Cultrface is a blog about culture and how it can enrich our lives.

The cosmic importance of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

For GQ, astronaut Charles Duke explained how the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch helped the Apollo 16 mission team land on the moon:

Apollo crew members were issued with an Omega Speedmaster after NASA flight-qualified it for all manned space missions. The story of how Omega’s honest 1950s racing chronograph survived a barrage of environmental tests to earn an unlikely place in the history of space exploration has become clearer in recent years. Part of the tale is how it saw off Rolex to win NASA’s affections.

The Speedmasters were state property, and when their time with the Apollo programme ended, Duke and his colleagues were asked to return them. As the lunar module pilot, Duke had used his as mechanical back-up to the computer that timed engine burn as they made their descent into the Descartes Highlands, where the lunar module landed. “If the burn was one second too long, we would crash into the Moon,” says Duke. “It was so valuable to have this accurate timepiece. The only thing was, you couldn’t forget to wind it…”

Watch related: Restoring a Tissot 1853 watch found on the ground

See also: Did Omega and Swatch Just Release a Moonwatch under $300?

PushingUpRoses on Hellraiser V: Inferno

This Classic Horror Movie Sequel Was Bonkers

I’ve seen the first three Hellraiser movies. The first two were good, the third was bad and that’s when I knew I should stop. But franchise didn’t and it’s still technically going although it likely won’t have Doug Bradley’s Pinhead in it so I don’t care. What I do care for are PushingUpRoses videos and she reviewed the fifth instalment, Hellraiser V: Inferno, in all its hellish glory.

[…] But with most well liked horror films, a million cash grabs in the guise of a sequel were released, all varying degrees of bad. I landed myself on Hellraiser V: Inferno, because it had more of a noir, detective theme, and hey; that’s my jam, my YouTube expertise, if there was in fact such a thing. So I watched it. And it was bonkers.

More from PushingUpRoses: A supercut of Murder, She Wrote jokes by PushingUpRoses, Bob Ross vs. The Evil Dead in ‘Creepshow’, and Clarissa Explains It All, Explained

Did you know that Danny DeVito wrote a Penguin comic?

Danny DeVito’s portrayal of Penguin was, to echo the words of Alfred, ghastly and grotesque. But did you know that he wrote a Penguin comic for DC last year?

Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant #1 was a one-shot comic published on November 30, 2021 (although the cover date was January 2022) and featured the likes of Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, and the Mad Hatter. Here’s what DC Comics had to say:

Gotham City may be protected by the Dark Knight, but this major metropolitan destination is also plagued by some of the deadliest, most nefarious villains in the DC Universe! In this oversize anniversary giant, DC Comics proudly presents tales of Batman’s deadliest foes written and drawn by some of the biggest, most exciting names in comics! 2021 marks an anniversary year for the Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, the Mad Hatter, Killer Moth, and the original Red Hood, and Gotham City Villains Anniversary Giant #1 brings these baddies to life in some big ways! Also featuring the anniversary celebration of the Penguin, written by none other than the man who brought Oswald Cobblepot to life in Batman Returns, star of the silver screen Danny DeVito!

Hellraiser, but it's the VHS tape on top of a bus stop roof

Any time I’m on a double decker bus, I look out at bus stop roofs to see what weird things people throw up (or drop down) there. One thing I’ve never seen is a VHS tape and certainly not the same copy of Hellraiser reappearing after it’s removed but that’s what happened on top of a South East London bus stop for a number of years.

From BBC’s Rabbit Hole:

There was one thing we were particularly intrigued by – a weathered copy of the gruesome horror film Hellraiser on VHS, which had sat on top of a South East London bus stop for years. Every time the VHS was taken down, another one would spring up in its place. Sometimes two copies would lie there, staring menacingly out at you as you gazed through the foggy bus window.

The anonymous culprit spoke to the BBC about the reasons behind the action:

When did you start maintaining it?

I like to make visual art and often try to use the everyday environment outside. After awhile I came up with the idea of “21 on the 21”. The first video purposefully placed out there landed right next to that original and was done on the 21st December 2012. It was the night that was supposed to be the Mayan Apocalypse. I think that day was our first real big apocalyptic let down since Y2K. And with the idea of the bus stop being a raised platform, then the elements really erasing the hell off Pinhead’s visage slowly away from the bus riders, I felt the words and numbers were on my side. So I started the process. There’s been other Hellraisers along the route of the 21, one even on an N21. The idea is for twenty-one to be put out over time, hence the name “21 on the 21”.

This story resonated with me because I remember the first time I saw a trailer for Hellraiser. It was on another VHS tape where they used to do those video promos before the film starts. I remember the grotesque Pinhead, all the smoke, the hooks and chains, and the pulled skin and being so horrified but also morbidly curious (that has never left me; I am the Kombucha girl of horror). Then I gave into that curiosity in January last year and finally watched the first three movies. And here we are.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2: the highest grossing video game movie of all time (to date)

sonic the hedgehog 2

The hype was real and now Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the highest grossing video game movie of all time with worldwide box office sales of $323.5 million so far, surpassing its predecessor’s $319.7 million worldwide total. And it’s well deserved. I loved every minute of the film, I loved Knuckles’s introduction, Robotnik’s return, and the ending made me cry because I was hoping it’d happen and it did. I can’t wait to get it on Blu-ray and watch it all over again.

More about Sonic: The Sonic 2 trailer if you missed it, remembering SegaWorld London, and Knuckles’s foray into crypto.

Izu Ani on his love of food and cycling

Café du Cycliste travelled to Dubai and interviewed Nigerian-British chef Izu Ani. They spoke to him about his culinary career and his love of cycling:

Amongst all this Izu dedicates a real importance to the moments he spends on his bike. This is the very particular way he has of balancing his life. In Dubai you can ride at any time of the day or night, a way to avoid the heat, a way to start a day well.

‘Pedalling is traveling, I always need that. I ride four to five times a week and alone 90% of the time. It is my time to pause and meditate, I let myself go. I love these moments. I come face to face with myself, I refocus, it’s totally essential to my life. Most often I ride alone for one to two hours, the time needed to get out of the rush.’

More on Izu Ani: The Values of Chef Izu Ani, his culinary world adventures, and opening a new French-Mediterranean restaurant in Dubai

An interview with Sy Brand

Sy is one of my favourite people on the internet and I thought “why don’t I ask them some cool questions”? Here’s what they said:

What is favourite city in the world?

Apart from Edinburgh, where I live, either Venice or Berlin. I love water, so Venice is perfect for me. And Berlin has so many different sides to it and such incredible art and history.

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go? 

Probably my pin collection. I have around 20 of them on my jacket. A few Twin Peaks ones, a shot from Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, a machine from a Soviet Arcade Museum I went to in St Petersburg, some Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky ones. My favourite is the demon cat face from the film Hausu by Nobuhiko Obayashi, which is one of my favourite films and is just completely wild and unpredictable and beautiful.

Why do you do what you do?

I do my job (C++ Developer Advocate at Microsoft) mostly to earn money to do other things, although I do enjoy the freedom I have to help people, educate, help shape the industry and C++ community. I write poetry to try and capture feelings, images, work through my thoughts on gender, relationships, etc. These days I’ve been spending a lot of time on filmmaking. I want to help people see the beauty that’s in so many everyday things: tiny gestures, light reflecting off water, the sounds around us.

Where do you go to relax?

Into Apex Legends or experimental films. Apex is my perfect “brain doesn’t work, want to blow off steam” activity. I play with a friend of mine multiple times a week; I love the teamwork aspect of it, how I can use it as an excuse to hang out with people and just have some fun.

69, 280, or 420?

69. It’s just very round and nice.

How do you say goodbye in your culture(s)?

I’m Scottish, so you could hear “bye the nou”, or perhaps “fuck off”. In Scottish Gaelic you could say “mar sin leat” as a kind of “see you”.

Jens Müller on 5 of his favourite logos

Jens Müller explored the origins of more than 6,000 logos from the last 2 decades for his latest book, Logo Beginnings. He looked at 5 of his favourites and spoke to It’s Nice That about them. Here’s what he thought about Burberry’s logo from 1901:

The fashion brand of British textile merchant Thomas Burberry held a competition for a new trademark in 1901. Its anonymous winner was inspired by a 13th Century knight armour which was on display in London’s Wallace Collection at the time, and created a knight on horseback. Complemented by the Latin term ‘Prorsum’ (‘Forward’), which boiled down the company’s philosophy to one word. Until the radical and much-discussed redesign by Riccardo Tisci and Peter Saville in 2018, the figurative mark represented the internationally acclaimed brand.

And Bang & Olufsen in 1936:

This widely forgotten logo for the manufacturer of high-end audio products, initially founded by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen as a radio factory, was created in 1935. It is not only a beautiful geometric, typographic combination of the two letters B and O, but in a certain way marks the transition to state-of-the-art, modernist solutions in logo design. A development that finally took place from the 1940s onwards, and which can only be understood in the context of its fascinating prehistory as well as pioneering individual solutions like this one.

More on logos: LogoArchive.Africa’s archive of logos from the African continent and Pentagram’s lovely Fisher-Price logo

An interview with Keidra Chaney

I asked one of my best friends, Keidra, my patented interview questions.

What is favourite city in the world?

I know I should say my hometown, Chicago but that would be a lie. It’s a tossup between New Orleans and Tokyo.

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go? 

So I have to take a moleskine journal with me EVERYWHERE I go to take notes and lists, but that’s not unusual per se. I haven’t traveled in two years *sob* but when I do I take a small puppy k-pop plush doll with me. He’s seen a lot on my instagram.

Why do you do what you do?

I honestly believe in digital technology as a way to connect people, create community and get the resources they need to thrive. As much as I complain about and critique online culture and the tech industry I really do believe that the people behind the tools and technology can do amazing things with it for social justice and social change and I do what I do to support those people and the work that they do.

Where do you go to relax?

I go to the beach. Or I get lost in my own head through reading a book or listening to music I love.

69, 280, or 420? 

420, easily.

*munches on an edible*

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

Bye!! Or “peace!” But I don’t usually say that.

Remember SegaWorld London?

The Definitive History of Sega World London

If there was one place I wanted to go more than anything as a kid (besides Toys R Us), it was SegaWorld London. The indoor theme park was opened by Sega in the London Trocadero in September 1996 and was apparently the largest indoor theme park in the world. However, it was shut down 3 years later.

I never got to visit but after watching Badnik Mechanic’s definitive history video, maybe I wasn’t missing out.

Ah, who am I kidding? I was a child—I would have loved it! But the reasons why my parents didn’t take me were confirmed in the video: cost. There was also questions about its quality and some pretty bad reviews from critics (who absolutely weren’t the target demographic—white middle-aged British male journalists? It was destined for failure).

One thing it did have was the AS-1 which I wrote about for Cultrface’s sibling site, LOGiCFACE:

Michael Jackson in Scramble Training was a piece of software made for Sega’s AS-1 motion simulator. It came out in 1993, around the time he worked with them on Sonic 3 and sees the King of Pop instructing you how to pilot a spaceship.

And it had Sonic the Hedgehog because of course it did.

Canary Wharf, before the skyscrapers

Before it became the financial capital of the UK (and some might say the world but not me), Canary Wharf in London was docklands and derelict buildings post-Empire. But the Greater London Council (GLC) had a vision to transform the area into mini financial metropolis with skyscrapers and office blocks. MyLondon documented the changes from colonial times to the late 80s/early 90s when construction was underway.

More from London: A Jago Hazzard London train/tube triple bill, the ghostly signs of London, and Roy Mehta’s ‘Revival’ exploring Brent’s multiculturalism between 1989–93