Sunday, 17 November 2013

We're in Clover here at Dead Men's Spex!

Hi There

Here at Deadmen's Spex we currently have some great spectacle frames from Dolabany (the company who supplies us with our Tart Arnel replica- think Johnny Depp.) They are called Clover and are modern replicas of 1930's and 40's tortoiseshell frames.

Clover frame

Like a true 1940's frame all the joints are fully pinned and not heat inserted and the colouring is true to genuine marine shell frames of that period. Being a reproduction they are larger than many period frames, thus suitable for the modern wearer. They are great for reenactors and are strong and durable enough for every day wear.


Mrs Deadman

Friday, 18 October 2013

Dead Men's Spex admire mermaids and kissing fish

Hi there
Wow, where has the time gone? Since I last wrote we have been to two shows; Sheringham and Hemsby. We had fantastic weather at Sheringham and Deadman even got sunburn!

A view at Holt Station 

We've also had some deliveries recently; the most exciting was a shipment from Best Image in America which included a wonderful selection of cocktail glasses. These are copies of original 1950's designs. They are fabulous darlings, but my favourite has to be the kissing fish!

Kissing Fish

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Super-size at Dead Men's Spex

Hi there
We are into super-size this week and no, it's not because Deadman's been overindulging on the pork scratchings, although there is always a strong possibility of that!
He's just bought some beautifully made 1940's tortoiseshell frames, we're always on the look out for large frames and these certainly fulfil that criteria. They are fully jointed with perfectly reproduced metal joints and even have a metal support in the bridge, Deadman thinks they must have been part of an optician's display.

That's a big one, display frames compared with a standard frame
We've just got to find someone with a super-size head and we'll all be happy....!

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Kustom Kulture Blastoff 2013

Hi There

Doug's pick up (from The Tonsorial Artist barber's in Holt)
On Sunday 1st September we went to Spalding in Lincolnshire to Kustom Kulture Blastoff run by the magazine Pinstriping and Kustom We had a great day out admiring some fantastic vehicles and watching artists and tattooists at work; Deadman junior loved the airbrushing. We met Doug and Graham from The Tonsorial Artist in  Holt, they had both arrived in their rat rods.

A decorated Lambretta.

It was a great day out!

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Twinwood Festival 2013

Hi There

The August bank holiday saw Dead Men's Spex at  The Twinwood Festival in Bedfordshire. It was lovely to see so many of our customers and friends again and we had a busy weekend. In the Twinwood tradition we also had loads of rain; on the Saturday morning the local village of Clapham was flooded and there were three female mallards dabbling around the cars in the High Street!
Mrs Deadman on the stall
However, this did not stop the fun, it delayed things a little, but a good wartime spirit prevailed and festival goers kept calm and carried on in their best wellies and brollies. By all accounts the Colonial Club; a large marquee with a stage, tea and stalls, provided a welcome refuge for soggy re enactors.
Inside the Colonial Club
On the main stage there was some excellent music and Terry Elliot and John Miller entertained us all with their usual witty banter. We particularly enjoyed Kai's Cats and Michael Law's Piccadilly Dance Orchestra.

Three Belles and the Bevin Boys on the main stage

Luckily by Monday we had glorious sunshine, so I went out and about with the camera.
                                           1950's stage                                           
Thank you to everyone who came to see us.

 TTFN Mrs Deadman

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Glasses from Amsterdam: a potted history.

Hi there

We have just returned from our short break in Amsterdam, it is one of the few cities that is really easy to get to from Norfolk! The flight takes thirty five minutes from Norwich airport.
The Brilmuseum
Dead Man assures me that the main allure was the Brilmuseum ; the glasses museum. Amsterdam has an eclectic selection of quirky museums, including the torture museum and the Tassenmusem museum of bags and purses. However, we had a first with our landlady as she had never heard of the Brilmuseum!
Inside the Brilmuseum
The Brilmuseum did not disappoint and is a fantastic place for lovers of vintage glasses. They have a comprehensive collection of all things optical. The first floor is a shop selling vintage spectacles (although most only dated to the past 30 years) and the museum is on two floors of a traditional Amsterdam house.
safety and industrial specs
We were excited by the frames; there was a wide range, including rare 18th century 'Martin's Margins' (see the Deadman's own fine example here),  great flying goggles and a wide selection of dramatic 1950s and '60s  cocktail glasses.

Cocktail and Viennese ball inspired frames 

If you're ever in Amsterdam and fancy feasting your eyes on a great selection of vintage glasses it's worth seeking out, and you won't have to queue, we had the place to ourselves.

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Dead Men's Spex; A Little Vintage Lover of a lovely little village. (Say three times very quickly!)

Hi there

It's August already and on Sunday 4th August  Dead Men's Spex is off to a Little Vintage Lover Fair in Heydon, a privately owned village in deepest rural Norfolk. Heydon is a beautiful place with only one road for access. It has a parish room, church, pub, bakery, tea room and some attractive cottages all nestled round a very pictueresque green.These are all close to the Elizabethan Heydon Hall, home of the Bulwer Long family.

The fair is held in the recently refurbished parish room; a world war one soldiers' hut which was moved from Staffordshire to Norfolk in 1922.  The shows here have a lovely old world atmosphere, perfect for a vintage fair. So if you fancy a day out come and see us all at Heydon!
Heydon  Parish Room
I look forward to a fun day out,

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sunglasses - 50 shades of glamour.

Hi There
Wow! We've got a proper summer at last! This provides a perfect opportunity for a bit of vintage glamour in the form of some cool sunnies. I was looking into their history; it is only in the last 50 years or so that they have been widely available to the masses. Modern sunglasses originated in America; in 1929 Sam Foster began selling sunglasses through his eyewear company Foster Grant, an enduring name which is still popular today. In the thirties and forties sunglasses were luxury items mainly worn by the glamorous elite.
Elgantly catching some rays in a pair of 1930's Foster Grants
Polaroid, a brand name synonymous with sunglasses was created by Dr Edwin Land who invented polarizing glass which effectively filters out horizontal rays of  light. Polaroid went on to be the biggest seller of sunglasses and is now part of Safilo, the Italian eyewear company. 
1950's Polaroid advert 
In 1936 American pilots were issued with large sunglasses to protect their eyes, these were soon known as aviators after the people for whom they were originally designed. These were manufactured by Ray Ban and Shuron. They proved so popular that a year later they were sold to the public and have been an enduring fashion statement ever since. General MacArthur, the WW2 commander of Allied Forces in the Pacific was regualrly photographed wearing his and did much to promote the style.

General Mac Arthur in Aviators- love the pipe!

The most common lens colour of vintage sunglasses is green. Dead Mens Spex. can fit green, brown or grey lenses, either plain or prescription, into any pair of our vintage spectacles. Take a peek at our range of sunglasses which include original vintage frames and Swing frames from the Polaroid Hertiage range.

So have fun in the sun.

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Clare a great place for antiques.

Hi There

Summer is finally here and recently we had a few days away in Clare, Suffolk. It is a small wool town full of lovely mediaeval architecture and history, consequently it is great place for antiques and vintage.We spent a morning browsing in Clare Antiques and Interiors gradually working our way through the four floors of goodies. According to Deadman there were 106 dealers. They had a wide selsection of items including some lovely vintage clothes and handbags and loads of books, but alas, no glasses. We also had a good brevit in a bookshop, one of Deadman's favoured habitats, this one's called Harris and Harris .

Clare Antiques centre
We're back in Norfolk now and Deadman's bought some new ladies' frames  which are just about to go the website.

Original 1960s Polaroid Cool Ray sunglasses 

Supra (top) and two tone cat's eyes frames.
TTFN Mrs Deadman

Monday, 20 May 2013

Hemsby 2013

Hi There

The rock'n roll show at Hemsby went off well, I helped out on the Dead Men's Spex  stall on Sunday and it was good to catch up with everyone. Mortimer, our mascot, made his show debut.

Mortimer at Hemsby
We also got some new stock thanks to Shona from  Heyday  who picked up some lovely ladies' white pearlised frames on a recent trip to France. They need to go through the workshop and once they have I think I may just have to have a new pair of sunglasses...


Mrs Deadman

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Dead Men's Spex at Hemsby

Hi there

Hooray! Spring has arrived and with it the start of the show season. Deadmen's Spex is off to Hemsby Rock N Roll weekend on Friday 10th May to Sunday 12th May. I've dusted Deadman down ready for his first show of 2013. This is our seventh year at Hemsby and we are looking forward to seeing our customers and friends. 
All the stock is ready, Deadman has been busy in his workshop preparing a whole selection of great new frames for both ladies and men to complement our usual stock. My favourite has to be a beautiful aluminium Tura frame. 
Some of our new men's frames

Tura fame; a glamorous addition to any vintage gal's wardrobe!

See you next weekend
Mr and Mrs Deadman 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Spectacles, art and everything - the tooth the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth!

I’m often asked that if money was no object what frames would I love to own in my collection.

Well to be honest, most collectible frames tend to be collectible due to the provenance of the person who owned them and not necessarily the quality of the frame.

Who wouldn't want to own a pair of frames once worn by Gandhi (£34,000) , John Lennon (£1 million+) or Churchill (£11,200) ? The intrinsic value of the frame is low, but once touched by the magic of the owner the desirability and material worth is multiplied many thousands of times.

In the other corner sits the frame whose value lies in what it is and not who owned it. This is the area that interests me, as it is also the area which pushes the boundaries of design and material often making what is, at its simplest a utilitarian item, into a work of art.

Take for instance the work of Emma Montague in last year’s Royal College of Art show. Here we have a young designer taking and blending materials that have been historically used to make spectacle frames – acetate, bone and horn – and using them to great effect in expressing abstract ideas within a practical and beautiful form.

So if you ask me what I like within my collection, a jaw bone frame would currently be pretty high on the list.


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

April Fool's Day at Dead Men's Spex

Hello there

I hope you all had a good Easter. We visited my parents and the Easter Bunny delivered copious amounts of chocolate so DeadMan Junior and I are happy. Deadman and I had Lindt truffles in a huge ball the size of Deadman junior's  head. (He wore the wrapper as a hat just to prove it.)

1950s Lindt Poster

Monday, April Fool's Day was Deadman's time to shine; he successfully tricked four people before midday and yes, one of them was me. I believed that it was all snowy and white over outside, well it could've been true!
Uh, oh, I've been tricked!

We liked The Guardian's on line April Fool prank with their Guardian Goggles , these give the wearer a constant stream of Guardian opinions about all aspects of modern life. That's a bit scary!

       "because life's too short to think for yourself -" 

Hope you had fun!

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Monday, 18 March 2013

Red Nose Day

Hi There

It was Red Nose Day on Friday and DeadMan Junior went to school in his pyjamas (not by accident- I know we are slow starters our family, but it was planned.) He couldn't wear his red nose as it wouldn't stay on so Deadman had to model it. Apparently there were quite a few onesies at the school, but due to our fashion sense (not to mention our proportions) we are a onesie free zone in this house.

We have a joke for you from Comic Relief

What do you call a dinosaur who wears glasses? T -Spex.

T Spex one of the three red noses
Talking of fashion sense I have been following in Arkwright's lead and donning a very fetching little paper bag brown number and assisting Deadman in the workshop buffing up frames on his polishing mop. The Deadman was impressed, which is no mean feat, he will, no doubt be encouraging me back in there to do some more, especially as the weather's getting a bit warmer.

Arkwright from Open All Hours
See you next week

Mrs Deadman

Monday, 11 March 2013

Dreaming of glasses from Amsterdam...

Hi There
Brr! Well that was a chilly Mothers' Day but I was lucky enough to be showered with gifts and cards by Deadman junior, he is a generous and enthusiatic giver. We've had snow overnight and now it's white out; and I thought Spring was on its way. This week 7th to14th March is Norwich Fashion Week and my friend and I went to have a look at the vintage fashion fair in the cloisters at Norwich Cathedral. It is a very beautiful setting but open to the elements and I felt for the stall holders who had snowflakes drifting round them through the open columns, oh don't we just love our unpredictable weather?
Vintage fair in Norwich Cathedral cloisters
With such wintry conditions outside we have been planning our summer holiday, we have settled upon a trip to Amsterdam; the Brilmuseum (glasses museum for the linguists amongst us) was a decider for Deadman. The junior and I are looking forward to staying on a boat. We've got a while to wait, but it's nice to dream on! 

Brilmuseum, Amsterdam

Mrs Deadman

Monday, 4 March 2013

Testing Times at Deadman Towers;time for new glasses

Hello all

Deadman followed his own advice and had a sight test last Monday. The results were mixed; his sight is deteriorating, however, he is delighted to report that he doesn't need a reading prescription so he's saved from the varifocals for another year, not bad for a man of his age. The optician says he has excellent accommodation, he must've seen Deadman Towers. Deadman's now browsing his collection for a new pair and meanwhile I found an optician's trial frame in his drawers, he keeps them full of interesting stuff.
optician's trial frame
Also beating a path to the optometrist recently was journalist Sarah Vine; Beauty Editor for The Times. In her article Specs Appeal dated 28th February she discusses reaching a milestone in life; that of needing to wear reading glasses. (I reached it at forty two and have been reminded of it regularly ever since by Deadman.) She kindly recommends Dead Men's Spex as a good place to find a cool pair.
Tortoisehell cat's eye reading frames
In the meantime, we are waiting with bated breath to see which new pair Deadman chooses; I will keep you updated when he has decided!

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Monday, 25 February 2013

Bunny hops round Norfolk

Hi There

How time flies; half term has passed with various trips and activities to occupy us and keep me from the blog!  On Valentine's day I surprised Deadman, not with the bat wing glasses, but with fish and chips for two at a local pub. He was happy, especially when he overheard other diners discussing his favourite programme; Bargain Hunt.

Last Sunday we joined Bunny in one of his two favourite Norfolk activities; visiting the beach. He left his favourite haunt of Cromer and ventured onto Wells beach. It was a beautifully mild day and the sea was faintly visible in the distance. Deadman junior walked with a small amount of fuss (an achievement).  
Al Bowlly
Bunny's other Norfolk pastime is pursuing vintage bargains either by ferreting in charity and antique shops or hanging round the sale rooms in Aylsham. He has a fine collection of vintage records and a Dansette turntable to play them on, one of his favourite musicians is Al Bowlly.

We have just watched the last in the series of BBC's "Ripper Street"; a drama following the police of Whitechapel in 1889. They really seem to capture the feeling and certainly get the glasses correct. Have you noticed it's the baddies who wear them? Is it like the American films where the badddies are always English? The dodgy psychiatrist Dr Karl Crabb had a good pair of gold round eyes. I didn't trust him from the start, he was far too involved with one patient.

My favourite character has to be Jackson the American surgeon with a spurious past (all the characters seem to have those). He is good at his job and a bit naughty too, just like Deadman.

Bunny and I do like a good bit of period angst and swap DVDs excitedly, we are fairly flexible on time periods; Victorian to mid twentieth century. Atonement was a big favourite of Bunny's but we suspect that Keira Knightly may have been the main draw. The Deadman however rolls his eyes at all this emotional turmoil; that is for girls, he prefers intrigue. 

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Call the Midwife and spot the cool glasses

Hi there
This week, in honour of Shrove Tuesday we have been partaking in a bit of seasonal pancake tossing. Here at Dead Men's Spex we do not like to miss an opportunity to enjoy our food so Deadman Junior and I whipped up a batter with eggs from our chickens. Yes, they realise that spring is on the way even if the weather isn't very promising. Dead man took to the frying pan; he is a man of many talents.

We are looking  forward to the weekend so we can indulge ourselves with some Sunday night TV drama, namely "Call the Midwife" set in Poplar in the East End of  London in the1950s. The story lines and music are good and there's a fair smattering of great glasses. There is even a story line where Sister Bernadette opts for a new pair of 1950's upswept Supra frames to replace her broken old round eye pair. In 1958 the new pair would have been her own glasses and not NHS frames which were very utilitarian. This seems a little frivoluous for a nun, but then she is out to impress the doctor.
Sister Bernadette updates her look.
Miranda Hart who plays the likeable but clumsy Chummy has a pair of round eyes, these could have been from the NHS but she is more likely to have bought them herself as she is from quite a well to do family. 
Sister Evangelina follows fashion 1950's style
Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) was definitely following fashion when she was seen on her rounds in sunglasses. These were a luxury as most people did not have sunglasses prior to the 1950s

Friday, 8 February 2013

Valentine's Day for glasses lovers

Hi There
Despite more cold weather love is in the air and Valentine's day is on Thursday 14th February - of course. Being an incurable romantic I do like Valentine's day, in my youth I was a florist and it was my favourite busy time; full of excitement and promise. You never know, Deadman could surprise me!!?
American Optical heart shaped frames
The Deadman has recently sold a great frame just in time for Valentine's and being vintage they were a one off, but Deadman Junior and I have created our own version, made from faux racoons' tails. They are fully glazeable (with clingfilm) 
Mrs Deadman's heart shaped frames 
I also had a rifle through the Deadman's drawers (he is still recovering) and I found a very sexy frame ideal for those steamy nights in. They are from his collection and not for sale, sorry girls! This is not the first time these frames have been seen in public, Fleur de Guerre writer of Diary of a Vintage Girl has modelled them for us.
1950's black cocktail glasses 
 I hope you find your heart's desire, a look at our website could help, or in my case chocolate takes a lot of beating, (If you're listening Deadman.)

TTFN Mrs Deadman

Friday, 1 February 2013

An American classic; the Shuron Ronsir.

Hello there,
I don't know about you but we're happy to see some green again! Miss Frosty has vanished and the chickens have water rather than a slab of ice in their trough.
Yesterday, we had a consignment of Ronsir, Sidewinder and Freeway frames from the American company Shuron. The Ronsir is an enduring and much loved frame which has been made continuously since 1947 and often crops up in films set in the 1950s and 1960s. Think Kevin Costner in the 1991 political thriller JFK and Matt Damon in the 2006 spy film The Good Shepherd.
Kevin Coster as attorney Jim Garrison in JFK

 Matt Damon as Edward Wilson in The Good Shepherd
The Ronsir is the best selling Shuron frame at  Dead Men's Spex  and we stock it in both tortoisehell and black in a range of sizes, something of a luxury, as when purchasing vintage there is often little choice regarding size or colour. One usually has to adopt the attitude taken by another famous American - Henry Ford "You can have any color as long as it is black."

Mrs Deadman