The Third Annual Official Accordion Noir Guide to Accordion Presents on Etsy This Holiday Season
Rowan here, co-host of the Accordion Noir weekly radio program with Bruce, and annual guest contributor to this blog with the two–years-traditional series of accordion gift guides. I have to apologise. I botched it. This year’s installment of the feature article has been rattling around in the bellows since October, but more pressing duties have rudely budged in line and stolen priority focus. The computer on which I was composing a substantial draft of this article rudely up and died, taking its valuable user data with it, and by the time I was up and running again I found that several of the pièce de résistance gifts to-be-featured in this article had been rudely sold out from under me while I was reeling from the curve balls life had thrown me.
Now any gift recommendations I make for this Christmas need to be caveated with “and also a time machine” (V-accordions don’t do that yet, do they? Or is Ewe Steger still beta-testing that particular feature?) Now there’s a certain trenchant irony in my typical opening endorsement of the eye-pleasing and great-sounding “accordion babes” calendar. Alas! But you know, this really just spurs me on to promote a wider conception of “holiday season”. Haven’t you heard of the 12 Days of Christmas? And what about Chinese New Year’s! Orthodox Christmas isn’t happening until January! Maybe I’m not too late, after all. It’s not like these accordion gifts are terribly seasonal, just gift-giving is — accordions make excellent presents all year ’round! And of course, there are only 361 shopping days remaining until Christmas 2014, so maybe this can give you some early food for thought! I could further wheel and deal and explain why these gift guides focus on offerings from the Etsy online marketplace, but haven’t I really delayed enough? There are excellent rationales in the past two years’ gift guides. They haven’t changed.
Usually I start with cards for fans of Christmas card correspondence, but of course you can enjoy pen pals all through the year — and when your thoughts are inscribed on squeezy stationary they will appreciate them all the more! A handsome penguin is prepared to extend a harmonious accord summer or winter here, $5.43, or for around a dollar cheaper you can please your cat-loving friends with the twin subjects of this other card.
Then after your invaluable innermost thoughts have been imprinted on the cards’ interiors and safely sealed up in an envelope, you can personalize the envelope with a stamp. No, not a postal stamp, but a rubber-and-ink stamp to let everyone know that you’ve been squeezing out friendly thoughts! This dashing clip-art character will let everybody know that you’re a wild and crazy guy who really knows how to party ($3.26) or for just 50 cents more this little girl can express some similar squeezy whimsy with just a dip of ink.
But maybe you want to go out and express your thoughts in person — how better than while representing the accordion nation on your very body, through your clothing? (Surprisingly, in order to come up with the items on this list, I have to eliminate an enormous amount of fundamentally unrelated garments using the word “accordion” as shorthand for “pleated”, as well as of course a lot of homemade one-zig-zag-page notebooks.) If you know any accordion fan who wears T-shirts, they can share their love of the instrument (at least, when not obscured by having the actual instrument strapped on their chest, blocking view of the shirt design) with this cheerful musical house schematic ($13), hopefully not communicating the squeezing pressures of increasing urban population density, or a wholly different shirt celebrating the most successful song to ever emerge from the accordion-ful Eurovision song contest, Volare ($30, also available as a print).
If you know of any accordionist-to-be tots crawling around, you can help to steer them true with the Jamboree Owl onesie ($25), and any gutterpunk would be only too pleased to receive this stylish DIY accordion patch — which at $2 should even be within their panhandling budget!
But clothes only get you so far; sometimes you can do more with less, and express greater nuance with subtler means — which brings us to accessories! First they have to learn in real close to figure out what the little accent is on your garment, and then it is too late: you have them! And can play them the Beer Barrel Polka. Here we have a $3 “goldtone” pin presenting a golden-age accordionist (playing, no doubt, a golden oldie on his instrument). Pricier at $13 but with greater crafty and pixel-art appeal is a cross-stitch accordion pin, and also thinking more abstractly we have the only “pleated” return to survive my ruthless curation, a turquoise fabric necklace ($35).
… which is all good and fine for going out to the rally or the house concert, but what about for a formal evening out? Black tie, white gloves, cumberbunds… well, we do have a couple of jewelery offerings to recommend. If you wear a charm bracelet, there are two options — a $12 silver charm and a $5 charm with a bigger hole (and presumably less silver).
For more of an ensemble, there’s a stupendous brooch-and-earrings set for only $20, or for just two dollars more, we also found a striking pendant featuring a photo-transferred image of a brooding accordionista pondering with which tango to slay the audience.
OK, stand up, it’s time for a stretch during the intermission, during which you can enjoy the tragedy in two parts presented here as two $7 cross-stitch patterns — but I think it will suffice to cry at the tragical scenario depicted without having to invest dozens of hours into a painstaking execution of genius L. Riedler’s heartbreaking diptych.
… which brings us to the main attraction, a gallery of accordion-related art you can frame and display on the walls of your home. If you like linocuts, you’re in luck: do you want to go black ($23) or white ($16)?
Looking at the range of the emotional palette embodied in these artworks, we have a painting of the exuberant squeezer ($32), a literally polka-dotted print exhorting to squeeze the most out of life with great gusto ($19), and a more subdued celebration of the solitary — a lone wolf recruiting a set of bellows to assist with its howling at the moon ($22).
Finally, for the unique accordion gift recipient, we have accordion art from straight out of left field: do you prefer the lithograph of the bear dancing to the monkey’s concertina ($54), the, ahem, “zydeco-saurus” for the same price, or … well, it’s a big-ticket item for a very special dachshund fan: a $679 “wall sculpture” featuring an accordionist in roller-skates and his coterie of weiner dogs. It really must be seen (if not necessarily owned) in order to be believed.
We’re rounding the corner now: just a few exceptional items remaining in our exhaustive survey of the Etsy-iest gifts available for sale online. Do you love accordions but find them to be just a little bit too … hard? Well, here are two varieties of soft accordion — small ($7 or available as a pattern for a third of that) and — only on Etsy, folks — life-sized (at $673, the RealDoll of the textile accordion world.) The engineer of that latter piece claims “L’accordéon idéal puisque silencieux” — that the ideal accordion would be a silent one such as their pillowy creation, but maybe that money would be better spent going toward a V-accordion whose volume knob could be turned down but would still have the option of making noise if you wanted it. At least it is slightly cheaper than the wall sculpture, and probably more aesthetically appealing to boot!
If you can’t get behind the tiny soft accordion due to its failure to feature working moving bellows, do we have a $20 doll accordion! for you! Finally Barbie and G.I. Joe can be accessorized with the instrument they always secretly dreamed of when their plastic heads dream sleeplessly in the toy chest at night. (Ken! Is that a narcocorrido you’re playing? I wouldn’t have expected it!) And while on the toy front, it’s, well, a step down from a tanzbar mechanical self-playing accordion, but a lot cheaper — for $53, you can own a wind-up chemnizer-styled music-box! All of the music, but none of the performance! (And, er, none of the reeds.)
On to the random grab-bag before we end! If you eat food off of flatware, or know an accordionist who does, they might well appreciate this Dutch plate featuring an old lowlander sailor squeezing his instrument ($14.50). If you’re creatively bankrupt, there’s always this license plate frame ($13), and if you suffer from an equivalently woeful surplus of creativity (with an extraordinarily commensurate surplus in the bank) you might want to gift this unique piece of outsider folk art by the late John Pelligrino for a whopping $5109, which has got to be the most expensive piece we have ever featured (and likely ever will) in this seasonal series. For the person who has everything, if you will!
Whatever you give, you can always present it appropriately in this “one man bandit” tote bag. The raccoon is all dressed up and has nowhere to go, but you can take him everywhere, using it to transport books, groceries, or a concertina.
Well, that’s it for 2013! Hopefully I’ll catch you again with more gift recommendations a little earlier next December and… until then, squeeze on!