Tag Archives: Value Village

Thrift Store Finds: So Cute It’s Freaking Me Out

19 Nov

Sometimes there are things (living and inanimate) that are cute,  preternaturally so, but which also have some aspect that is perturbing, or to use the popular vernacular,  an aspect that will cause you to, like, freak  out.

One good example of this phenomenon is a little episode which occurred recently, where an initially adorable scene was, upon closer inspection, revealed to be horrifying, in a kind of “Twilight Zone” -esque twist.  I was in my backyard around dusk when I heard the cry of a baby animal.  I knew that it must have been coming from the attic of a small shed that sits in a neighbour’s yard, which backs up right against our fence.  The attic area has a large hole in the back wall that various animals have chewed away, so that the inside of the shed, between a platform and the roof,  is visible, giving us a view into what has become a favored living quarters for different species of  mamas and their new litters.  The heartbreaking cry turned my attention towards the shed where I noticed there was a cute little baby raccoon, probably crying out for its absent mother, dusk being a natural time for raccoons to seek food.  I walked over to the shed to get a closer look at the little guy when the horror suddenly dawned on me; the baby raccoon had no eyes!  Nothing, not even closed eyelids or injured eyes.   Blindy, (as I dubbed him) just had smooth, unblemished fur across his face, with not even a hint of of a mark or indent where the eyes should have been.  The title of the post should give you a good idea what happened next; I kind of freaked out.  I felt so helpless and sad for Blindy.  Fortunately, its mother soon returned and they cooed and chattered happily upon their reunion. I never saw Blindy again.  But I’m still kind of freaked, though.

And so it is with that in mind that I present to you, my dear reader, a few things Ive purchased recently, that have had the same sort of effect.  These darling little objects reveal, upon closer examination, an aspect that is somehow off , like a sweet candy with an aftertaste of..the flavor is…it tastes like freaking out.

The first object is another cute animal that is freaky because of its eyes.  Only in this case, the odd part is not that the eyes are missing, but rather what their presence tells us.  It is a small vintage, ceramic figure of a dog, a dog that takes the expression “puppy eyes” to an  almost uncomfortable level:

What’s behind these puppy eyes?

Its cute, adorable even, but why is this dog so sad?  The look in its eyes is so heartbreaking as to suggest something  terribly wrong, am I right here?  Is this some sort of  a tchotchke of  an abused dog?  What kind of a person would want a figurine around that is this depressing?  Is it cold?  Hungry?  Scared?  Neglected?  Is this pitiful and pathetic expression just a cheap excuse for sentiment, the kind of pull at the old heartstrings, “Precious Memories” , “Hang in there Baby” ploy that guilts you into buying some trifle?  Because if it is,  it worked on me, and this little guy sits joylessly on my shelf, making me sad, every time I look at it.

Keeping with the theme of  freaky eyes, we will turn to another “cutesy” image with a dark side, only this time it involves that other category of little critters that will pee on your rug: children!  This is a sweet little set of  pencil leads I purchased at Value Village:

These pencil leads are freaking me out!

I picked these up because of the great graphics and colours on the package;  I love the peach background bordered by white dots, and the rosy-cheeked children holding a banner that says “pencil leads” is, to me, a marvel of graphic design.  But, look closer at the kids faces.  Was the artist that created these trying to make a comment on the dangers of lead exposure to young children?  Or am I grasping at straws here to try to create some esoteric connection between a bunch of crazy crap I bought?  Only time will tell.  In the meanwhile, lets take a closer look at what I’m blathering on about here:

They’re kind of funny lookin’.

They are pretty sweet, with their little bows at hat, but why are their eyes going lizard-like in two directions? According to the internet, mental retardation is one of the effects of lead poisoning in children.   This package seems to be covertly disseminating anti lead messages.  But this is one piece of propaganda those fat cats over at ” Big Lead” wont be able to suppress…because I’m hanging this little graphic masterpiece on my wall.

That last paragraph is a perfect segue into another item containing a cute representation of a deformed child.  The girl on the package for this  “Bath Glove” seems a rather cruel choice of subject, considering her anatomy would preclude her from even using this particular product.  In fact, the girl illustrated seems to be wearing a modified version of the product in question.  Also, although she is illustrated in a demure pose with her hands across her chest, she still somehow fails to preserve her modesty.  The sophisticated colour scheme and cute illustration will distract you at first from what I’m talking about:

Masterful colour choices!

But, wait for it…

Now really, what the heck is that supposed to be?

The rest of the drawing was going so good, but it seems like whoever made this just gave up when it came time to do the hands, and just put a blob of a mitt on the end of one arm (remember, this is supposed to be a bath glove) and some weird flipper thing on the other.  Now, I don’t mean to be pedantic, and granted, there are five appendages there, but just scribbling them all in there does not make a hand.  But I guess the makers of this cheap “Bath Glove” did something right, considering I bought it, wrote about it, and will probably keep it for the rest of my life.

And so, to bring this post full circle, back to where we started, on the topic of raccoons, I present this last item, a photograph from a Snow White on ice performance, circa 1950s.  This was part of a set of  publicity photos depicting a revue containing a medley of popular stories, performed on ice.  This particular photo shows Snow White, surrounded by some performers in animal costumes, including a raccoon.

Snow White and her animal friends

And perhaps this is just some sort of psychological projection that reveals more about my paranoia than anything, but if you ask me, those animals look pretty sinister:

AHHH!

AHHH!

AHHHHHH!

AHHH! The eyes, they’re so cold, and dead.

It’s no wonder that children are often seen crying in pictures next to costumed characters like this.  And for us adults, I think the movie  Donny Darko has probably ruined us for ever again seeing people dressed in giant animal costumes as cute , especially rabbits.

Well I hope you have enjoyed another episode of picking apart commercial products and old ephemera down to the minutest of detail, Miss Lady Heart style.  Next time you see something cute, take a closer look, and if you think about it too much,  you can probably freak yourself out with it too!

Dog Figurine, Pencil Leads and Bath Glove purchased at Value Village, 6415 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC

Advertisements

Vintage Books: The Grade School Textbook as Art

4 Jun

Vintage children’s textbooks are a wonderful source for illustrations.  I am inspired by the work of Henry Darger, an outsider artist who collected pictures and drawings of children to use as reference in his beautiful paintings, which he created to accompany an epic book he was writing.  These old books contain exactly the type of sweet drawings of children in old fashioned clothes that Darger used.  They also feature great typography typical of the times, typography that you don’t really see anymore.  The books tend to be small, most being no more than 7″ X 5″, and when I hold them, as with many old objects, they seem to have this energy about them that makes one wonder about its life before it came into one’s possession.  Also, when you look at them it makes you realize that you can’t remember how to do long division anymore.  I have quite a number of these textbooks, some dating back to the 1920s, but here are a few of my favorites.

The first is a science textbook called “Science Stories: Book Two”  It is missing the page that indicates the publisher, edition and release date, but it is probably from the 1950s.  Concepts such as weather, electricity and living things are explained with small stories that are punctuated with illustrations.

The cover of Science Stories

The inside cover and first page

The images inside depict children in 1920s era clothing, beautifully rendered in water colours:

An illustration accompanying a story about weather

An illustration depicting a westward wind

The illustrations of children are too numerous to show them all.  There were also lovely illustrations of animals.  Here are the ones of the “hipster” animals, the deer, and the wolf:

From the chapter on “Living Things”

I love the pink sky

“A garden spider eats many kinds of insects.”

There were some nice paintings of landscapes from different climates, and drawings of food and household items:

From the text underneath this illustration: “This picture shows clouds in the sky. But they have not covered the sun. Do you think the ground is warm where the sunshine touches it?”

“There was the ocean at last!”

Electric Helpers “Electricity is one of our best helpers.”

I love the way these scissors are rendered in blues and pinks, this would be awesome as a sticker or t-shirt, or, if you are a hipster, as a tattoo (you guys have seen the scissor tattoos that are cropping up lately, right?

The book also had wonderful illustrations on the chapter title pages, and as part of the section headers:

Chapter title illustration

Section header

The second book is an eighth grade spelling book from 1950.  I love the fountain pen and ink bottle on the black cover:

Cover of The Canadian Speller, Grade 8

Most of the illustrations in this book were small horizontal drawings at the heading of the page, accompanying the chapter title.

“Some of the ———– stamps are very rare.” The instructions ask you to write the word “collector’s” in the blank space. Talk about a pointless exercise!

I love that this textbook has stolen copyrighted Disney characters for this illustration. Perhaps they hoped that Canada is so obscure that it would renderthe discovery of this infringement nearly impossible.

Any good spelling text for children should have a chapter about personal problems. “Some persons, losing their tempers, become very impatient, and allow their actions to be controlled only by their moods. They become nuisances to themselves and to all with whom they have any association.” Under this paragraph about solving personal problems and a vocabulary list of related words is this: “REVIEW– Indians wear moccasins on their feet.”

Here’s an illustration to make you cringe; the accompanying text explains that a Christian missionary is someone who pursues the ideal of self adjustment for others’ comfort while enduring personal hardship to do so! What?! I also enjoy the beehive with chopsticks in it that two of the stereotyped cartoonish African women are wearing.

“Going to a Party!” “The main feature of a party is a group of people having fun together.” Is this really information that people in grade eight are unaware of?

“Your Personality and the School” It’s not clear if the one with the personality disorder here is the conceited girl, the two snickering about her behind her back, or the guy prancing around.

This guy’s personality and the School

“How to Make and Keep Friends” There’s a Harold and Maude joke here, but I’ll let you come up with it. The review at the bottom of this page states “I saw two men quarrelling (sic) on the wharf.” I don’t get what you are supposed to be learning from these reviews!

“Our Cruel Blessing” is, according to this illustration, that we have to give money to people dressed like Abraham Lincoln.

The next book is a grade 7 mathematics book from 1940 that has nice black and white illustrations.  Here’s just a few:

Cover of “Junior Mathematics, Grade 7”

The little girl’s outfit is so sweet!

Wow, the boy in the centre seems rather formally dressed to just find a percent of a number

For grade sixers, as we used to call ’em, I have this textbook, “Living Arithmetic”

The cover of “Living Arithmetic” I love the drawing of the pilot and the children looking at blueprints.

“Everyday Problems” They never end, am I right?

“Problems About Measures” I like that the foreground is drawn in dark black, while the background is grey. It’s an interesting effect.

And finally, if anyone is still reading this long post, there is this grade four text “Arithmetic for Everyday Use”

The cover of “Arithmetic for Everyday Use” published in 1937

Things that cost five cents in 1937

A cozy little drawing at the margin of one of the pages

This was super tiny, like one inch by one inch. I love the giant hair bow and giant neck ruffle

In contrast to the above girl’s leisure, a few of the illustrations depicted little girls sent off to do errands that they look too young to do by themselves.

This poor little girl had to go to this maniac’s dead animal store.

This girl’s parents had a less morbid errand for her to run, but still.

This poor little girl had to buy her school supplies alone.  I guess her parents don’t care to take part in the family ritual of “back-to-school” shopping.  God!

Well, anyways I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of my vintage children’s textbooks.  They are really very sweet in their content.  At times though with some of these books there will be a little story about, you know, “see Jane run, run run, run, Dick wants to run too, Dick and Jane run,” but when you flip to the back of the book where there is teaching material for the instructor you see that that little asinine three lines was supposed to teach you a whole page of stuff, like about how physical activity is important to grow up well adjusted, how it’s important to wear weather appropriate clothes, different emotions manifest themselves in a variety of physical ways and on and on, on topics that did not come to mind while reading the thing!  It’s amazing the way books for children of these grades really shape one’s perception of the world in ways you don’t even realize at the time.

I liked their small size too, like I said they were all only about 5 by 7 inches.  They are much better than those hulking 10″ X 12″ hard cover monstrosities they make you carry now.  And most of the text book now just have boring stock photography or crappy modern cartoon-like line drawings that have no artistic value.  No wonder I forgot how to do basic math, I just wasn’t visually inspired the way I could, nay, should, have been!

I purchased all of my vintage children’s textbook (I’ve only shown a few here) at Value Village thrift store, which have them some times in their vintage book section.

Textbooks purchased at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., Toronto

Thrift Store Finds: Vintage Earrings

22 May

As I boasted in a previous column, I have an amazing talent for picking the best costume jewelry at Value Village, a local second-hand chain store.  And so, to drive this point home I would like to present to my dear readers and followers, a selection of some of the best colourful 80s earrings I have purchased in the last little while.  These are only a few of my favorites, I will have to show the best rhinestone earrings in another post.  All were found at Value Village unless otherwise noted, and some, if pictured so, do not have mates.

And now, without further ado, here are my best costume jewelry earrings, a collection that must only be rivaled by that of the Golden Girls’.

These are all plastic clip-ons, except the pink circles, which have posts, all from Value Village

A close-up of an unusual pink pair. I’ve never seen anything quite like these, which were made of two independent layers of soft plastic spiky circles, attached in the middle with a pink rhinestone. Very sea creature like

The biggies; all were clip-ons. The red and black and white striped pairs were plastic, the ones on the top right were large pinkish rhinestones bordered by small white stones, the purple ones in the bottom right were suede, and to give you an idea of the scale of all these earrings, the purple ones were about two inches in diameter! All from Value Village

This pair had a lovely pink stripe in the centre of the stone with dusty gray sides, an effect I’ve never seen in a rhinestone before

More colourful plastic: The pink and blue circular pairs on the left I found tucked away in a hard to reach box at Odds and Ends junk shop, the box also contained a few mood rings from the 1970s and some vintage band pins. The yellow pair are actually enameled metal.

This si one of my most favorite earrings ever, but alas it has no mate. I love the gradient of lavender separated by white. I use this as a tack to hang some photo-booth pictures on a lampshade.

This green flower clip-on is also missing its mate, but i feel that its climbing vine like appearance makes it more suitable to be worn as a solo accessory, higher up on the ear.

The Red pair in the back are clip-ons, as are the green daisies, the lone blue enameled circle (has a mate which is temporarily misplaced) and the black diamond shaped pair.   I love the Indian princess feel of the purple and gold pair. All purchased at Value Village

All of these earrings are from a lot of costume jewelry I purchased on eBay. I bought the lot to use for scraps to embed in acrylic bowls, but these were to good to be encased in plastic.

The details of these earrings give them that extra something.This awesome red pair is not just flat with printed stripes, the red lines are recessed areas in the surface.

Well, there you have it, proof positive that I am the best Value Village costume jewelry picker there is.  Now if only there were some way to turn this into a career…  I know, if anyone wants to hire me as a thrift store picker, contact me at helloladyheart@gmail.com, but remember, if  I find anything good, its mine.

Pink striped and blue checked circular earrings found at Odds and Ends, 703 Queen St. W., Toronto

All other earrings found at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., and others, Toronto

Stickers: Famous Monsters

15 May

As I mentioned in the post “Princess Lovely’s Doctor Beautiful Dream Bride Pretty Set” there is a wonderful store on Church Street here in Toronto called Ontario Specialty Co. that has an awesome selection of vintage toys, sunglasses key-chains, purses, stickers and more, from what must be a large hoard of deadstock merchandise.  I buy many thinks from this store, and though the items are vintage, the stock changes regularly, so you must snap up the things that catch your fancy quick or you’ll be disappointed.  I got a taste of this a little while ago when I bought just one set of these amazing horror stickers, foolishly thinking that I could come back for more later.  But alas I was not the only one who fell in love with these retro monster “puff” style stickers, so they’ll be no”‘tradesies” for these awesome ghouls, not for “Mello Smello” scratch-n-sniffs or anything!

The Mummy

Wolfman

The Skull

Frankenstein

I feel like there must have been a fifth sticker of Dracula, but if there was, I guess I must have lost it.

I found this great cheap paperback from the 1970s at Value Village thrift store called “Great Monsters of the Movies”.  It had cool pictures and information on many classic horror films and the monsters that were their stars.   These stickers looked a lot like some of the monsters in these films:

Cheap paperback book entitled “Great Monsters of the Movies, By Robert K. Davidson. This edition copyrighted 1977

Frankenstein’s monster, from the 1931 film Frankenstein

Compare that to the Frankenstein sticker; same scar on forehead and jawline, but sticker has poutier lips for some reason.

Mummy from “The 1942 film “The Mummy’s Tomb”

The Mummy sticker looks like the Mummy monsters from “The Mummy’s Tomb” and “The Mummy’s Hand”, which was released two years later,  in its similar wrinkled and dry appearing face.

The skull-looking monster from 1973’s “The Abominable Dr. Phibes”

There’s no movie in the book with “The Skull” in the title, but this gross thing from “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” sure looks like the sticker.

From “The Wolf Man”, 1941

I don’t know, the wolfman sticker kind of seems more like a cross between this incarnation of a canine-man monster, and the giant ape in King Kong (1933)

Is it just me, or are these old monsters way freakier than the new CGI crap they churn out now?  To punctuate this point, check out these horrifying creatures from two other classic films:

Monster from “The Phantome of the Opera”, 1925

Gah! Isn’t that way scarier than the stupid asymmetrical white mask wearing goon made famous by the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical?

And look at the weird visage of the murderous snake in “The reptile”, who, despite the obvious phallic association and symbolism, is a woman:

From “The Reptile”, 1966

Frightening, no?

Monster stickers purchased at Ontario Specialty Co., 133 Church St., Toronto

Great Monsters book purchased at Value Vullage, 1319 Bloor St. W., Toronto

Random Collections: Princess Lovely’s Doctor Beautiful Dream Bride Pretty Set

13 May

I collect little cardboard-backed dress-up sets that are aimed at little girls.  I am usually drawn towards vintage sets, but occasionally I will buy a new set if it has those elusive qualities that I’m looking for.  What makes them so appealing to me are the graphics and names, but also, as a sculpture/installation based artist, I enjoy the box-art installative aspect of the sets, with the small arrangement of plastic fun composed under molded plastic.  I usually keep the set intact, but sometimes what is featured is so enticing that I try to find a second one so that I can open one of them and wear the accessories.  Here are a few of my favorite ones.

Fashion Girl

Check her out!

This is one of the newer ones that I have, probably dating from the 90s.  I love that the sides are drawn to represent film perforations or sprocket holes, adding the dimension of “movie star” to this “fashion girl”.  The silhouetted girls to the left of the film girl have a very Bond Girl, or even Gem and the Holligrams-esque feel to them.  The jewelry is of course hideously ugly and tacky, but the overall effect is so great.  This is the type of thing that I frame, or just hang unframed, as a piece of pop culture art.  This set was purchased at Value Village, a local thrift store.

Fun-n-Games

Great colours on this one, called Fun-n-Games.  It’s a little green haired girl with red bows-mirror.  And, you can look in the mirror and brush your hair with a green comb.  The little pink nail polish bottle is hollow and doesn’t open but it has a cute little sticker that says “Bright Star” on it.  This probably dates from around the 1970s.

Pretty Set

Good name, good graphics!

I love the name of this one, Pretty Set.  It’s sweet and simple, but it also sounds like a state of mind; get this toy, and you’ll be pretty set.  This dates from the same period as the Fun-n-Games set and like the Fun-n-Games set it is a mirror backed by a face, in this case a lion, for some reason.  I love the drawing of the little girl, and the giant pink barrettes in the set, but as I could not find a second Pretty set, I could not open this package and wear the barrettes, leaving me less “set” than I thought I would be, despite assurances to the contrary implied by the name. This and the above set were purchased at Ontario Specialty, a local store that specializes in dead-stock vintage toys and fun.

Dream Bride

This set, Dream Bride, I found in a sad looking grocery store in New York City, and because I loved the giant heart necklace inside I bought three sets.  This necklace is probably the best thing I’ve seen in one of these sets.  About the size of a woman’s fist, the plastic heart has a clear plastic heart shaped bubble in the middle that has a little plastic flower inside, making this an installation within an installation.  It’s installation to the power of 2 for those who prefer mathematical terms.

The giant heart necklace

Princess Lovely

I love the name and the confused ideas presented here about what a princess is.  Instead of a crown or scepter, there are heart shaped sunglasses and comb and mirror.  This type of super pink-girly-princessy fluff is like being a drag queen for little girls, in that it represents and caricature of girlhood.  It’s interesting as an object that packages tropes of modern pop girlishness.  This set I also purchised in NYC, from a street vendor.

Doctor Beautiful(!)

This is the only brand new set in my collection, which I purchased at a dollar store close to my home.  I think this one is the funniest in terms of the confusion over what it is trying to be.  It seems that it is partly an aspirational type toy for girls, in the style of Barbie’s career dolls which put Barbie in such lofty positions of astronaut and travel agent, to teach girls that they too, can be professional working women.  But much as with the real Barbie brand career dolls, the precedence of looks over brains is still painfully evident in the styling, packaging and marketing of the toy.  Taking a closer look at the image of “Doctor Beautiful” on the top right of the package, we see just how many disparate elements this figure is cobbled together from:

What is this supposed to be, really?

Basically, they’ve put a off-brand Barbie like head onto an illustration of  Disney’s Sleeping Beauty’s body, and then rudimentally added a doctor’s stethoscope onto the face.

Sleeping beauty in her pink gown, which she evidently later lent to Doctor Beautiful for her toy package photo shoot

And the final non-sequitur of this toy set comes in the form of this sticker, seen on the toy stethoscope:

The sticker on the stethiscope

Why is there a little manga/anime nurse girl sticker in this set?

Well, thanks for taking my guided tour through another of my random collections.  Hopefully, my enthusiasm has rubbed off on you, dear reader, and you will be convinced to start yet another Lady Heart approved, random collection!

Fashion Girl set purchaised at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., Toronto

Fun-n-Games and Pretty Set purchaised at Ontario Specialty, 133 Curch St., Toronto

Doctor Beautiful Puchaised at Dollar Wise, 1901 Yonge St., Toronto

Thrift Store Finds: Betty Crocker’s Dreamy Dessert Portraits

4 May

I rarely look through the cookbook section of Value Village, (a local Salvation Army-type thrift store) although it is interesting as a sort of monument to the various food trends and failed weight loss ambitions of our over-satiated culture, (Scarsdale Diet Program, South Beach Cookbook) and it’s ripe with opportunity for an occasional laugh at food non-sequit0rs (for instance, a cookbook entitled Microwave Gourmet!)  But one day my tendency to towards zeroing in on brightly coloured plastic led me to notice a set of Betty Crocker recipe cards packaged in a little yellow box.  I love retro photographs of food as they are usually elaborately staged and often feature very ostentatious interior settings, plus, I love the  super-saturated colours that are characteristic of 60s and 70s photos.  My sweet tooth led me straight to the dessert section where my senses were so overwhelmed by the pastel loveliness of some of the photographs that I graciously ruined the set by taking the best cards so that I could present to you, dear reader, this curated photography exhibit of readymade art:

Neghiborhood Egg Dip

Princess Party

Filled Lemon Cookies

Cherry Berries on a Cloud

Are these not lovely?  They are like the postcards of art  masterpieces you can buy at the museum gift shop.  I mean, a white heart-shaped cake topped with cherries shown on a lace tablecloth?  Betty Crocker recipe cards, get out of my head!

More Frozen Desserts

Grasshopper Pie

I love the suggestion of a little tea party with two cakes, a turquoise one and a pink one.  Each card comes with a suggestion for a party or activity to go with the recipe.  The ones that are for children’s parties are especially sweet as the activities proposed, such as making paper-bag puppets or letting each child make their own candy apple, bring up fond memories of the kind of simple fun that used to make up children’s parties that you don’t really see anymore.

Cake n’ Ice Cream

This Cake and Ice Cream card has a collage like quality, wouldn’t you agree?  The creamy soft yellow cake with ice cream, which looks like it’s covered in tinsel for some reason, looks like it’s been decoupaged onto the background.  Just stunning.

Pink Bavarian Cream

And the Pink Bavarian Cream cake?  It’s like a beautiful sculpture, almost figural in a way.

Gay Nineties Ice Cream Party

Fabulous!  A gay ice cream party!  I love it!  And I love that these are all regular sounding desserts.  Everyone tries to be so fancy and unique with their cakes and stuff, they don’t make vanilla, it’s marzipan instead, or, you know the cheesecake has gooseberries or something gross on it.  Have you watched any of the shows on the Food Network lately?  It’s horrifying.  The host will start off making something good, like a chocolate cake.  They’ll bake it and put it on a plate and it’s looking all yummy, but then, in a misguided effort to seem sophisticated and unique they’re like “And now we’ll make the icing, which will be a mango chutney salsa spread,” or something equally as bad and I’m watching like “Noooooo! Stop you’re ruining it!”

Anyways, I hope you have enjoyed attending my readymade photography art show.  Stop by again soon to see more used goods that I have decided are now an “art”.

Dessert recipe cards purchased at Value Village, 3130 Dixie Rd, Toronto

Vintage Books: The Raunchinator

2 May

While looking through the mystery and suspense section of the book aisles at Value Village (a Goodwill-like thrift store,) I came across a set of books that were smutty and cheesy looking in that perfect way.  They were just some second rate Jame-Bond-type suave- cocky-guy-fights-international-super- evil novels, but the cover photos and titles were so of the genre they should be used as teaching materials for those wishing to learn more about this exciting, dynamic literary style.

Not familiar with the type of protagonist that inhabits this domain?  The back of one of the books offers a tantalizing peek at this cliche of a hired gun:

Intrigued?

Jonas Wilde, eh?  Good name, it makes the character seem so rebellious, so, so…wild, don’t you think? But the best part of these books are the covers, which of course feature half nude women with guns.  And check out the consonant titles:

"The Dominator" By Andrew York

Who is that, a character in the book?  His girlfriend?

"The Expurgator" By Andrew York

Does anyone see the irony in this title?  Allow me to supply the necessary information:

ex·pur·gate

[ek-sper-geyt]

verb (used with object), ex·pur·gat·ed, ex·pur·gat·ing.

1.

to amend by removing words, passages, etc., deemed offensive or objectionable: Most children read an expurgated version of Grimms’ fairy tales.
2.

to purge or cleanse of moral offensiveness.
(Courtesy of (cut and pasted from) dictionary.com)
It’s a cheap assassin book with a semi-nude woman on the cover wearing a fur coat and carrying a gun while sitting, legs spread, in the front seat of a car.  Is Jonas Wilde’s mission to censor this book?
And lastly there was this one:

"The Captivator" By Andrew York

“The Captivator”, what is that, an allusion to her outfit?  Anyways, hopefully these armed women were a good help to Jonas, even if only as vehicles to boost the books’ sales.

Books purchased at Value Village, 1319 Bloor St. W., Toronto