POIROT – A Celebration of Style

The Ultimate Fashion History, a YouTube channel hosted by Amanda Hallay, has recently published a delightful half-hour video on the series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. It’s a fascinating look at the fashion and style choices of the series, and how individual characters are made unique through the distinctives of their aesthetic. Definitely check it out!!! (Screen shots below from the YouTube episode.)

Flatlands Theatre Co. performs Murder on the Orient Express!

We just finished our show (November 3-6 at the P.W. Enns Centennial Concert Hall in Winkler, Manitoba). We all had a fantastic time– cast, crew, and audiences! Great turnout, awesome production. 🙂 🙂 🙂

I got to play the role of Mary Debenham, while Alex, my husband, was Col. Arbuthnot. How cute is that?? We actually got to get kissy on stage. I did some set painting as well– specifically, the exterior of the Orient Express train. Our daughter Ana played one of the waitresses at the Tokatliyan Hotel in Istanbul, as well as doing some planning for costumes and working as a stage hand.

I’ll probably be doing a series of posts about it, especially since I’m hoping more photos will come in, but here are a few cast photos to start you off…

Here’s Keith and Eric who played Bouc and Poirot.

Me and Alex as Mary Debenham and Col. Arbuthnot:

Here’s Alex again with our daughter Ana.

Quentin as Hector MacQueen:

Chuck and Erin (another real-life couple) as Michel and Mrs. Hubbard:

Eric again, in performance:

In a “scene not appearing in book,” my character is shot in the arm. During the intermission I got bloodied up and glued upon by the director. That prosthetic DID NOT want to stay on!! But we made it work! The construction crew did an AMAZING job with this multilayered train set. Half our stage was the sleeper carriage (as you see here) and half was the dining car.

The dining car during the final scene, where we’ve been called together for the big reveal. This photo was evidently taken before our curtains, and some other final details, were added to the train car.

The show was so much fun!! Many thanks to all involved and all who came out to see us!

The Booker Prize… and Poirot’s lamp

Not long ago, I received an email from the grandson of the first Booker Prize recipient (P.H. Newby, in 1969). The Booker Prize is a prestigious award for English literature. This gentleman had been using this, your humble Poirot blog, for research. 🙂

When his grandfather received the trophy, the design was of a woman standing and holding a bowl, executed in Art Deco style. It was designed by Jan Pienkowski, who modeled it from an old statue he purchased from a junk shop. The trophy was used for a few years but then changed to something else; more recently they’ve been looking at going back to the original design. My correspondent had been talking to the Booker Prize director about this, and she said she heard the original inspiration was a lamp. He mentioned it to his mother, Newby’s daughter and an avid Poirot fan, and she said, “Oh yes, Poirot has one!”

This led the gentleman to my Poirot blog and a post I’d done on Picasso prints in Poirot’s flat. One of my screen shots has a close-up of Poirot’s distinctive Art Deco lamp (I’d created a miniature replica of the same lamp for one of my 1:12 scale miniature room boxes). The similarities are unmistakable.

I agreed with my correspondent’s suspicion that the Booker Prize was indeed modeled after this very make of lamp. Unfortunately, not being an expert in tracking down antiques, I couldn’t give him any additional ideas on how to acquire this particular kind of item. I wish him luck in his venture!

I thought this was a super-fun story. 🙂 To learn more about the history of the Booker Prize trophy, check out this page!

My Murder on the Orient Express quilt is done!!!

Finally! And just in time for our upcoming fall performance of Murder on the Orient Express with Flatlands Theatre Company. 🙂

The “Poirot words” fabric is my own design, and it’s come in handy for many projects. I quilted this one up myself by stitching in the ditch, because I didn’t want all those right angles to be lost and buried under some random squiggly quilting design.

The backing. The top section of moustaches is a little larger than the bottom… such is the “centering” risk one runs when piecing together a quilt backing.

Backing detail. The main fabric was a custom Spoonflower design (someone else’s) specifically themed on the 1970s “MOTOE” film with Albert Finney. 🙂 It seems to work well, color-wise, with the moustache fabric to pull together all those diverse earth tones and gray tones.

I had to include a satin brocade in honor of the scarlet kimono embroidered with dragons! ❤

I just got kicked off a Poirot-themed Facebook group… why?

Not because of silly arguments about Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile. 🙂

Because individuals were posting my fan art without attribution, and so I asked people more than once to tweak their post and make some mention of where the artwork came from or who really created it, as a matter of basic internet etiquette and common courtesy. These posts were generating several hundred “likes” and personal compliments to the original poster for “their” art.

The first time I noticed this, someone had slapped a filter on a Poirot sketch of mine and posted it. Since compliments were given to the poster with no correction made, I made a comment on that post about the courtesy of proper attribution. One commenter expressed skepticism that I was really the artist, and actually blamed me for not having a signature on that particular drawing (as if that kind of thing is unassailable armor against people taking credit for work online). As far as I know, that posting was never fixed.

Another poster re-posted the same sketch (unfiltered) and I again commented to ask for proper attribution. They began by sharing a link to where they’d seen it– which had been another page where no attribution had been given, incidentally– and ended up just deleting their whole post. Which I suppose is one step better.

The third time, a different poster shared pictures of my room boxes. To his credit, after a number of comments, he mentioned that they weren’t his own work, but since the comment was buried, credit given to him continued to be posted on the thread. So I pointed this out to him and asked him if he’d tweak the original post. He did so and apologized to me, not having realized that credit would be given to him. I thanked him– this was ❤ ❤ ❤ and I was content.

I messaged the admin of the page, outlining the above situations, and asking (politely) if maybe some kind of message could be sent out reminding page posters that in general, it was good manners to give attribution to other people’s artwork if there is a good chance of mistaken credit happening. The reply I got was that the admin had checked, and credit had indeed been given for my art on the last post. I pointed out that this was only because I’d asked for that specific change. Then I was told that “if I were in the group itself, maybe things could be different,” and that I should “maybe try being nicer to people.” I told her I didn’t know what she meant and didn’t understand what I’d done wrong here. And as far as I know, I am now locked out of the group. I seem to be blocked from viewing the page altogether.

Here’s the deal, friends. It IS basic courtesy, if posting artwork, to at least mention who actually created it and/or where you sourced it from (if you don’t know the artist), especially if otherwise you’re going to create the impression that you yourself created/sourced it. It’s egregious and puerile to let compliments to you stand where you didn’t earn them.

I don’t mind if people share my artwork. I know how things commonly get passed around online willy-nilly. Honestly, I don’t even mind if they fail to include my name when they share it. But I do mind if they share it without my name and then sit back and accept credit for it without making corrections. That is probably going to seriously annoy me.

I also do understand that many people who engage in this kind of sharing just hadn’t realized that they were going to be given credit, or didn’t think about that side of things; they weren’t setting out to deceive. If that’s you, then do what my one friend above did– make an “update” edit on the original post to explain, or respect whatever the artist’s wishes are in connection with the sharing/deleting of their work, and carry on with future postings in the same spirit.

And do not… on any account… peg the original artist the bad guy just because they don’t want the credit of their work to be taken and misattributed. That is not cool, my friends, not cool at all.