Thursday, December 26, 2013

The art of logo





Anything old, anything strange, I automatically love, or almost. Which is why I've been married to the same man for 40 years, and why I guess I can stand to get up in the morning and face myself. Old and strange just about describes it.

I have my frustrations, such as getting all involved in technology I barely understand and which only seems to make me increasingly miserable. Do I need to be reminded that my life is unexciting, that nothing ever happens to me, that I've failed in almost all my life's endeavours? If I forget these things, all I have to do is go on Facebook. (Actual comments from recent posts: "Modelling my awesome new bikini in time for Barbados trip. Does this make me look fat? I. . . don't. . . think. . . so!" "My friend made a joke today and told me my awesome new hair style makes me look 15 years younger! At least I THINK she was joking. What do all of you guys think? A few thousand likes ought to do it, lol/lheart!" "This is the fabulous dress I will be wearing when I win my Oscar for pain-in-the-ass-of-the-century." Oops, made that last one up. In fact, I made them all up. Fuck 'em.)




And so I turn to this blog, which is nearly not read at all except for the odd freakish post that has gone into the thousands, even tens of thousands. I swear I got in excess of 100,000 views on one quirky post that I took down by request of a man whose photos I had used by mistake. My one chance at glory.

So I tell myself, just do what you want to do. Don't worry about being "popular" or even being read or any of that will-the-world-ever-understand-me shit. It's about time I gave it up anyway. It's really very adolescent and a waste of time.




I have a book coming out in the spring (The Glass Character), a new novel written around the life and career of silent screen legend Harold Lloyd, and it terrifies me to think how I will go about trying to promote it. I am not one of these people who is good at networking, though some seem to have a positive genius for it. I'm shy and introverted, that is the cloth I am cut from, and trying to turn myself inside-out for the sake of popularity alarms me no end.

At any rate, the point I am working up to so feverishly is that I don't want to try for anything any more. I'll do this for fun, my own fun. Harold will sink or swim - I still think he has the potential to go "big" in the right hands - but the unstable and even wildly wonky world of publishing can't and won't guarantee me anything at all. What I really want is to try to salvage the original joy I felt in writing and pursue THAT rather than some bizarre notion of "fame". If I lose money, it won't be anything new.




So! This is why the logos, which are my newest obsession. I think gifs were made for this, because logos are mini-dramas only a few seconds long, moving signatures/trademarks of film and TV studios past and present. The past few gifs  illustrate the evolution of the MGM Lion, who at first was merely the Goldwyn lion and who didn't even roar, just sat there looking confused.  In the first one he looks neurasthenic and twitchy. The third one gradually works up to it with a series of facial twitches - surely they must've given "something" to these lions to make them so docile. The final one is so handsome I can't stop looking at it.




I think this all started with Universal logos, which I have always particularly loved. This one from the '30s is almost hallucinogenic, with a 3D effect that predated even those goofy 1950s horror movies with the cardboard glasses.




Don't look at this one too long!




For some reason this one reminds me of the first King Kong movie. I think just the idea of a plane flying around the world appealed to audiences' sense of adventure and escape.




These are beauties, early Paramount logos from the silent/earlie talkie era. I love the dreamlike quality and the way the writing and the mountain evolves. No "A Gulf/Western Company" either, to spoil the effect. This is pure shimmering magic, making me glad I am alive in the time of YouTube!

Old film has a powerful transportive effect on me, which is how I happened to get involved with Harold Lloyd (the rat!) to begin with. But can you see why? It's stepping over a threshhold, spooky and seductive, and I want to go, I really do want to get out of here and go somewhere else where it's warm and people are kind.




Now this is beautiful, and strange. The Pathe logo comes up on all of Harold Lloyd's early movies, a production company no doubt, and I do remember a rooster logo, but this! It's almost shocking because it's so unexpected. Pathe still exists today, in what form I don't know. It's sort of like the Benz automobile, a ghost that never goes away. Was the rooster a way of trumping the seedy-looking lion that lay there looking confused? If so, it worked. Nice idea: the chicken outroars the lion.




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