The case for swagged-out hoarding
Joyous, unruly décor; vintage proto-pop-art lithographs for the low; sick towels; and more
Welcome to Blackbird Spyplane.
Our interviews with André 3000, Nathan Fielder, Jerry Seinfeld, Lorde, Tyler, The Creator, Emily Bode, Phoebe Bridgers, Matty Matheson, John Mayer, Sandy Liang, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, The Kid Mero, Daniel Arnold, 100 gecs, Michael Stipe, Héctor Bellerín, John Wilson, Mike Mills, Ezra Koenig, Action Bronson, Mac DeMarco, Seth Rogen, Danielle Haim and more are here.
Every issue of Concorde is here.
— Jonah & Erin
Today we’ve got a “home-themed” sletter for you, including a great new line of towels & bathmats, but first:
Last week, Erin and I took a quick trip to the place of my birth — New York “F**king” City itself — to tap in with friends; catch the Kate Berlant show before it closes (it was even better than we’d hoped); drop in on some Mach 3+ jawnsellers (fuller report on those coming soon); enjoy sublime slices at L’Industrie and “10/10 no notes” dinners at blue-chip downtown slappers such as Thai Diner, Lucien and the stalwart macrobiotic legend Souen; and — most importantly — to hit my dad with a surprise visit for his birthday.
Dropping in on Mama and Papa Spyplane offers, among other pleasures, a chance to bask in the beautiful, barely controlled chaos of their apartment. It’s a place you could use as Exhibit A in an airtight defense of hoarding: “If you’d smashed the d*mn flea markets, antique stores and sidewalk-discards circuit as hard as these two did in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and your tchotchke-curio-and-charming-bric-a-brac game was this strong, you would never get rid of anything either, baby…”
The place festers with charm … I grew up within it and therefore stopped seeing it. But now, when I come back, my eyes can barely process the “inimitable NYC Bohemian abbondanza” on display, which includes oil paintings and watercolors by friends & family, photos my dad took, ancient VHS tapes stored in plastic bags for arcane reasons, vintage hand-painted novelty mechanical coin banks, a plastic oscillating fan they found on the street decades ago and periodically repair as needed, my mom’s knitting needles coiled from a clip on a bookshelf, and a friendly little wall-mounted plywood platform my dad recently installed to hold a pair of Logitech speakers and headphones (??) whose purpose I didn’t ask him to explain because it’s not the duty of a visionary sculptor to explain his creations!!
I’ve alluded before to the formative effects on me of my parents’ joyous and unruly approach to décor. I offset my (generationally coded??) susceptibility to the austere allure of minimalism with my awe at their lightly worn gift for vibrant, characterful clutter.
Nothing in their place cost them more than ~ a couple hundred dollars, and that’s probably a too-high estimate. There are no recognizable “luxury signifiers” of sauce — no chandeliers from Bec Brittain, no framed vintage Dan Flavin exhibition posters, no Breuer chairs or Togo sofas, weathered or otherwise. My parents either don’t know or care about that stuff, and as a result this is a home laid out with absolutely NOBODY’S GAZE in mind besides their own.
How many of us can say that about our places??
Blackbird Spyplane is 100% reader supported. Paying for great things feels amazing, and we keep fire s**t behind the paywall. Come rock with us to the fullest, and enjoy the best that life has to offer — Jonah & Erin
Part of their secret is they accumulated the vast majority of their things during earlier, less-expensive, less-corporatized, pre-Giulianized and -Bloombergified eras of New York, when you could routinely come across handsome old s**t for cheap at any number of bustling fleas, or for free on the curb, back before the archetypal sidewalk reject became a moldering particleboard IKEA dud…
And part of it is that they just know how to combine humbly but inarguably beautiful things (e.g. the paintings) with pleasant mundanities (e.g. the bagged VHS tapes) in a way that blurs the distinction between the two and comes off as thoroughly un-precious…
Of course, since Blackbird Spyplane’s recon never sleeps, Erin & I came away from this particular visit with one actionable gold nugget of home-décor intel for YOU, on a post-cubist proto-pop-artist with a flotilla of fantastic lithographs to his name, two of which my parents copped ages ago, and which you can find very readily today — sometimes for not a lot of $$$, because a lot of them seem to have been made — and whose bold, graphical work looks as good in 2023 as it ever has: