“I’m every bourgeois nightmare – a Cockney with intelligence and a million dollars.”

Right or wrong I judge LEGO mosaics based on a single question: would I hang it on my Legoratory wall?  In the case of our next featured model here on the Manifesto, the answer is unquestionably yes.  The builder is David Hughes and the subject is the great Michael Caine as he appeared in this 1965 image by acclaimed photographer and fellow proud Cockney, David Bailey.  Bailey’s impressive catalogue of celebrity photos helped create the image of “swinging London” in the sixties and this photo became so famous that it’s now in a special collection at London’s National Portrait Gallery.  It’s interesting that Bailey’s most popular photograph was an actor because he has said more than once that “Actors are a severe pain to photograph because they never want to reveal who they are.

David Hughes does a great job duplicating the photograph, I’m not sure if he used a program or free-handed the model or some combination of both but the results are remarkable. Caine wears the black horn-rimmed glasses he donned to play secret agent Harry Palmer in three films that began with “The Ipcress File” and an unlit Gaulois dangles as if he paused to unfavorably appraise your idiotic small talk.  You’re boring Michael Caine, constant reader, its time to move along.

If you’re looking for a movie recommendation for the weekend, you could do a lot worse than the The Ipcress File, released the same year as the photo.   It’s like a grittier version of the early James Bond entries, albeit with less exotic locales and less fabulous babes.  So if you’re a fan of espionage films, Michael Caine and swinging 60’s action, you should give it a shot.  If you’re under the age of 25 or you have a short attention span,  you can just watch the trailer below, it pretty much gives you the whole story.

Shout out to constant reader Mike M. for the suggestion and be sure to check out the rest of David’s work on Flickr.

“I’ll rip your bloody arms off!”

Australia is home to some of the most talented and acerbic builders our shared hobby has to offer.  From Shannon Sproule to Karf Oohlu and Tim Gould, the good people of the “lucky country” produce models with a unique and often humorous perspective.  So it’s always a real treat to discover a new (to me) Australian builder like Legolanded Here and his most recent work entitled “Aunty Jack“.  This lively figure represents a breakthrough for the Woodford-Queensland resident, none of his previous models have quite this level of sophistication so it’s nice to see him take his work to a new level.  The inherent strangeness of the model pulled me straight down the rabbit-hole and into the oddball world of this beloved 1970’s Australian T.V. character.

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I wasn’t familiar with “The Aunty Jack Show”, it only aired for two seasons and never in America, so I figured I’d give it a shot.  I made it through about half of an episode on YouTube before I gave up and decided I’d need more beer to get through the rest.  If I had to take my best shot at describing the show it would be a combination of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Geraldine Jones from the Flip Wilson ShowAunty Jack is certainly larger than life and even my brief viewing of the show made it clear that the builder has done a top-notch job capturing her likeness and in-your-face attitude.  I can tell you that the funniest bits of the show are indeed when the intimidating and frequently violent Aunty Jack threatens to dismember the various people in her life.  From Wikipedia:

“The lead character, Aunty Jack was a unique comic creation — an obese, mustachioed, gravel-voiced transvestite, part trucker and part pantomime dame — who habitually solved any problem by knocking people unconscious or threatening to ‘rip their bloody arms off’. Visually, she was unmistakable, dressed in a huge, tent-like blue velvet dress, football socks, work boots, and a golden boxing glove on her right hand. She rode everywhere on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and referred to everyone as “me little lovelies” — when she was not uttering her familiar threat: “I’ll rip yer bloody arms off!”, a phrase which immediately passed into the vernacular. The character was devised and played by the multi-talented Grahame Bond and was partly inspired by his overbearing Uncle Jack, whom he had disliked as a child,[

I also really dig the fact that Legolanded Here attempted to recreate a specific photograph, it certainly made my job of evaluation and comparison a good deal easier.  There isn’t much to complain about with the build, except perhaps for the pose because it seems like Aunty Jack should be hunched over the bars at a more severe angle.  The jacket could do with a little more detail to make it look wind-blown but I don’t really like the effect in the photo anyway so I actually prefer the LEGO version.  What we can see of Aunty’s signature Harley is brilliant, although I wish the bars were bent back just slightly and I’m surprised the builder didn’t go with a white custom decal to match the original instead of black.

The series was considered to be such an important part of Australian television history that all the original broadcast master tapes and original negatives of the filmed segments were placed in the National Archives in 1985.  Not bad for a show that only managed to hang on for a dozen episodes.

I’ll leave you with the Aunty Jack Show theme song and while I can’t say that it’s all that catchy,  there are threats of dismemberment and who doesn’t love that?  A word of caution to our younger or more conservative readers: if you examine Legolanded Here’s photostream in any detail you will no doubt encounter penis related custom parts, adult situations and glory holes.  In short, you will find everything good about Australian humor. G’day, constant reader.