Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Mantiques – A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff

Written by Baron von Swankenstein • August 23rd, 2014
Mantiques – A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff

Lounge Revivalists use a lot of different words for “old” — “vintage,” “retro,” “classic,” and “nostalgic.” And because of our Cold War era preferences, you also see “atomic age” and “mid-century” used as well.

One word you don’t see used a lot, at least by men, is “antique.” It’s just not macho. The very word “antique” brings to mind the unmanly concept of fragile porcelain items that sit on top of lace doilies collecting dust. Squaresville.

“Antique” also suggests the ultimate unmanly scenario: A weekend “antiquing” — a wife-coerced lodging at some Queen-Anne-style bed-n-breakfast in some small town where one spends two excruciating days in search of expensive items that always turn out to be some shade of leathery brown.

An antique is that which your mother scolded you for breaking when you were nine. An antique is a boring item with no practical use. Grandma collects antiques.

Blasting this view to smithereens in the most virile way is the concept of “MANtiques” — a more masculine subset of vintage stuff. You know a mantique when you see it: An old car hood ornament is a mantique. A World War II bomber jacket is a mantique.

Since the idea of mantiques has been popularized and mainstreamed by antique-hunting reality TV shows like American Pickers, it was bound to happen that a book showcasing this would appear. Enter Mantiques: A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff by Eric Bradley.

A deluxe hardcover primer designed to convince dads and dudes that antique collecting is more like treasure-hunting than shoe shopping, Mantiques covers numerous starting points on manly antiquing: tools, weapons, automobilia and oil industry ephemera, hunting & fishing gear, and sports memorabilia.

I can already hear your from here: “Big deal, daddy-o. None of that stuff swings. We can’t make the scene with that jazz. Why should we be peeling our peepers for this book ?”

Cool your ramjets, Roger. Fortunately for us swank cats, the “burly man” man-stuff is only half the book. The other half may as well have been titled “Bachelor Pads For The Lounge Revivalist.”

Ultra Swank readers will surely dig the sections on pulp paperback and pin-up art, vintage barware, music and entertainment memorabilia, and vintage men’s clothing accessories. And the piece de resistance is “Mid-Century Bachelor Pad:” an entire chapter dedicated to the mid-mod stuff that turns a dullsville domicile into the Rat Pack’s summer headquarters.

And, to keep things from being too homogenized, Mantiques also includes the weird stuff: cabinets of curiosities, outrageous art, Gothic Victoriana, and unique items like Marilyn Monroe’s chest X-ray, Eva Braun’s panties, and a radioactive Trinitite paperweight.

Those of a certain age, who grew up without internet shopping, will remember department store Christmas wish books — toy catalogs that kids spent the holiday season poring over. And that’s exactly what this book feels like. If you’re a well-seasoned “picker” or thrift store haunter, you might not need Mantiques; However, if you’re new to the Lounge scene, or if you’re having a hard time convincing your significant other to go treasure-hunting with you, it just might be what you need to get things going in the right direction.

Mantiques: A Manly Guide to Cool Stuff
by Eric Bradley

Krause Publications
May 2014
Hardcover; 176 pages; 11.1 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
US$26.99; CAN$29.99

ISBN-10: 144023986X ; ISBN-13: 978-1440239861

Baron von Swankenstein

Roman Gheesling aka Baron von Swankenstein, is that swingin' mad scientist who celebrates Halloween year round. He also holds a BFA in Graphic Design.

Find out more about Baron von Swankenstein

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