Favorite Archival source for print ephemera, Pillpat, posted these vintage playing cards from Tops and Tails, a game from Austria. While the rules of Tops and Tails are lost on me I love the larky illustrations of my favorite outdoor pursuits. I encourage you to print out the cards and generate your own topsy turvy comb0s – cyclists riding hobby horses, alpinists sporting tennis skirt, etc.
Yes, we’re most fond of cycling and hiking here at Archival, but we (almost) all love tennis, too. I waved a racquet around for an hour this morning on the last day of open tennis in New York (as of tomorrow, you need a $200 permit). I had to shop from my hiking wardrobe, but I was mentally wearing a more complete outfit from the past.
Some films are better watched on fast forward or reproduced as film stills. Shoot the Moon (Parker 1982) is just such a movie — playing out like an Ingmar Bergman domestic drama populated by Woody Allen characters. While we’re asked to focus on the dissolving marriage of Albert Finney and Diane Keaton, one’s eye cannot help but wander to the the family’s shared taste in classic clothing: wonderful cotton plaids, knits, woolens and jackets sourced (perhaps) from venerable brands like Barbour, Woolrich and Pendleton.
I’ve reproduced a few stills for reference:
Once Spring randonneuring season is over I’ll be switching over to tennis as my preferred archival sport. Tennis is great because it only requires two to play and even if you have no formal training there’s a good chance you’ll get the ball over the net (who cares about line calls). Fortunately for me, most of my friends have at least rudimentary, P.E. class level ability (although one is a transfer student from the more hoi toi toi sport of squash). We chatter and bat the ball back and forth in the outdoors.
It’s easy to shop from the past for tennis equipment and apparel. I have a robust, thrift store collection of wooden rackets including favorite signature models by Chris Evert and Jack Kramer. My own embarrassing racket of choice during my teen tennis “career” was an over sized Prince woodie.
From The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Vittorio De Sica 1971)
I haven’t seen Vittorio DeSica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis in over ten years. What I remember about the film (aside from its grim ending) is the opening sequence following a group of youthful cyclists, in tennis whites, on their way to a match at the Finzi-Contini family estate.
On second viewing, beyond the opening sequence, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis loses dramatic momentum (bad things happen and than it ends). As it were, the film starts to feel more like a product of 1970s (synth-dirge soundtrack and meaningful zoom shots of lens flared foliage–think Don’t Look Now or Days of Heaven). But I still recommend Finzi for its ten minute, pre-War II story world populated w/beautiful people, roadster style bicycles, leather satchels, wooden tennis racquets and large breed dogs.