pink bits

Sir Mark Palmer, baronet and former pageboy to the Queen, declared himself a fashion oracle in 1967.


“Sir Mark Palmer predicts that pink will be the popular shade in menswear next season. He has set up a shop in Chelsea and revolutionised the image of the male fashion model.

A staff of 35 English boy models are kept busy at £15 an hour. They must be 6′ tall, weigh 140 lbs and not be more than 36″ around the chest.


When we met Mark Palmer he was wearing a sky blue flat felt hat, blue striped red blazer, flowered Moroccan vest with striped tie around the waist, pink pants and pink shoes. “Painted the shoes myself” he said with pride.


“We’re riding the crest of the wave he said. “The shape of men’s bodies had already changed before we pointed it out but nobody had noticed. Male models should look like poets. Who wants to look like a 35 year old muscular Australian male model? Young girls don’t want to be seen with that type any more.”

David Genat

In 1968 he had an epiphany and set off in search of a Shangri-la in Cornwall

“The fifth baronet has grown his hair to shoulder length and sleeps in a brightly painted wagon pulled by a carthorse. Several women, nine puppies, four horses and a lamb have joined his hippie band. He has cashed in his inheritance to buy an estate but at the moment lives in a derelict lodge.


Sir Mark, who went to Eton and Oxford (“not really my scene”) is wearing hand sewn moccasins, gold socks and trousers, red trimmed vest, flower patterned shirt and yellow flower embroidered open jacket.

Nice to know he was still interested in fashion. For several years he travelled around Britain in a horse drawn caravan. He was also a friend of the Rolling Stones


“Palmer’s revised modus vivendi was to live out, eat au naturel and to sleep rough, late and with whomever he could. Villagers became inured to the sight of Palmer’s numerous acolytes appearing in the local shop to buy cigarette papers or a magazine of astrological data.

Eventually he married one of the aficionados of astrological magazines and became a horse dealer and father to artist, model and aspiring trapezist Iris Palmer.


‘A touch of the Iris Palmers’ is fashion-speak for not smiling. The one-time face of both ‘ready-to-wear’ (Chanel and Lacroix) and ‘already worn’ (Oxfam), Iris is a product of St Mary’s Wantage, the rather more liberal Bedales and Chelsea Art School. She first turned up at her modelling agency, Storm, in a micro-miniskirt, fishnets and spike heels, took acid at Glastonbury, grew her armpit hair for a Helmut Newton shoot and is a demon ping-pong player. She’s now editor-at-large of Cheap Date, a magazine advocating ‘freedom from fashion’. ‘All my clothes are second-hand and cost less than a fiver. I never wash them – I just chuck them in a terrifying pile, and I may not see them again,’ she says. Her paintings of robust nudes are not admired by critics, but Helena Christensen bought one for £2,000. Recently, to the amazement of the fashion world, Iris has joined a travelling circus, and hopes to learn the trapeze. Audiences report that she has even been spotted smiling.


Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 8:20 am  Comments (42)  
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candidates for the chain gang

According to fragments of the Satyricon, Trimalchio threw a hell of a dinner party

Hors d’oeuvres are served . The first course comes on the back of a Corinthian bronze donkey – white olives and black olives are served in equal amounts in panniers on the side of the bronze donkey. He also has served dormice sprinkled with honey and poppy seed and steaming sausages on a silver gridiron with damsons and pomegranate seeds underneath.

“Dormouse Hunt” found here

Ethiopian slaves (the most expensive slave you could buy) pour wine over the guests hands between one course and another. The slaves remove hang nails from his guests’ feet so that they won’t be left behind and thus bring bad luck into the house. Trimalchio has a course made that represents the 12 signs of the Zodiac, again showing his superstitious nature.

Aries the Ram – chickpeas (the ram is a sign of virility and chickpeas represent the penis in satire)

Taurus the Bull – a beefsteak . The bull represents strength.

Belgian Blue Bull found here

Gemini (The heavenly twins) – Testicles and kidneys

Cancer the Crab- a garland (which looks like pincers)

Leo the Lion – an African fig since lions were from Africa.

click to read “Figs and Olives” from marriedtothesea

Virgo the Virgin – a young sow’s udder, symbol of innocence.

Libra the Scales – A pair of balanced pans with a different dessert in each

Scorpio – a Sea Scorpion

Sagittarius the Archer – a sea bream with eyespots, you need a good eye to practise archery.

Capricorn- a Lobster

Aquarius the Water Carrier – a goose i.e. water fowl.

Pisces the Fish – two mullets

As befits his superstitious nature he now goes on to describe the type of people born under various star signs –

Aries the ram – People born under this sign are hard headed but good business men. Scholars and muttonheads  are born under this sign

Taurus the bull- Bull-headed people are born under this sign and those who are self sufficient.

Bull Penis Cane found here

Gemini- Twins are born under this sign, as well as bisexuals

Cancer the Crab-  People born under this sign have many legs to stand on (i.e. are multi talented) and own property on land and sea.

Leo the Lion – People born under this sign are greedy and bossy like a lion.

Virgo the Virgin – people born under this sign are runaways and candidates for the chain gang.

Chain Gang image found here

Libra the Scales – Butchers and perfume sellers (who used scales to weigh the spices in perfume) and anyone who weighs things up are born under this sign.

Sagittarius – Cross eyed people (since Sagittarius looks backwards)

Capricorn – People in trouble who sprout horns in their worry

Aquarius – Bartenders and Jug heads

Pisces- people who spout rubbish in public

more astrological bodywork here

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 7:31 am  Comments (36)  
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a desirable ailment

Medieval bloodletting has been written about before at the gimcrack, but there’s always more to come…..

“For the physician of the Middle Ages, bleeding became his “take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” Extant text detail the hazards of  ‘withholding blood’ and men, children and the elderly were profusely bled. Menstruating women were often spared the procedure as nature already provided them with a monthly detox. Bleeding haemorrhoids became an ailment to be desired.

Diagnosis was also influenced by astrology. Medical charts informed physicians what not to do for people born under a certain star sign.

Aries: Avoid incisions in the head and face and cut no vein in the head.

Taurus: Avoid incisions in the neck and throat and cut no veins there.

Gemini: Avoid incisions in the shoulders, arms or hands and cut no vein.

Cancer: Avoid incisions in the breasts, sides, stomach and lungs and cut no vein that goes to the spleen.

Leo: Avoid incisions of the nerves, lesions of the sides and bones, and do not cut the back either by opening and bleeding.

Virgo: Avoid opening a wound in the belly and in the internal parts.

Libra: Avoid opening wounds in the umbellicus and parts of the belly and do not open a vein in the back or do cupping.

Scorpio: Avoid cutting the testicles and anus.

Sagittarius: Avoid incisions in the thighs and fingers and do not cut blemishes and growths.

Capricorn: Avoid cutting the knees or the veins and sinews in these places.

Aquarius: Avoid cutting the knees or the veins and veins in these places.

Pisces: Avoid cutting the feet.

We’ve also discussed the popularity of the enema, known as a clyster, especially when administered by a limonadier des posterieur. In fact there was a time when I thought I was writing about them far too often, as you may remember if you ever read this post.

Administering an enema was considered a high art

“The limonadier, as a skilled tactician, was to be gentle and discreet and not take the place by storm, but like a trained sharp-shooter, is prepared for action and fires as soon as he catches sight of the enemy.”

The clyster was a like a daily vitamin pill, facial and high fibre breakfast. Nobility and royalty typically took three or four a day. Through advertisements and word of mouth, clysters acquired the reputation of increasing sexual potency and curing impotence.

Costing more, sexual enemas were known as “restaurants“. After receiving a restaurant, elderly women were said to turn skittish; men of all ages, fiery. They were indulged in regularly by the French cardinal Richelieu. When Richelieu married for the third time at age 85, he announced that if the marriage with his young bride  produced no children, it would not be his fault since he still took sexual clysters, as he did until his death at 92.

When Louis Xlll of France was ill, Richelieu supervised the doctoring; within a period of 6 months, the ailing king was subjected to 47 bleedings, 215 oral purgatives and 312 clysters – two enemas every day except holidays

Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 8:44 am  Comments (37)  
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what star sign is your car?

Several years ago Psychology Today ran a “scamarama contest” to see if readers could come up with a creative pseudoscience when they weren’t hampered by little things like scruples. Here are some of the suggestions…

Phrenotherapy: Change the bumps on your head to improve your character. Experts would offer to ‘knock your noggin where it will do the most good’

Palmistherapy: Using laser surgery to lengthen the lifeline on the palm of your hand.

Upgrade Your Aura: A device that fits into your pocket or purse that magnifies your current aura to make a better impression on others.

Autozodiac: Create an astrological chart for your car so you’ll know which are the best/worst days  for a long trip or to have your oil changed.

Car Zodiac found here

Investment in Reincarnation: Leave $10,000 in your will to a professional medium who will contact you after your death and find out when you’re coming back and under what name. Upon your return you receive a cheque for your investment plus interest. The longer you are gone, the more you will receive!

It’s been a long time since I ran a competition here at the gimcrack, so perhaps it’s time for another one. Leave your own scamarama suggestions in the comments section and I’ll post out prizes to the two best ideas……