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Retrogarde

The Time Travel Experiment

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I thought it was time to start a new thread for this discussion.

 

Statement of Intent: Having been gifted a sample of Pernod Fils 1910, I have decided to create a Mathesonian* Time Travel experiment around it. The concept is simple: remove all traces of the present day from your senses and through self hypnosis you can --for a moment-- slide back to a previous time period. I believe Absinthe is particularly well suited for this sort of endeavor, given the strong pull of nostalgia it exerts entirely on its own. For this experiment I am choosing the summer of 1911, a year after the vintage of the bottle. In Maine all alcoholic beverages were illegal at that time (Maine was dry from 1850 until the repeal of Prohibition), so the Time Traveler (as I will be rather pretentiously referring to myself in this thread) will not be enjoying his Absinthe in a bar or restaurant, but rather in the shade of a tree, or next to a river. This simplifies things as well, since the modern world can be left behind to a large extent by simply pushing deeper into the woods.

Through the kind lending of items from members of this list, I will be using a vintage spoon and a vintage glass, as well as transporting my Absinthe in a vintage topette. This strict authenticity will be extended as far as possible, with much of my clothing being period as well. I draw the line at century old underwear however.

As the date of the experiment approaches I will update this thread with photos of the items I am gathering, from starched collars and pocket change, to vintage glasses and --fingers crossed-- a period bicycle.

The end result (and the reason this thread is here) will be a series of photos of the event, taken with a vintage camera. The film in the camera will in effect be a time traveler as well, since the camera it will be in and the images it will capture will all be true to the era.

For now though I leave you with a photo showing how my commitment to this concept is not a passing fancy: this was taken in 1998, when I was just 21 years old.

 

cm2.jpg

 

*Please refer to Richard Matheson's seminal work Bid Time Return, or Jack Finney's Time and Again

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A wonderful project! Having done a wealth of theatre "period pieces" in my time, it's something I can really appreciate. I'm looking forward to the photographs very much. :cheers:

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A man after mine own heart. :cheers:

 

I think the nature thing is a cop-out though; no one carried their absinthe paraphernalia out to the woods. Surely in Maine there are plenty period venues that could be pressed into service? Even a veranda or private home?

 

I'm looking forward to watching this—ahem—develop.

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Retro, that sounds great. Take lots of pics if possible. I will enjoy viewing them on my period correct computer.

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Hiram's thrown down the gauntlet, eh? Perhaps I could look a little harder for a period locale, but finding one free of car/plane/boat traffic is tricky. I'll admit I would rather sit in a chair as the ticks have become quite a problem in Maine.

 

Thanks for the support! More photos coming soon!

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Back in 2003, a long departed member of Fee Verte, and myself, were always fantasizing about what it would have been like to time- travel back to the turn-of-the century New York depicted in Caleb Carr's 'The Alienist', with a paticular curiosity about what absinthes might have been poured for those frappes that were popular back in the day. Of course, having picked a longtime dry state to visit, you probably won't be able to shed much light on that. Nonethess, I wish you great success in your quest, Mr Wells. :cheers:

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Again, the aura around this one has me on pins and needles. Can’t wait for the results. Plan on doing any other research or contemplation while back in 1911??

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I have decided to create a Mathesonian* Time Travel experiment around it. The concept is simple: remove all traces of the present day from your senses and through self hypnosis you can --for a moment-- slide back to a previous time period.

"Bid Time Return" was adapted into the movie, "Somewhere in Time", staring Christopher Reeve. The concept has ingrigued me since but what was never resolved in the movie was the source for the watch...but I digress. Your experiment sounds interesting...

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I'll come clean and confess that I knew of the movie long before I knew of the book, but I prefer to base my "scientific experiments" on books rather than films, even if the book in question was just a paperback sci fi. Absomphe, I loved the period detail in the Alienist too! Certainly another inspiration for this Experiment...

 

There has been some interesting progress today: the local historical society actually maintains a fully furnished victorian mansion! They even refer to it as a time capsule! Check it out here. I'll need to work on my sales pitch, but hopefully I can convince them to leave me alone in the parlor for an hour :devil:

 

If I can in fact use this location then I want to learn more about the inhabitants of the house circa 1911. It feels a bit funny, like I'm planning to sneak into their house while they are upstairs sleeping.

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Tread lightly, we don't want you to bring anything back that doesn't belong! For example, floor length skirts, or to a lesser extent, a flu epidemic. Seeing as you are traveling to 1911 you will dodge the big one by seven years, but get a smallpox shot for all our sakes... hmm?

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Hiram's thrown down the gauntlet, eh? Perhaps I could look a little harder for a period locale... I'll admit I would rather sit in a chair as the ticks have become quite a problem in Maine.
That's the spirit!

 

... There has been some interesting progress today: the local historical society actually maintains a fully furnished victorian mansion! They even refer to it as a time capsule! Check it out here.

Aren't you glad I nudged you now? ;)

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This sounds like a brilliant thought experiment brought to life. Count me in as another voyeur.

 

I wonder if it's at all possible to get hold of film from the period? Didn't they use glass plates for photography?

 

I also think if you're not going to wear period correct underwear, you shouldn't wear any at all.

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So a few pictures to illustrate my progress:

 

This is the camera I will be using. I am checking out a second camera now, just in case this one is faulty. I'd hate to end up with no documentation of the event!

camera.jpg

Here are the coins and the shirt collar.

coins.jpg

 

More photos as things develop!

 

Verona Gentleman, do you have any suggestions? Contemplation *about* 1911 is the primary vehicle for "getting there", but once I'm there it will be interesting to see where my mind wanders. My plan is to firmly plant myself in 1911 before I even pour the first glass.

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Oh, I dunno- I am no good at this sort of thing. I just figured if you’re taking such a journey of experience and indulgence perhaps you might be getting the most ‘bang’ out of your buck for the trip! Hmm, well; you could contemplate the upcoming war in Europe, or the price of tea in China. Or maybe just take some copious notes on 1911 flora and fauna? What would the average 1911 chap sipping absinthe on the down-low want to think about, I wonder?

 

However you spend your trip I am sure it will be well worth it :thumbup:

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This is just very cool Retrogarde.

 

I didn't see mention of period newspapers. What was the news of the day that would have engaged one in converstaion? What issues were important?

 

News from the Illustrated London News of 1911.

 

In art, the work of the radical cubist painters Braque and Picasso and the other painters at the Salon d'Autonome created quite a stir. Are you a person of 1911 who is embracing these modern developments, or are you looking back towards the past? (Many average Americans did not embrace the new art.)

 

The NY Times online has articles back from 1911.

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Thank you both!

 

VG, the impending war is an ideal focal point for me since I already spend far too much time thinking about it (and its sequel; just check out my personal photo).

 

DP, I am going to seek out newspapers from the period, and who knows; once I've locked in on a date maybe I can locate a vintage one to bring with me! Nothing like looking over the daily news while your drink louches! :cheers:

 

And to Dannyhawaii: if I do my job right you will NEVER be able to tell whether I've followed your advice or not! Things would have to go pretty horribly awry for my trousers to be down in one of the photographs... :devil:

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And to Dannyhawaii: if I do my job right you will NEVER be able to tell whether I've followed your advice or not! Things would have to go pretty horribly awry for my trousers to be down in one of the photographs... :devil:

 

Suspenders would be good for the experiment.

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This project makes me think of Schopenhauer's aesthetics. I'm tempted to do something similar, set in 1920s Sydney, seeing as this period/place is a large part of the novel I'm working on.

 

Okay, I'll drop the underwear as a subject, but tell us more about the camera, ie model/tech.

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Danny: the camera has a logo on the viewfinder that reads ANSCO, and above the lens it says "bionic", but that is all I can make out. I had a friend look it over a few years ago (I really wanted to use it to take photos of my wedding), and he said it was in working order. The plates will cost $20 apiece though, so I've got be sure about each one.

 

You should totally try this experiment Danny. What a great way to get inside your character's head!

 

Great link Shabba. I'm thinking I'll check first with the historical society and see what they have on site.

 

Here's a mediocre photo of the two vintage spoons I'll be choosing from:

 

spoons.jpg

 

They were lent to me for this experiment by a kind member of this list who wishes to remain anonymous, so I'll just refer to him as ooks-Bray. Thank you ooks-Bray! :wave2:

 

While I'm at it, I just want to take a moment and thank Verona Gentleman too. His kind donation of a Pre-ban sample is what made all this possible. As I write this he's on his way back to the Middle East. I wish him a swift and safe return and look forward to the day when I can raise a glass and toast him in person. :cheers:

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......so I'll just refer to him as ooks-Bray. :wave2:

Who dat? :wave2: (And who said anything about anonymity?)

 

Verona Gentleman is the man. He needs to get hisself home for good, say I.

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Thirded.

 

And to Dannyhawaii: if I do my job right you will NEVER be able to tell whether I've followed your advice or not! Things would have to go pretty horribly awry for my trousers to be down in one of the photographs... :devil:

 

Suspenders would be good for the experiment.

... and our eyes.

 

Okay, I'll drop the underwear ...
Please, no.

 

 

Forward into the past!

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Button braces: Check.

 

Here's the glass I'll be using, courtesy of T73.

 

glass.jpg

 

I'm not sure which spoon I'll be using, but the silver one looks quite nice balanced on the glass. There is a wonderful heft to the glass, much better than the reproduction glasses I'm used to drinking from. Plus repros don't glow under blacklight...

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Okay, who had black lights back then? Madame Curie?

 

Whatever, I am sufficiently interested(jealous) to now state my interest in this mind experiment and wish you success. Whatever that might manifest as..... :g:

 

I like the leaf-shaped spoon better.

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