I spent the first half of my life in Auckland, born into a family of mad collectors.
I assembled displays of all the normal kids’ stuff; stamps, badges, coins, feathers, bottle tops – you name it. By ten years old, watching my mother’s rapidly expanding (but very well dusted) collection of milk glass, Victorian pipes and bird feeders, apothecary bottles, majolica tiles and tins – I had moved on to antique bottles (especially with original labels or boxes intact), food and medical packaging, tin signs and vintage magazine advertising, and by twelve years old I already had 200 vintage tobacco tins alone.
New Zealand seemed to be a very old-fashioned country that never really moved on much post World War Two. Being right down the bottom of the earth so far away from everything probably didn’t help; and even while Australia was being invaded by the whizz bang and razzle dazzle of American popular culture, The land of the long white shroud remained very much tied to Mother England’s apron strings. As a result, the way of life, as well as the charming designs and graphics of product, remained a quaint lacuna of the remarkably unchanged over the decades.
Although my original and large collection has long been jettisoned, I continued collecting images for years of those items and anything from my childhood in New Zealand that brings back a memory.
I eventually realised I’d like to “share” the experience and data; in the process somehow organize that jumble into a feed that can be appreciated by, and enjoyed with, others. I will have a focus on food packaging and advertising, and hope to occasionally post footage of adverts.
Nearly two years down the track since my first clumsy posts – and over time my tangential but related interests to food and drink product has sometimes extended to other everyday household items, from preserving to polish; as well as celebrity cooks and advertising agencies that repped for brands, packaging printers, chain grocery or department stores, and unsung commercial artists and copywriters.
Most of the graphics you see on the site have been meticulously recreated by me from often crumpled, dirty, torn and stained items that nobody else wants or cares much about. If that sounds too easy- sometimes I end up recreating them from really bad, blurry photos of crumpled, dirty, torn and stained items that nobody else wants or cares much about! I literally spend hours squinting at barely discernible lines and text and redrawing it all as perfectly as possible. – what I call grocery archaeology.
A recent question a reader asked me was: “Longwhitekid, what’s that mean – and what’s it about?” Since nobody has ever asked me – I assumed it was either evident or unnecessary to give an explanation. So after some thought – I guess it’s a rather fitting combination of “long white cloud” and “Milky Bar Kid”. If I need to go into more detail, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog.
Visit my online store for Longwhitekid calendars, T-shirts, posters, cards and more. http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam
STUDENTS: Attention if you please (I know it’s difficult to focus, you will get the hang of it with old age, trust me).
I do not give free help and advice here. I have had quite a number of people contacting me over the past three or more years with all kinds of requests for projects and presentations they are doing.
Most of it is along the lines of “can I excerpt your text?”, “can I use your pictures?” or “can you answer some questions for me?” I especially don’t respond well to “do you know anything about Four Square?” These days the answer is no, no and NO. And to the last one – use the seach facility, that’s why it’s there! Hopeless.
I don’t really care what you do to be honest, since you will go ahead and do as you please anyway (enjoy it while it lasts kids, you will have less freedom as every year progresses, believe it).
Anyhoo, point being that every time I have been offered a copy of whatever it is, to see how my stuff has been used – not one time has it materialised, as promised, even with follow ups. My polite and helpful replies to your plaintive pleas for help – go unthanked. What is it with kids these days? It’s one word. What’s wrong with you? So I have no more time to give. It’s your qualification; ergo your problem. I am also a student and really busy, so you get the picture. If I had more spare time, I’d spend more time than I do writing this blog so you can rewrite bits of it for your degree. Yes, that’s right – go get some sorry cream to put on the burn I just delivered to you.
ADULTS: Grow up. I mean, at least act more grown up than students. Do not contact me and ask me to write for free. Especially if it’s a for-profit publication. Don’t offer to send me me free copies of whatever, that never arrive, if I do it for free either. I don’t do that deal. Because promising something you have no intention of delivering is not really a ‘deal’. It is insulting to ask me to work for free. It immediately tells me you’ve just lied to me when you say you respect what I do. Here’s a revelation for you: good writing costs money to do! Oh, yes it does. Also: the electricity company had me escorted out last time I tried to pay them with “a couple of books”. They said I must be joking and called security. Just saying.
There, I feel much better now. Thanks for asking.