travel, novelty, and a pinch of snark

welcome to newelty. image (c) Genna Campton

The Manifesto

by Lia

This blog is partially Lady Gaga’s fault. Let me explain.

Not everyone loves her. Not everyone gets her. That’s fine. Personally, I had ignored her for the better part of a year of her meteoric rise. But once I watched the “Bad Romance” video I was hooked.

I loved the beautiful, shiny, milky monsters in the beginning of the video. They enthralled me so much, I watched the video half a dozen times. I mulled over the visuals, trying to identify something familiar.

Lady Gaga's milk monster outfit

I’ve got it!

Samsonite Black Label by Alexander McQueen luggage that should be mine

The articulated-spine outfits remind me of this Alexander McQueen luggage I have been coveting!

It turns out that the Haus of Gaga, the creative team behind this video and everything she does, has indeed partnered with Mr. McQ. Which got me thinking.

I’ve become convinced that criticism of all kinds–what we like and don’t like–is inextricably linked to every previous thing we think is cool. The problem with most journalism, including travel journalism, is that I think most of what they like is boring or sometimes downright terrible.

What most travel writers seem to think is cool–amenities on a cruise ship, for example–is completely uninteresting to me. And vice versa. The reason, I think, is because they have a history of liking very different things from me, my friends, and pretty much anyone I’d like to have dinner with.

Here’s an example. I greatly enjoyed Sofia Coppola’s film, “Marie Antoinette.” I loved how everything was the color of French macarons. (I was thrilled to grab a box of Ladurée during a quick changeover in the Charles de Gaulle airport on my last trip.) She and I share some kind of similar sensibility, and because I think that’s cool, I liked her movie.

Marie Antoinette’s love interest made me laugh.

Jamie Dornan gussied up in a three point hat

I recognized him from such decades as the 80s, when I used to listen to Adam Ant as part of the New Wave/New Romantics soundtrack of my childhood.

I like these things–”Marie Antoinette,” Lady Gaga–because I like the sea of pop-culture references that lies underneath the surface. This same sea applies to where I like to travel to and what I like to do once I get there.

Are You In?

Here’s a little litmus test to see if you’re likely to like what’s on newelty.

What do you think of the woman in this painting, Edward Hopper’s “New York Movie”?

New York Movie

If you’re the curators of a Hopper show at the Seattle Art Museum, you see her as a solitary figure to be observed, objectified, and pitied for her loneliness. You’ll ignore the glorious colors that contrast the quiet stillness in order to make your point about how pathetic she really is.

I see this woman and Hopper’s other subjects as women who have only recently escaped from the restrictions put on them at the start of the Twentieth Century. To me, they are beautiful in their quiet contemplation. I see her solitude as something fundamentally good.

What I’ve always liked in Edward Hopper’s paintings is what I love about travel: liberty and relief from the obligations of the day, not having to meet anyone else’s expectations, but a time to be alone with my thoughts, seeing the world through new eyes. I’m lucky to have a Betty, a partner-in-crime, who shares this same sensibility.

If any of that sounds familiar to you, we hope you’ll join us here on newelty.

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