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The Fourth Official Accordion Noir Guide to Accordion Presents on Etsy This Holiday Season

December 2, 2019

Hello again, it’s me, Bruce’s absentee co-host on the Accordion Noir radio program, Rowan! Much as was the case with the accordion industry in North America, to everything there is a season: from 2011 on, for three winters running I guest-published here a very specialized exclusive and niche gift guide of amazing accordionalia for sale on Etsy. It was a fun excuse to immerse myself into crafter / vintage resale culture and see just how my favorite underdog instrument was being celebrated by outsiders.

However, when this time of year rolled around in 2014, I found myself overcome by the mounting duties of parenthood and full-time employment (regrettably outside of my pro bono squeezebox culture gig), leaving me in the awkward situation of having done all the hard work — conducting the research, flipping through hundreds of pages and curating down from dozens of sales listings — only to peter out in the final heat, having everything I needed to make the gift guide but running out of the air needed in my bellows to actually write it up and post it.

Now I have even more children and haven’t even been able to throw together a nominal research sweep for a modern squeezy gift guide — however, I do still have my old notes.  So I’m going to share them with you at last!  I’ve had to throw out details about a number of amazing pieces which are, oddly, no longer available for sale five years down the line, but the GOOD news is: many of them, strangely enough, have not exhausted their supply — and are still available for purchase!  (For that matter, there are still goods from previous lists’ years remaining available for sale.  If your tastes are sufficiently niche, it turns out, you don’t necessarily have to be punctual to have them indulged!)  

rene-angel

Not that it’s on Etsy, but I usually lead with a plug for Renee de la Prade‘s Accordion Babes calendar / album,  one of the few perennial items on this list that you can put to work in your home as immediately as January 1st.  The Accordion Crones withered on the vine, and we still have to work out some kinks in our planning of the “Accordion Beefcake calendar” (strangely, the cameras keep breaking), but the Accordion Babes deliver, year after year!  (We actually played a pivotal role in the participation of this year’s cover girl, Portugal’s Joana Reis!)

Technically, it’s still Cyber Monday, and the holiday shopping season is still afoot.  So now… on with the list!

We usually like to start with an array of squeezy Christmas cards, as you need to get them started first, and may be sending them to more remote acquaintances even if you  don’t have any accordion buffs in your immediate family.

illustration note cart

chemnitzer illustration card

 

Here are two handsome cards, admittedly not especially Christmassy, with their origins in a funny crafty misunderstanding:
So, Lisa asks me to make an accordion card set. “Accordion, as in accordion fold?” I asked. “No, accordion, as in musical instrument,” she replied. “Okay,” I said. They come in accordion AND the rare Chemnitzer concertina varieties! 

And to customize your accordion correspondence, here’s the perfect accessory: a stamp of granny rocking out on her squeezebox!  Really though, you can use it on virtually all your postal packages and official documents.  What is not improved by the addition of this sublime senior squeezing out her sweet tunes?  Don’t answer that question.

 

Now, some people put their Christmas cards up during the holiday season, but suppose you wanted something a little squeezy to brighten up your (gift recipient’s, ahem) home year-round?  There are some handsome art prints and perplexing photographs you can use to upgrade the walls from instrument dungeon to music museum!  

 

If you appreciate abstraction, World of Pollux has a wide range of variations on a squeezy theme for your enjoyment.  I’m sure they have only come up with more in the meantime, plus plenty of other takes on other instruments if you happen to have musicians on your guest list who made the unfortunate mistake of having learned the wrong darned instrument.

If instead of abstraction, you prefer every little detail spelled out for you, here’s a pinnacle of erotic Etsy accordion art to hang in your boudoir or practice room, a pair of nude female swamp musicians emerging from the dank mists to inspire you in turn to also cast aside your garments and painfully pinch your tender fleshy bits in the folds of the bellows.
 

Due to my own snobby curatorial tastes, I don’t usually include photos in these gift guides, because they tend to run along very literal lines: hey, here’s someone playing accordion!  Might as well give a mirror instead and install it in your practice nook.  But this print of a positively historical photograph, dating back to the 1860s (!), probably tops whatever rehearsals you’ve got going on for exuberant strangeness.  This represents a zenith of the Odd Squeezebox zeitgeist I like to think we would all do well to do our best to recapture.


calavera

 

And then there is this print, which yells out: forget Christmas, I’ve been celebrating Dia de los Muertos for a month and half and show no signs of slowing!  I don’t know if these musical calaveras are even remotely culturally authentic, but the items on this list only really have one criterion they are required to fulfill and authenticity is not it.  

 

Decorating your domicile is one thing, but another popular category for accordion merchandise is for decorating your own body!  Sadly, for reasons I may never understand, Etsy is not permitted to sell tattoos directly, so instead we must limit ourselves to garments here.

This is a national spin on an eternal theme!  (If you need the joke explained, the idea is that individuals from accordion-celebrating cultures may be moved, upon hearing a favourite trademark buttonbox flourish, to go through the motions of reproducing the riff on an invisible accordion in their chest region.  For lack of actual accordion there, this shirt provides a suitable template for “air accordion” playing.)  Bruce will no doubt direct us to the originator; there are a few varieties out there however, and I like the flavour introduced by the flag pattern overlaid on the right hand buttons.  (The left hand buttons, of course, are basically completely irrelevant in this context, and it may be a sign of that old shibboleth again, authenticity, that many similar shirts omit those bass buttons entirely.)
accordion wolf t-shirt
Here’s another t-shirt design, before we get a little more formal and heavy-duty.  Animals on accordions is another evergreen theme, but of all the squeezing beasts, the wolf may be among those species most likely to vocally accompany their own frenetic bellowing.
OK, from a t-shirt to a hoodie is not a great step up in formality, but everything in degrees here.  We’ve covered the fauna, now here’s the flora stepping in with a rhythm all its own that can’t be ignored.  The wolves and their fleas, the birds and the bees, you can hear it on the breeze: even the trees squeeze.


I know, it’s tough to figure out what to wear!  The party invitation says formal casual… a t-shirt won’t do, yet leiderhosen would be going too far.  Here, it’s a nice button-down dress shirt with an accordion emblazoned on it.  Wear it to all your important functions — weddings, funerals, job interviews… it is always appropriate! 
art's accordion band shirt

 

Here’s a variation on that theme, a shirt left over from a former bandmember or fan (before he sold out by going electric) of Art’s Accordion Band … and if you happen to have any Arts on your holiday gift list, this is already solving problems you never even knew you had!)

And while we’re talking “adorning your person with accordionalia”, here are some of the accessories that can squeezify your ensemble even when it doesn’t feature a giant bellows on your chest.  Cufflinks, anyone?

bobby pins


And for a less formal accent, here are some accordionic bobby pins you can wear in your hair without giving up your dogged devotion to the free reed nation!

 

Finally, there’s the random grab bag of accordionalia.  Stocking stuffers, if you will!

 

While this festive doll is admittedly not as specifically awesome as the rainbow bandoneon playing Astor Piazzolla doll that featured in an earlier draft of this post several years back, since sold to a deserving and happy customer, it is however still fun.  Apparently these dolls and their costumes represent a style of Portuguese folk art.  

And here’s an inspired mug design for the ages (real mug includes a complete handle, I borked the cropping) in a world where an incredible quantity of stock, cookie-cutter hobby-celebrating algorithm-generated disposable consumer goods choke online storefronts everywhere.  Of course, not all polka is accordion, not all accordion is polka, etc., but it’s still a fun custom design.

I have to apologise a little for offering such slim pickings after making you all wait so very long.  I mean, there aren’t many other places you’ll find 16+ curated options for your accordion-related holiday shopping needs, but I understand that in past years our little window shopping expedition was considerably more comprehensive.  With that in mind, if any other worthwhile, hilarious or awesome squeezy retail options cross my path this holiday season, I’ll happily update the list to include bonus content.  I’m sure it’s out there, I simply genuinely haven’t had the time to go curate it.  (I believe just a couple days ago I saw an accordion cutting board!  No, please don’t cut your accordions, those bellows are delicate!)

But one man who has put the time into curation gets an honorary mention at the culmination of this piece!  Actually, the entire reason I cooked up the article was as an excuse to throw a link to “Accordion” Bruce Triggs’ fabulous new Etsy store out at you all!  (Gosh, I hope that you read all the way to the end!)  There you can find, order and buy genuine Accordion Noir and Accordion Revolution goods in a formalized way that we only previously threw in on an ad hoc basis as bonuses to donors to our radio station’s member drives.  (You are also, of course, welcomed to continue donating to our radio station CFRO in our name in order to ensure that our weekly all-accordion Accordion Noir radio program stays on the air 8)  There you can buy our renowned stickers, our celebrated accordion anti-fascist buttons, the swell pins inspired by the cover art design to Bruce’s accordion history book… and indeed the book itself!  Given the nature of Etsy, I have suggested to Bruce that if he has any other accordion paraphernalia kicking around (the understatement of the young century) he might do well to list extras or duplicates up there.  Maybe you’d like a heavily annotated copy of Accordion Crimes feverishly thumbed through by “The” Accordion Bruce himself?

(But my posting motives were not entirely altruistic.  You see, ever since our last gift guide, I’ve had a running wager with Bruce: that if I failed to get a new gift guide post up, I’d treat him to a holiday screening of that year’s Star Wars movie.  And since then, indeed I have lived up to my word and taken him to The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, and Solo… dramatically altering my trajectory and forcing him to buy his own darned ticket for The Rise of Skywalker is the only way I can save myself from suffering a humiliating shut-out.  Happily, it also yields you a return to form of this delightful blog series!  And now you know the rest of the story!)

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