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  • The Naked Swami

It's that time of year again when Yeti dye their white fur green & the pungent aroma of sweat is mingled with that of mulled wine in my Himalayan bolt-hole / factory complex - it's the run-up to Xmas !

As a departure from the architectural prints and in keeping with both the festive season and minimalist inclinations (most of my furniture is early 20th Century Scandinavian), I decided to try out some minimalist Xmas cards, which you can see here - message me if you're interested in ordering the set.

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One thing I discovered very recently is how many younger people have never heard of this film, which is the basis for the film poster design below, available as a standalone print or as part of the "Himalaya Palace" print.

You can find out more about the film at this fascinating podcast series :

The podcast goes into the story behind the unusual, creepy visual effects in the film, which fits into the Sci-Fi "B" movie genre and explains how these memorable effects are responsible for it becoming a kind of cult classic over the years, with screenings across the world and on late-night TV stations, as variably, "The Crawling Eye" or "The Trollenberg Terror".

What it doesn't go into is the fact that it was made entirely in Southall, West London, at Southall Studios, which no longer exists, hence its inclusion as a film poster marking a particular era of cinema-going - the 1950's - and also the life of the "Palace" cinema.

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  • Ravi Swami

Researching the subject of Gas Holders & "Gasometers" as they are sometimes called, you soon realise that one gas holder looks pretty much like another - across the U.K certainly, the default design seems to follow that of the soon-to-be demolished Southall Gas Tower, (depicted here as a vector file illustration which you can purchase as a print) - a tall cylindrical structure painted a light blue - these usually date from the 1920' / 30's.

The other type often seen across London is a cylindrical open framework of cast iron, occasionally with ornamentation, a good example being the Gas Tower at The Oval - these usually date from the late Victorian era and many are already under preservation orders - the visible structure is built over the actual gas tank, which would have been submerged underground.

Similar Gas Towers exist across Europe and depending upon the era that they were constructed have varying levels of ornamentation, so that they appear to be "follies" at first glance - the castellated Southall Water Tower (also available here as a print) is a good example of Victorian Gothic attempts to make such utilitarian structures blend into a background of terraced housing - keeping apace with trends in architecture, structures from the Post-War period gradually became more "brutalist" and uncompromising in style, but retain a certain charm & impact due to their imposing scale.

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