Archive for the ‘Tiki and Surf’ Category

It’s too damn hot to do anything outside, so we’ve just been pottering away doing some cleaning and tidying around the house. One of the jobs was to unpack some of our tiki goodies which have been buried away in boxes. This soon snowballed into a complete revision of our tiki cabinets. Thought I’d share some pics for the tiki buffs out there. Oh, and the glass cabinet doors have been removed because the reflection was ruining the pics.

Cabinet 1.

And cabinet 2.


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This weekend I managed to get in and rearrange the loungeroom. It’s been one of those things I’ve been meaning to do for ages but never got around to doing. The room is an eclectic mix of mid century modern, 50s retro, kitsch, tiki and modern day stuff too. The cool part is it’s all been done on a budget, the only major item bought new was the tv, the rest (cabinets, dining table, chairs etc) is bought second hand off ebay, op shops, or from mates. The jukebox was even found on the side of the road during a council clean up!

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I saw this posted over on the Tiki Central forums and just had to share it. Choptop who hails from California had an interesting incident recently. The moral of the story is, if you have a volcano in your yard, make sure you tell your neighbours!

I’m filing this under “things I’ve learned in my strange life that normal people will never find out.” 

So here I am, enjoying a glass of Sierra Vista Wineries finest Cab, tending to a thick rib eye cooking slowly over mesquite and apple wood chips, listening to back episodes of The Quiet Village Podcast, all of the tiki torches in the backyard are lit and Mt. Ubangee is happily chugging away putting out puffs of theatrical fogger smoke every couple of minutes. The wind is still and the smoke from the volcano is hanging in the air above the mouth of mystic Mt. Ubangee nicely in the fading light, the red spot light in the volcano and the flickering tiki torches are making the smoke look spooky and realistic… all is well in my tiki paradise backyard…. until I hear sirens and notice flashing red lights reflecting off the neighboring house. The unmistakable sound of a structure truck diesel engine and its attending fireman echo across the roof of my house to the tranquil oasis I’ve constructed out back.

I really didnt think toooo much about it at first. Then thinking of a couple of my elderly neighbors, I took a stroll out front to see if any of them were the center of all this First Responder attention. I opened my front door to find 4 firemen in full turn out gear peering over my side fence. Huh… I wonder what they are looking at? I walked up behind them with a “whatcha guys looking at? Is it anything COOL?” sort of attitude. Then I notice, hey… when you look at it just right from across the street, the smoke is carrying the flickering light from the tiki torches and the spot light a good 50-60 feet in the air. WOW, that looks pretty COOL!!!! It almost looks like there is a volcano in my back yard…. OR… it looks like the backyard is on fire…. huh… uh oooohhhhh!!!!

I started explaining to the nice firemen “… you see, I have a volcano in my backyard, well, its not a REAL volcano, no lava or anything like that, well, not yet anyway, you see I want to add a water pump and backlight the water red so it looks like lava flowing down the slopes of Mt. Ubangee, but there is not FIRE in my backyard, well, unless you count the dozen or more tiki torches, but those arent a problem, come on back would you like to see it? Its pretty cool really… can I mix any of you fine gentlemen a Mai Tai? No? on duty? Thats probably best….”

So in short, if you have a volcano in your backyard, let your neighbors know. Invite them over for a cocktail and show off your tribute to Pele, lest you end up showing off your tectonic wonder to the brave men and women of you local fire dept.

If you’d like to see some construction pics of Choptop’s volcano (pictured above), click here.


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The Museum of Sydney are planning an exhibition called ‘Surf City – Surfing Sydney in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Here’s the official blurb:

Surf City will track Sydney’s dynamic surf scene through the 50s, 60s and 70s: spanning an amazing period of social upheaval, post war optimism, teen angst, rock and roll, prosperity, drugs and shifting cultural frontiers. We’ll feature Sydney’s surfing hubs, hot spots and cultures along with the movers and shapers who stirred the pot during these vivid and volatile years.

We’ll also show what surf-crazed Sydneysiders wore, watched, made, rode, heard and read and even reveal how surfing changed Sydney. The exhibition will contain boards, movies, photos, magazines, music, clothes, everyday surf wares and treasures.

They’ve also set up the Surf City blog, which is well worth checking out. Here are some jems we found on there.

Great photo of Baba Looey’s illustrated ‘37 Ford, with a load of boards in the early 1960s.

Ross Bailey – Mel Gibson’s stunt double in Phil Avalon’s Summer City – poses for promo pic at Tamarama, 1977.

Bondi surfer John Knobel changing a tyre on Pittwater Road in the early 1960s, photo courtesy John Knobel.

Sydney’s Wanda carpark, 1962, photo Bob Weeks.

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A couple of neat surf wagons from Rat Day last week. For more surf wagon goodness, check the surf wagon thread over on ozrodders.

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Just thought I’d share some of the recent vintage scores my partner has picked up over the last few weeks – she’s got a knack for sniffing these things out in an op shop.

First up is a pair of spun aluminium torches, complete with anodised tops. Haven’t fired them up yet, but I reckon the reflection of the flames on the red should be pretty sweet. They also have indentations in the bottom so you can mount them on a post.

Next up is a pair of vintage ship mugs. Tiki mugs are thin and far between in Australia, but you do find some reasonable nautical gear occasionally. Works for me!

And lastly is a resin tourist tiki, who’s just a little cute.

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The fine folk over at Sailor Jerry must have been in a generous mood the other week, because they sent me a bottle of their spiced rum to sample! I’ll be honest in that while I knew the Sailor Jerry name, I didn’t know much about the bloke himself or the company as it is today – so I did some homework.

Basically Sailor Jerry served in the US Navy and he was one of the pioneers of tattooing in the 20th century. He had a reputation for his shrewd intellect as well as his intricate tattoo designs – the rigging on his ships was accurate down to the last sheet bend! The company came about after his death in ’73, when he instructed that his tattoo shop and all his designs were to be entrusted to his protegés – and if they didn’t want it, it was all to be burned! Since then it has slowly evolved, first with a book of his tattoo flash, and then some clothing bearing his original designs, and the rum which is made to a traditional seafaring recipe.

Now I’ll be honest, I’m more than a little cynical when I hear of a story like this. Lets face it, I think we all know of a brand or two who have bought the ‘rights’ to the name of a legendary lowbrow artist and basically pimped it out to make some cash. But checking out the Sailor Jerry blog, it becomes pretty clear that they’re passionate about a bunch of different aspects of kustom kulture – tattoos (of course!), lowbrow art, rum, and music. And not just passionate, they’re actively supporting it too, with art shows and gigs to highlight up and coming artists. They’re also an anti-sweatshop company (so their clothing is made in the States not in some exploitive Asian sweatshop) which is pretty cool too.

So is the rum any good? Is the Pope a Catholic? Hell yes! The rum is influenced by Caribbean Rum, which sailors used to spice with flavours from Asia and the Far-East to make it more enjoyable to drink. The result is a rum with a fuller and more rounded flavour (just like a good woman). Personally I like my rum with Coke and Sailor Jerry is great for this, whilst my girlfriend doesn’t mind a dark and stormy – and by her feedback some Sailor Jerry, ginger beer and a slice of lime tastes pretty damn fine! The added bonus is that the bottle looks ace on the shelf! We also did some back to back testing, and can say with 100% scientific accuracy that Sailor Jerry rum tastes even better when sampled from a vintage nautical mug!

Sailor Jerry also have posted up a bunch of recipes on their website which include their rum, and damn some of them sound good! The good news is when I run out (cue a Jack Sparrow moment), I can pick some up at Dan Murphys – sweet!

To find out more about Sailor Jerry check out their website www.sailorjerry.com or the Aussie facebook page.

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