Sunday, May 5, 2013

Smokin' - Sepia Saturday 175

The theme for this week's Sepia Saturday post is smoking and anything else associated with the prompt image on the blog e.g. black cats, vending machines and so on.

I am kind of excited about this theme because it gives me a chance to highlight an interesting series of photos found in my maternal grandfather's collection i.e. those belonging to Thomas McLouglin (1898 - 1982).     

Seated Smoker

 I don't know who is who in any of these photos or whether any of them are my grandfather.  It's hard to tell.  I suspect that they are friends, brothers or cousins.  I have a memory of my mother saying that her cousin was a photographer and there does seem to be a lot of posing going on and experimenting with light and contrast so, maybe her cousin's father owned the photography business first and then passed it on to his son.  

Here are some more photos of the likely lads.  They look rather sharp don't you think?  I think that could be my grandfather in the background. 

Last but not least, this next photo appears in the album three times: twice as postcards and I think that this is the original.

Silhouette of smoker

 Once again, nothing on the back identifies the smoker (to my mind anyway)...but there is a lot of writing in pencil.  I suspect it is a list of horses' names (my grandfather did like to be on the ponies)

What do you think?

Back of silhouette photo

Anyway it all rather puts me in mind of this scene from Little Caesar from 1930 starring Edward G. Robinson.
Little Caesar 1930

It would be remiss of me not to note the time honoured tradition (now rather politically incorrect) of "Smoko" in Australia.
Here is a photo from the other side of the family.  Taken in the 1950s it is I suspect in Springwood where some friends have gathered to play cards.  My paternal grandparents are seated at the front: Edwin Arthur Conner on the right and his wife Ethel perched on the arm of the chair next to him.  My father is behind her and I expect he drafted the sign.  My father was fantastic at parties always decorating and hanging up signs with rules for games and so on.

The Crums, The Neils and The Conners

 "Smoko" is possibly a very Australian phrase and if you want to know more about it I suggest you read John O'Grady's Aussie Etiket which will set you straight.  Leura Books is having a half price sale on fiction this weekend.  Or you could go to the UQ Alumni Book Fair.

And now black cats.  I've had a few in my life: Sooty, Yum Yum and Rambo.
I had hoped to post a photo but it seems to be taking an inordinately long time to load photos today so I've given up.

I shall leave you instead with a cartoon (for want of a better word) of one of my favourite black cats - Norman Lindsay's Fuzz Buzz.  Norman Lindsay, an artist,  used to live at Springwood too.  Fuzz Buzz was a studio cat.  If you want to read more about him, I urge you to get a copy of the wonderful volume Norman Lindsay Artful Cats introduced by Meg Stewart.  It's just beautiful.
Norman Lindsay's Fuzz Buzz
For more black cat and smoking stories go to Sepia Saturday.


diane b said...

What a great collection of family photos and plenty to fit the meme.

Alex Daw said...

Kristin from (
said "Those are some sharp looking smokers you have there. Somebody who knew what they were doing was taking shots. Interesting profile shot." My big fat fingers on my mobile phone rejected her comment instead of publishing it. Sorry Kristin. When will I learn????

Brett Payne said...

"Smoko" is used in New Zealand too. I must say I was rather amused by it when I forst arrived here 14 years ago, because by that time, if you wanted to have a cigarette you had to go outside, so you couldn't smoke in the "smoko room."

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Diane B - yes I was really looking forward to posting for this meme because I had so many photos - sad really when you think about it.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Brett - yes - a bit like when I worked at the ABC and the canteen would be closed for lunch. I found that hilarious really.

Mike Brubaker said...

These would be super photos for a detective novel. Including the cat! The silhouette back does look like a list of names. Could the XXs show the bets?

Alex Daw said...

Yep Mike - I'm with you - I think the xxs mean the name of the horses he was betting on. Now if only I could be bothered to write the names down as I can see them and then do a search on Trove to see if it matches a form guide on an old newspaper. Knowing my OCD behaviour, I might just do that tonight!

Tattered and Lost said...

The photos are very noir. Even a bit Boardwalk Empire. Serious men you didn't argue with.

anyjazz said...

It does look like stills from an old gangster movie. Fun post!

Kathy said...

The most unusual family smoking photos of the day, I think.

Titania said...

A flirting FuzzBuzz, a wonderful sketch. A great collection of old and interesting photographs.

Alex Daw said...

Yes, that's exactly right. Why didn't I think of that??? Noir! Perfect.

Alex Daw said...

I only found the still from Little Caesar by chance and was much struck by the resemblance.

Alex Daw said...

Well I guess in that the smoking is absolutely the focus, yes?

Alex Daw said...

I adore Fuzz Buzz. He is flirting. You are absolutely right. And the chaps are flirting with death I suppose.

Alex Daw said...

PS Thank you so much for being my 34th follower!!

Alex Daw said...

Ooh and to anyone who is still vaguely interested in this particular post I reckon I've narrowed it down to April 1926 given what I have found on Trove in terms of horses' names.|||l-title=35


Great collection!!
I like your analogy with "Little Caesar".
I didn't think I knew Lindsay but his artwork seems familiar to me. I must have run into it while googling to death....
Great post!!

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Ticklebear - hugs to you too. Lindsay's work is wonderful. I hope you find more.

Queen of the Tea Cosies said...

Next incarnation Alex?
Lady Detective