once. Bellalili’s items combine ornate metal forms with brilliant crystals. I would wear this with anything from a plain black v-neck shirt to a ruffled blouse. It’s big enough to be noticed without crying out for attention. I regularly spy lovelies in Bellalili’s Etsy shop that I admire. Visit Bellalili’s Etsy shop.

Tokyo Milk Tainted Love

Don’t touch me please I cannot stand the way you tease. Tokyo Milk’s Tainted Love has a little less Marc Almond and more vanilla, orchid, white tea and sandalwood. I have Tokyo Milk’s Dead Sexy and wear it often. I haven’t smelled this yet, but it sounds promising. Anything that combines sandalwood and tea is compelling to me. Vanilla is a tricky fragrance note. I can’t stand it in an overly sugary iteration. I’m not sure what has driven the rise of bath and body products that smell like cans of frosting, but that’s the sort of vanilla I avoid. As long as there’s something to dirty up the vanilla a bit, I’m willing to try it. If you haven’t yet smelled the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Snake Oil, do make sure to sniff this magical and delicious combination of vanilla and patchouli. My hope is that Tainted Love mixes a greenish sandalwood with the fresh tea note and the vanilla is warm and complex rather than sweet. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s tried Tainted Love and can describe it a bit.  Visit Tokyo Milk.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.”
– Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. This new Penguin Classics hardcover has a gorgeous cover worthy of the decadent tale within. This black and white volume would look elegant on your shelf or table. Books are the best gifts ever, in my mind; and even better if the book is beautiful to look at. I am now reading Huysmans’ A Rebours which is the book that turns Dorian from a sweet boy into a lovely monster. To give your love an interesting reading experience, pair this with the highly underrated Dorian by Will Self.  Buy books at Amazon.com

That concludes my Valentine’s suggestions. No flowers, candy or stuffed animals. These gifts are appropriate whether the object of your desire is male, female or other.

Until next time.