Monday, September 09, 2013

A psychedelic anniversary

This week saw the 50th anniversary of the lava lamp. I had no idea anyone was keeping track. Most of the people who stared into them didn't seem very into making note of things like time.

But it must be part of a trend going on, as Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is currently featuring an exhibit called 'Hippie Chic' an exploration of fashion, and some of the changes that occurred in fashion, during the decade we call The Sixties (even though some of that decade apparently spilled over into the early '70s).

One oversight in the Boston exhibit -- or at least in the part accessible through the museum's link -- is the exclusion of dresses or fabrics by Peter Max. To me at least, his work epitomized the look that became known as psychedelia -- vibrant colours in surprising combinations -- patterns that often appeared to be moving.

It's hard to imagine I ever fit into the little dress in the pic, but lord knows, I did.

Oh, and if you want a view of a modern lava lamp in action, click on the video below. Maybe it's my sense of time that's awry, but I'm pretty sure the original lamps released their waxy globules much more slowly. One of the most hypnotic ways of watching it was to the accompaniment of Jeff Beck's instrumental, Beck's Bolero. For maximum viewing pleasure, we played our 45-rpm version of the Bolero on the stretched-out 33 1/3 speed. Long, drawn-out notes for extended pleasure. Probably some consciousness-raising inhalations as well.


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