Saturday, 27 June 2009

Sports sponsorship - Hackett style

Jeremy Hackett is not only a brilliant designer and guru of understated, traditional English style. Mr. Hackett is also a gifted entrepreneur who built his business from selling second-hand clothes into a concern on a level where it becomes appropriate to sponsor national sports teams.

But instead of wasting his cash and talent on sports such as football, which is to style what black holes are to astronomy, Hackett has focussed on sports such as rugby, rowing and the Le Mans motor race. These sports are all blessed with well-designed supporter’s shirts from Mr. Hackett’s hand.

But the crown of Hackett’s sporting designs has to be his creations for the British Army polo team.

With the shirts commemorating the Army Polo team’s visit to India, where they participated in elephant polo, as the shining gem.

Lord Bassington-Bassington feels that any sport that involves people wearing turbans is automatically taken to a certain level of style. And of course, the elegant, almost Basset-like waddling of the elephants make elephant polo perhaps the most elegant sport in existence.

(The Chronicles stole these images from Mr. Hackett’s website, but it was done with the noblest of intentions, so we hope to be forgiven.)

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Inade: Solar Architects Incarnating

For about a decade now, Leipzig-based band Inade have been among Lord Bassington-Bassington’s favorite purveyors of dark sounds. Inade’s richly textured tapestries of sound create an atmosphere perfect for reading, reflecting – or just relaxing.

While Inade clearly bear the mark of dark-ambient forerunners such as Lustmord, and many of the cornerstones of their sound are standard tricks of the trade (deep, rumbling basses, heavy echo effects etc.) Inade have long carved out their own niche in the genre.

This is clear in their choice of themes dealt with on Inade’s releases, such as an interest in the history of German occultism, which prompted Inade to participate on a release dedicated to mystic Peryt Shou. The result was a combination of vinyl record and booklet housed in a stunning box.

inade new album trailer

Inade’s new release, Incarnation of the Solar Architects, while (sadly) not available on vinyl, is released in a nifty-looking digipak (better than a jewelcase, at least). But the real prize is the limited-to-259 box version. This sold-out edition consists of a beautifully varnished wooden box containing three digipaks: The album itself, an extra CD with extra material and a DVD containing two concerts from Leipzig and Zürich.

(Picture courtesy of Lady Mju Photography)

Incarnation of the Solar Architects is easily Inade's most accomplished release yet, and at times actually approaches the melodic. Perhaps it's the remnants of the synthpop sounds that a whole generation of Industrial enthusiasts grew up on?

But the most captivating part of this exclusive release is the live DVD. Dark ambient acts rarely work well live, unless watching a couple of guys fooling around with laptops and mixers is your thing (also, dark ambient artists are rarely much to look at in themselves, with some exceptions).

But with the aid of projected visuals Inade manages to create a vortex of sound, light and color that not only creates a trance-like effect, but also fond memories in those of us that remembers Carl Sagan’s TV series Cosmos.

For anyone interested in the darker realms of music, Leipzig’s solar architects come highly recommended. Now, Lord Bassington-Bassington is trying to resist buying the 4LP box Colliding Dimensions – a purchase that he has privately renamed Collapsing Economies.

Oil Painted Rose Silk Scarf

Because it might be the most beautiful scarf Lord Bassington-Bassington has ever seen. And because that made it the perfect gift for Lady Mju.

Paul Smith is surely an English national treasure.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Bassetological Research

While sniffing around the back streets of London in search of obscure books, Lord Bassington-Bassington stumbled upon this print from 1881. The print clearly shows notable forerunners of the Bassington-Bassington family, and diligent genealogical study has revealed their identity.

This is not only a saga of canine achievement and failure, but also of how many of humanity’s ideas are borrowed – or even stolen – from their four-footed companions.

Ortega Y Basset

To the far left can be seen Spanish Philosopher Ortega Y Basset. Ortega Y Basset has since been eclipsed by his near-namesake, Ortega Y Gasset, who stole all his ideas. Y Basset, outraged by this, sued Y Gasset, but fared badly in court.

Y Basset’s testimony, which went something like “woof woof howl ahroooo!” was not taken seriously by the judge. It probably did not help his case either that Y Basset, in a fit of despair, chewed up his lawyer’s expensive leather briefcase. The case was eventually dismissed by the court.

After giving up on philosophy, Y Basset started La Basserie, a Barcelona-based restaurant dedicated to his culinary novelties. The Basserie’s signature dish was chicken sashimi, a dish which proved badly suited to the Mediterranean climate and gained the local nickname “Salmonella Surprise”. The dish did not only spell the end of the Basserie, but also of Y Basset himself.

Despite dying a broken Hound, Y Basset is fondly remembered today as a forerunner of Caninism.

Winthrope "Bassie" Bassington-Smythe

Number two from the left is Winthrope Bassington-Smythe, or “Bassie” to his friends at the famous Drones Club of London.

Bassington-Smythe was originally offered the starring role of a TV series, which was to bear his name. But when it turned out that Bassie wasn’t very good at jumping down into wells to rescue drowning children, he was substituted with a collie (a female, none the less!) and the show renamed “Lassie”.

This defeat nearly broke Bassie’s spirit, and when he later lost the audition to become the face of Hush Puppies he became very depressed, his ears drooping to new levels.

Bassie later moved to Latin America, where he tried to establish himself as a dance teacher. But while trying to show his new dance, the “Bassie Nova” to a small group of students, Bassie tripped over his ears and broke his neck.

Hans B.K. Günther, "Bassen-Günther"

The hound emerging from the door, clasping a strange phrenological instrument, is Hans B.K. Günther. Founder of the Jena-based Institut für Bassenforschung, Günther gained the nickname “Bassen-Günther” for his insistence on the racial superiority of the pure-blooded Basset Hound. While the Basset is clearly a distinctive race, with its own charming quirks, “Bassen-Günther” took this notion to extremes, pioneering the slogan “If it ist not ein Basset Hound, it ist just ein Dog”. His mania for racial purity might be the reason that certain Bassets today have health complaints.

Günther’s theory that Viking “Dragon head” ships were really “Basset head” ships gained a following among certain Nordic romanticists and right-wing crackpots, but wasn’t taken seriously by scholars. Günther dealt with lack of acceptance by claiming that academia was dominated by Beagles: Superficially similar to Basset Hounds, but entirely different in essence. Günther eventually decided that Beagles were not canines at all, but shape-shifting beings from Sirius, the “Dog star”, who turned into Germans when nobody was watching, and conversely that all Germans were really Beagles.

“Bassen-Günther” ended his life in Switzerland, in a quiet sanatorium. And like Ortega Y Basset, “Bassen-Günther” saw his ideas stolen by a human.

Bazzyli Bassinski, a.k.a. Muhammad Bassad

Born in the Polish hamlet of Lwoof (close to Lvov), Bazzyli Bassinski was originally determined to become a Catholic priest, but was disappointed to learn that the teachings of the Church hold that canines do not go to heaven. Bassinski’s crisis of faith led him to study various religions, and in Alhazred & Sons, a dusty bookshop in Damascus, he came across a book of tafsir (Qu’ranic exegesis) by the medieval Islamic scholar Abu al-Qasim Mahmud ibn Umar al-Zamakhshari.

Al-Zamakshari’s insistence that animals who are loved by human beings will live in the hereafter led Bassinski to embrace Islam, taking the name Muhammad Bassad. Bassad thereafter became a prolific calligraphist, dipping his long ears in ink to use as a pen.

Like so many others of the Bassington line, Muhammad Bassad saw his ideas copied by a human: In his case, Muhammad Asad. But Asad, always trying to emulate the perfect manners of the Prophet, paid his tribute to Bassad, albeit in an oblique way (perhaps owing to the sad prejudices many Muslims harbour against canines). In Asad’s wonderful translation of the Qu’ran, the second footnote to the eighty-first surah is an obvious tribute to Muhammad Bassad.

Lord Bassingstoke

To the far right can be seen Lord Bassingstoke, responsible for convincing Ernest Shackleton’s first polar expedition to use dog sleds pulled by Bassets. This stupendously stupid idea caused such unimaginable tragedy (several upstanding members of the Basset community had to amputate their ears) that this expedition has been excised from all history books.

Lord Bassingstoke, now the laughing stock of the world, retreated to a small mansion outside of London to write a series of travel books. Sales of titles such as “To Bassmania and Back,” “Bassel – the Swiss Capital” and “To the Bassporous Strait Without a Jacket” were hindered by many reviewers’ (correct) claims that the author could not have visited the places he wrote about.

Further humiliated, Lord Bassingstoke died penniless and alone, after trying an old family recipe for chicken sashimi.

To the extreme left in the picture can be clearly seen forebears of Lady Mju, who already then clearly showed a certain ambivalence towards the Bassington-Bassington-family’s tendency to have bizarre ideas.

Help in identifying them would be appreciated.