Friday, June 8, 2012

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Cthulhu Tiki Mug

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
~ Cole Porter

A casual look around the Whiskey Forge reveals that we are modest in our affection for neither liquor nor books. Even the barely interested can see that whiskey and cookbooks practically bow our shelves. The slightly more curious may note that there's an awful lot of rum as well...and swizzle sticks...and there, in the corner, a small case of tiki mugs. Downright nosy sumbitches will realize that someone, at some point, acquired an inordinate amount of materials by and about the American weird fiction writer, HP Lovecraft.

That would be me. 

Horror in Clay prototype
My days of actively prowling for Lovecraft books and ephemera are behind me. The hunt was far more enjoyable before the coming of the internet. Every book, pamphlet, or document I uncovered in a Pennsylvania barn or a Kansas City estate sale seemed like a little gem, like some real accomplishment. "I found this," I would think, "because I am very good at what I do and know the market better than these people." Now? Eh. Now when I want a title, I search online auction and antiquarian book sites in North America, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and — with a flurry of keystrokes — have the thing in my hands in no time at all. Effective? Sure. Fun? Not really.

But I do still leave room for serendipitous discoveries. And sometimes they come by way of that same internet that's sucked so much joy out of book hunting. 

Jonathan Chaffin's campaign on Kickstarter brought a smile to my face and made me realize that I can make some room on the shelf for at least one more tiki mug. Chaffin is pimping a prototype of a mug he calls The Horror in Clay. It's taken from a line in Lovecraft's 1928 story The Call of Cthulhu about the dreams of artists and madmen the world over whose febrile nightmares are stirred by Cthulhu, a giant tentacled and winged entity who slumbered fitfully in the sunken South Pacific city R'lyeh. At least, it slumbered at the beginning of the tale...

Chaffin is looking for various levels of contributions to his funding campaign to make a full run of several hundred mugs. Tiki folks will go for it. Lovecraft geeks will want in on the ground floor. The level I'm interested in starts at $40. For that, contributors get a finished 28-ounce mug. Mo' money, mo' mugs.

This leaves me with two questions: (1) When will they be cool enough to handle? and (2) What would Cthulhu drink?

Goes well with:
  • Jonathan Chaffin's Horror in Clay campaign is here
  • My review of Jay Strongman's book (with an intro by Tiki Farm's Holden Westland) Tiki Mugs: Cult Artifacts of Polynesian Pop  
  • We've covered Lovecraft here at the Forge before. There's both the candied Cthulhu-head citron I made last November as well as a short film based on HPL's 1926 story of horror in the Cool Air.
  • Lovecraft's not the only oddball writer whose stuff I snagged at every turn. Of a once-huge collection of Charles Bukowski materials, one of the few remaining items is a goof, a counterfeit, a sheet of fake stamps that would fit right in Thomas Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49.
  • My Culinary Library: What Good Does It Do? I've spent the better part of three decades collecting books on food and drink. Why? What good could possibly come of it? Here are some thoughts on the value of such a collection.
  • Finally, if you believe that's a Cole Porter quote, I've got a mug I want to sell you for $80.


Dagreb said...

What to put in the mug? How 'bout Rick's Cthulhu Punch?

Matthew Rowley said...

Yes; duh! You're absolutely correct! I'd forgotten completely about Rick's Cthulhu Punch — and it calls for Kummel. Don't see that often in mixed drinks. Naturally, I've got some just begging to see some action. Thanks so much for the reminder.

randall said...

Just guessing here, but I would imagine that Cthulhu probably drinks the blood of New England whalers and other sailors who happened to unluckily venture into his corner of the South Pacific. That and when it wants to get loose a health dose of its eponymous punch.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go back to my candle lit attic and pore over the more obscure verses of the Necronomicon.

Unknown said...

Jonathan "Atari" Chaffin here. Glad to meetcha!

THIS blog is going on my RSS feed.
Thank you for the generous words!

I'm frankly floored that so many people love this mug like I do. I didn't expect that; it's just amazing. (Seriously, I didn't..I thought I'd be doing well to sell 500 in 42 days).

Truly happy to appeal to someone who appreciates a full library and a full (rapidly becoming empty) bottle of rum as well!

(In my kickstarter video I'm standing in front of the Steven King bookshelf...I have 3 that size that are horror novels; mostly short story paperback collections...Brian Lumley is my favorite).

Rum wise I like Lemon Hart 80 or 151 (not that you asked) and El Dorado. Also; the mug actually has a signature drink! I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but it is listed on the back of the Hints and History card.

I also agree with you about the internet sucking a lot of the joy out of collectible hunting. I rejoice over finding event "common" mugs in the wild.

I can tell you this...keep your eyes peeled on the campaign, because there are more secrets to unlock.
Again, thanks for the kind words, and I'm starting on your archives now...

Oh, also is great free short horror audio fiction (did their logo for them )

See you on the internet!

Matthew Rowley said...

Atari ~

Cheers to you, mate for getting this off the ground. I had a similar idea years ago and toyed around with the idea of commissioning a mug with Tiki Farm, but Kickstarter didn't exist then and tiki mugs fell a little out of scope for the writing work.

Good calls on those rums; we've got both open and backup stock of several El Dorados and both the 80 and 151 Lemon Harts. Great stuff to have on hand.

I will keep my eye out on your progress and curious to see with the signature drink will be. Who knows? Perhaps I'll be drinking one by the time Tiki Oasis rolls around in August…

~ rowley

Matthew Rowley said...

Randall ~

May Abdul Alhazred smile upon your studies.

Trid said...

Naturally, the perfect cocktail to be served in that mug would be the "Miska-Tonic"


Matthew Rowley said...

Sigh. Trid.

You realize that I'm just big enough of a geek that now I will be compelled to make that, don't you?

Unknown said...

Let me know what you come up with for it.

Trid said...

From the creator of the "Miska-Tonic":

"It's a vodka tonic made with vodka infused with Douglas Fir needles until it's dark green. Optional garnish: candied baby hibiscus blossom (shoggoth). Though I would rinse the syrup off the blossom as it would clash with the flavor.
It tastes terrible. It's supposed to."

You're welcome :)

Anonymous said...

That sounds...fearsome. I was hoping for something perhaps less apropos but a little more...drinkable.

64 hours to go on the Horror In Clay Kickstarter...Matthew, do you want me to let you know when I get a handle on what we are going to do next? Thanks again for this writeup.
Jonathan "Atari" Chaffin

Trid said...

Perhaps a runner up: