Excentric Englishwomen

A neighbour put a box of books out with an invitation to take anything anyone wanted. Since my head is still soft, I fell for this gossipy thing, tabloid journalist Cecilia Hagen´s "De osannolika systrarna Mitford" (= the unlikely Mitford sisters). I can´t call this a serious biography, it´s more like a bound, lengthy magazine article.

Hagen is herself the character around which her story evolves: Hagen in pursuit of the Mitford sisters. There are pictures, mostly of closed doors to houses where one of them lived at some point. There is also one of Hagen going to have tea with the queen. She and a thousand other people. She makes comedy from the tribulations of having to wear a hat (something Swedish women never, ever have to do), and even managing to spill her tea on it!

Since this is not a learned biography with notes and such, Hagen instead tries to build some authority on stories about herself that proves that even if she is not upper class herself (she is related to the Bonnier family, though, who owns most of the publishing industry in Sweden, but even bona fide upper class Swedes never confess to being upper class, ever), she has hobnobbed with them from time to time. Her father was a diplomat and she herself spent some years in a boarding school. Writing about the upper classes has become Hagen´s niche, you might say.

She favours hacked off sentences. This can be a very efficient way to create Voice in a text, as a series of periods instead of commas creates... well, a louder rhythm. It´s like banging on a bigger drum with a harder stick. However, if you use this technique indiscriminately, it begins to look sloppy, and the Voice can become so loud that the story drowns in it. In Hagen´s case, I think she is aiming for comedy. She wants to create the illusion of sitting with the reader at a bar, with wine in their glasses, becoming rather tipsy and indiscreet and doing a lot of backhanded whispering. Sometimes she will write something and then half take it back, like "but I´m not saying that, just suggesting it - in between the lines". Which is nonsense, of course. Either you write it, or you don´t.

And what about the subject of the book, the Mitford sisters? There have been plenty written about them, and plenty will be written about them in the future. They wrote lots of letters, some of which have been published already. There were six of them, and one brother, who was killed in the war. Their father was the second Baron Redesdale, who married the daughter of Thomas Gibson Bowles, who founded Vanity Fair. Like all upper class English girls, they grew up in a very excentric household.

The oldest, Nancy, became a famous novelist. Her best known work is "In Pursuit of Love" and "Love in a Cold Climate". They have been adapted to television at least twice. I haven´t read them, but reading about her have made me so curious I got them for the Kindle. She never made anything up, everything she wrote was about the people she knew and what they did, apparently. I understand she was mean and witty, which is probably both good traits for a best-selling novelist.

The second, Pamela, was the kind, slow one, and she married a scientist, divorced him, and then lived the rest of her life with a woman (this last bit Hagen says nothing about - actually she says very little about Pamela - but according to Wikipedia she did).

The third sister, Diana, is perhaps the most famous one, as she married first into the Guinness family, then left her husband for Oswald Mosley, the British Fascist leader, who kept her on the side for years (along with a bunch of other mistresses) before he eventually married her. In Joseph Goebbels´ livingroom, with Hitler as a witness. Yes, really. She was the beautiful one, and to her dying day she always claimed that Hitler was a very nice fellow. She was the mother of Lord Moyne, who is known to all Swedes through the Trustor affair. The Mosleys were held in Holloway Prison during the war, and then settled in France.

The fourth, Unity Valkyrie (yes, that was her full name! and her parents claimed she had been conceived in the Canadian town Swastika, near where they had a mining-concession!), fell in love with Hitler of all people, and stalked him until he noticed her. When England declared war on Germany, she shot herself in Englisher Garten in Munich. She survived, but the bullet remained in her head and ten years later she died from complications. By all accounts, she was bad, mad and dangerous to know.

The fifth, Jessica, became an equally fanatical communist, moved to the US, where she made a great success of herself socially, and as a journalist. She and Diana never spoke to each other after the war on account of political differences. She married Robert Treuhaft, a lawyer who worked for a time for the Black Panthers, and he had a young Hillary Clinton as an intern.

The sixth, Deborah, is the one who fulfilled the hopes that the parents had for all the girls: she married a Duke. She is most known these days for the small industry she has created around her house, Chatsworth, which was the inspiration for Jane Austen´s Pemberley, and for being the grandmother of Stella Tennant, supermodel extraordinaire. She is still alive, at 92 years old.

I can´t say that I found it all that funny, though I imagine that´s what Hagen intended to do: write a funny, fun book. Reading about the Mitford sisters is a bit like reading about a high speed train accident. You can´t stop, can´t look away, but fun isn´t exactly what I´d call it. I have heard that Nancy Mitford´s books are very funny, though, and I´ll give them a chance. I think they might be the perfect holiday reading for this summer, as we have decided to go to Isle of Wight and Dover this year! (Hurrah!)


More on Kary H Lasch

Lasch, bowling with girls. Notice his pin.
Nausea has been my constant companion this last week. It has been impossible to focus on anything for longer than just a few minutes. People ask me if it´s the flu or just a common cold. Well, I think the flu kicked the door in, and then several common viruses came to squat. I think of them like that unhealthy looking bunch from "Trainspotting". There was one they called Sickboy, remember? I know him, he´s been on the premises. But never mind. I´m better now, if not entirely back to my old self.

To amuse myself, I have been leafing through Jan Lundgren´s "The Kary H Lasch Collection" from 1995. Lasch didn´t just keep a collection of photographs, he collected everything that he found amusing. Jokes, french cards (= old fashioned pornography), letters from hopeful girls (and their mothers), anything. The book is a misch masch of photos, stories, bits and pieces. A bit like a scrap book.

La Loren meets the press.
The first story is the best: In 1955, new film star Sophia Loren is coming to Stockholm for the Italian film week. The Swedish press photographers meet her at the Central Railway Station, and they all get photos like this:

A few days later, picture magazine Se publishes this, from inside Sophia Loren´s railway compartment:

How did he do it? Everyone wants to know. "I just got on the train in Copenhagen", says Lasch, giving a few humorous hints to the use of bribery and seduction.

Tony Wilson, of Factory Records fame, once said that if you have to choose between the truth and the legend - always choose the legend. Lasch probably would have agreed. He cultivated his own legend, that of being the guy who could talk himself into (or out of) any situation, any picture. Lasch may have liked people to believe that he came from nothing, that he got his very first picture on the cover of a magazine, but the truth is, he was a rich little Central-European boy, he got his first camera from his dad, who used to take him to art museums to show him the secrets of good portraiture. His first "girl picture" was of his mum, and he had a Swiss boarding school education. In 1955 he was well known in Cannes, and an ambitious girl like Sophia Loren would have already made her introductions. Lasch also spoke fluent Italian (and likely German, French, English and a few languages more), and had been to the Loren/Ponti house for dinner.

Picasso watching Lasch´s bullfighting pictures.
One time, he decided to go see Salvador Dali. He knocked twice, but the great artist was not at home. Or so he was told. Lasch then went to a book store, asked for the best biography of Dali, noted the author´s name, and the third time he knocked, said he had a greeting from the biographer. Dali welcomed him with open arms. Lasch may have told a lie or two, but he knew how to tell them, he knew how successful people behaved. As long as you were generous and of use, a little lie would be nothing to them. They had probably all got where they were the same way. He would snap unwelcome pictures of celebrities, get a bollocking, send all the photos to them the next day, and some of the time he would get commissioned. Picasso liked his pictures, as they made him look tall.

In his collection was a key. It belonged to the back door of the cathedral where Grace Kelly got married to Prince Rainier. Lasch stole it, so that he could sneak in during the night and get a good spot. Unfortunately, the gendarm found him out and posted guards by the door. He got pretty good pictures anyway, being an old aquaintance of the bride. 

One season there was a play on at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, "Waiting for Bardot", about two photographers wanting to be as successful as Kary H Lasch, wanting to discover a new Bardot. He was a bit pissed at not getting a free ticket to the show - he was always generous himself like that. When he had been abroad, he always brought home small, preferably indecent, gifts to the editors of the women´s magazines. One year, he brought them knit penis warmers, which were a great success. A few weeks later, one of them had knit one for him, but much larger. "The right size, and everything", he responded. Someone said of him that "when he is serious, he seems to have the wisdom of a 100- year-old, but when he is joking, you´d think he was eight."

Among his photos, you´ll find images of very young girls like Britt Ekland, Bibi Andersson, Gina Lollobridgida, Eartha Kitt, and Isabella Scorupco. You´ll also find pictures like the one above, of bull fights. Picasso liked them, he thought they were art, but Lasch said categorically that photography was not art. To him, it was a craft. A photographer didn´t create, he just snapped what was already there. Or so Lasch thought, anyway. He liked to take photos of children, he often borrowed his friends´ kids. He also liked to horse around in front of the camera, being a bit of a clown.

Fashion photography for H&M, when they were just Hennes.
Childplay, on the streets of Milan.
Having lunch with the soon-to-be princess of Monaco, getting kissed by a cheeky waiter.
Probably my favourite: window cleaners at Solvalla trotting track.

I´d like to finish with a Kary Lasch-style limerick, from his vast collection:
There was a young girl from Australia
who painted her ass like a dahlia
the colours were bright
and the effect was alright
but the smell was an awful failure. 


Cartoons from the 70´s

I was hopping through the internet and came across the words "Czech wizard" and that immediately made me think of Professor Balthazar. Not that he was Czech at all, he was Croatian, apparently. Anyway, we had a very jolly half-hour on youtube, recalling our favourite childhood professor.

Balthazar was the archetypal scientist, engineer, and wizard. Like a cyberpunk Santa. He was infinitely kind, and he represented all the good things science should be to people. And as children, we all thought it a good joke that for all the thinking that he did, he solved all the problems the same way: one pull at the lever of his magic machine, then a drop of potion from a tap into a test tube, and simlalabim! a magic invention to solve the problem! This is a really cute episode. I love the way Balthazar looks as a boy. Beard and a sailor´s suit! It´s just brilliant.

Another favourite was "Linus på linjen" (= Linus on the line) as he was known in Sweden, an Italian series of short animated films, "La Linea". Linus was a tempramental little man, speaking gibberish Italian, totally in the hands of his creator, who kept playing tricks on him. This was not the warm, tender humour of Professor Balthazar, this was a lot more naughty. Linus was happiest just walking along the line, but he kept being tempted and challenged by all kinds of gifts, that always blew up in his face. I remember laughing so hard that I nearly wet myself once or twice, when I was around ten. This is a typical Linus-episode. And this one. In this one, he is given an uncharacteristicly soft landing. This is an odd, late one, with Linus playing Mozart.

As an adult, I think I prefer the more gentle humour of Balthazar, and I love his hippie-ish, equal parts avuncular and boyish personality. When I watch the episodes of Linus, I am reminded of one aspect of it that always made me a bit uneasy, even as a child - he is always killed off in the end, falling into some void or other. Linus has no life outside the line, outside his creator´s attentionspan, which is short. However, one can be safely assured that Professor Balthazar is sitting alone in his livingroom with a book, ready to spring to action whenever he is needed to save the world. Or having a party with his friends.


A Reflection on What Style Is

Yes, I know we spent all December and all January being sick, one, the other, or both of us. This didn´t stop the husband from coming home from Football Refereeing Meet with a poisonous influenza. And finally, it got me as well, even though I moved into the spare room, used masses of soap and disinfectant and what not. I´m not quite as ill as he was, though, which is a small comfort.

I was supposed to read Hjalmar Söderberg, to prepare for a touring lecture on Tuesday, by Christer Henriksson (Swedish actor, most known internationally for being one version of Kurt Wallander in Ystad, and an authority on Söderberg), after which I thought I´d write a very learned paper blogpost on Söderberg. Instead, I find myself reading fashion essays by Lars Fr H Svendsen, watching fashion documentaries that I have stacked on our Sony DVD recorder harddrive, and catching up with what´s been going on at New York Fashion Week, mostly via the Sartorialist and his lady, the inimitable Garance Doré

(I am slightly distracted by my husband´s choice of "light reading", which is watching episode after episode of some documentary series about customs control in Dover, narrated by British actor Samuel West, who has the most AMAZING voice ever. I once - on a solitary ramble - attended a concert in Birmingham, at their equally amazing symphony hall. It was Igor Stravinsky´s Biblical Works, part of "Igor-fest", a project where they performed all of Stravinsky´s work during a four-year period. Sadly, since the Biblical Works are rarely performed, the hall was largely empty. It was one of my great musical experiences, and hearing West´s voice always takes me back to that.)

Anyway, yesterday morning I was reading Svendsen´s essay (which is available in English) on Fashion & the Body, and was presented with some thoughts that were new to me. What he is saying is that in late modernity, the creation of an identity of one´s own, is largely a project concerning the body. The body is becoming more central to our understanding of who we are. Some practices, like diet and asceticism, that used to have a spiritual purpose, is now primarily used to shape the body. It´s all about achieving a certain aesthetic ideal. The body has changed places with the consciousness - being a tabula rasa, an empty board, on which anything can be inscribed.

He also points out that the naked body has been depicted through history as if it was clothed. Fashion is actually shaping our idea of what our bodies look like - or are supposed to look like. Of course, the ideal is never entirely founded in reality, and so is out of reach for everybody. Perhaps this is obvious, but you know, I had never made the connection just like that before.

Hours later, I was watching an Italian documentary about Maddalena Sisto, who was a fashion journalist and illustrator (died only 49 years old in 2000). Her drawings, which are what she is most known for, are very fairytale like, very sublime. I think they depict fashion from a bit of a distance, with quite a substantial sense of humour. What got me leaning forward in my chair was when they started talking about how she preferred designers who described the female body in a very constructed, almost armoured way. There it was again: this idea that fashion is a narrative of the body.

Someone also said in this documentary, that from the 90´s, fashion wasn´t changing so much any more, but the body was. What Svendsen is saying is that fashion is now changing at such speed that it has cancelled itself out as a dictator of how to look. All fashions exist at once, there is no one dominating silhouette. And in the film, someone else is saying of Sisto´s figures that they are "a little bit Pinochio, a little bit Gregor Samsa, fighting to keep up with the times, to be attractive, to be rich, to be thin." I can identify with that. Particularly the Gregor Samsa-bit.

Also, I think the street style thing is a logical expression of this. Everyone is his or her own stylist today. Being fashionable is about being creative, more than about having access to the latest thing. It´s not necessarily about being unique, though. If designers are storytellers and interpreters of the times, they are who we go to for a certain kind of story of who we are or can aspire to be. And that is the story we will attempt to clothe ourselves in. That way, the street becomes more interesting than the catwalks. Or at least just as interesting.

And this was the best: a free desktop-theme with Sisto drawings. I immediately got it for myself and the pictures are all from that. My laptop is now smiling as I open it. I really love her drawings. And I don´t think I will ever fall out of love with fashion. It is, after all, an artform that most of us have to dabble in, consciously or not. And in communication with the expression of the body is the personality, one´s preferences, beliefs, perhaps one´s soul (if you believe in it). An outfit is like a short story of who you are and where you are going - or it can be.

I always thought that people who know who they are, what they believe in, and try to live accordingly, can´t help being stylish. Living deliberately will show through in every choice a person makes. And that, to me, is what style is, and that is what I aspire to. (And, to show you what I mean, I present one of the most stylish people I know of. Phil Harding is just... so like I want to be when I grow up.)


SUI - sewing under the influence

Last Saturday, I was a grass widow, as Superhusband had put on his Football Referee suit and flown south. Not that I was entirely alone, I had Vodkalainen, cordial lime, and Mr Kindle, who I found on a shelf with a layer of dust on him. Truth is, I haven´t been able to read a single one of my Kindle-books since Christmas. Circumstance has invited me to do some other reading. It occured to me that I should have some sort of cover for the Kindle, to keep it from the dust and such. Like the one I made for my Iriver Story. Yes, I know there are these handsome leather covers, but I am not crazy about them. This is more along the line of something I would do, but I don´t need a pattern to create with hook and yarn. And this time, I wanted something faster.

I decided to go without a plan. This probably would have been hard without the vodka, as I´m usually a very organized, very mapped out kind of person. But who would I be if I didn´t sometimes present myself with a creative challenge? I have a large enough stash of pretty much everything, and Thrift is my middle name.

First, I fished out an old, empty plastic folder from years and years. It was marked "political socialisation", which seems to be a university course I once took and have now completely forgotten about. It´s all probably swimming around in my subconscious frame of reference. I simply placed Mr Kindle on top of it and cut around him. Which gave me something solid to build on.

Next, I found in my stash of fabrics a pair of trousers from a wrecked project. It had the exact right shape for what I needed and it seemed like a shortcut from having to do a lot of sewing. I measured, by eye, a bit of leg the length of 1½ of the plastic cover, and then some for seam allowance.

By now, I was firmly under the influence of cordial Vodkalainen, and decided to staple the thing together. Quick and dirty - indeed! I totally like the shape I had come up with, it was like a sturdy, padded envelope with two pockets, created from folding the hemmed end of the trouser leg towards the inside middle of the cover.

However, it wasn´t pretty. What to do? In another stash I found a tie. (Not the husband´s, I assure you I wouldn´t touch any of his - this one I thrifted to make a belt from, but then I found a better one and this one ended up in the stash.) I cut the tie up for an appliqué design that covered up the staples and that wrapped around the envelope shaped cover. And then I just stiched it in place.

(If you like to do improvised sewing, consider having threads of different weights at home. Some materials call for delicate thread, others for something coarser. And tip of the day: if you need to mend your sneakers or your backpack, use dental floss.)

The end of the trouserleg that was a bit wider (only about a centimeter on each side), invited me to add an elastic there, which held my envelope together from the sides. And then, what to use to fasten the tie end? A snap would have worked, if I had thought of it before I started sewing, which of course I didn´t. But, in my buttons&buckles&cetera-stash, I had a bunch of suspender clips. Well, waste not, want not. It seemed like the perfect thing for this dapper cover. No doubt, Kindle feeling so much like a Mister to me is what led me through this entire process.

By now, the vodka had worn off, and so had the staples, so I added stitches to the sides, to make it all proper and neat and safe.

The whole process took about two hours. And I´m pretty happy with the result. Ok, it might not be something I come bragging about to mum-in-law (the professional seamstress), but it is very functional, and thoroughly original. It cost me nothing. It makes me happy and keeps the dust off Mr Kindle.


Stuff of Lives Past

One of my favourite places to go is the Red Cross Charity store. The Red Cross charity is favoured by a lot of posh upper middle class ladies, and if you go often, you can find some pretty astounding things for hardly any money at all. However, my wardrobe is more than full, and I´m trying to wean myself off this habit. It´s hard, one gets addicted to making extraordinary finds and good deals. Also, it´s just next door to our local supermarket.

Last week, I really needed to complement my wardrobe, though. I have bought myself two pairs of fleece-lined leggings, that I love (the comfort!), but all my shirts and tops are short, and while even my 69-year-old sister-in-law wears leggings with short tops (and does it well, I should add), I feel like my bum is offensively bare without some more substantial cover (perhaps because I have more of it, haha - bum, I mean). While I was there, I thought I´d share a peak at what´s being recycled in Luleå these days.

It´s a really huge store, with three rooms of this size. They have it all: furniture, clothes, knick-knacks.

For a while, I couldn´t go in there and not come away with a new coat. I have had to stop - I just close my left eye and go past the racks.

Remember the huge ash trays that used to be overflowing at any good party? This is one of maybe ten, all the size of dinner plates.

The left one is for birth control pills (!), the right one for aspirin.

I have one similar in my bookshelf, actually, a childhood gift from Poland from one of our nannies.

These were incredibly popular in the 80´s. For reasons unknown.

A shoe brush from Holland.

A Valentine´s gift? Whatever, it´s horrid. What is it even? A drinking glass? A candle holder?

I find these very attractive. But small.

There must have been several dozens of these floral granny coffee sets.

I have been trying to get rid or ours for years. (It was gifted to my husband, who keeps putting it back in the cupboard...) Clearly, it´s not even recyclable.

"To Mummy, on her 70th birthday"

And now, discarded.

I had one just like this, but black.

And this was my first album. Mine was a cassette, though.

This amused me: the prophecies of Nostradamus have been placed in the humour section.

And, the ultimate gift: a glass viking.


Stories from the Golden Years

I am reading this book by photo critic Kurt Bergengren, "Tänka med ögonen" (= Thinking with your Eyes), a collection of articles and columns published between 1950 and 1984. His text are wonderfully entertaining as well as informative, you can really tell that he enjoyed the art, knew the photographers, and had a real gift for telling stories. Not long before he passed away, in 1985, he said this*: "I have had one innermost wish - to write about difficult matters as if I was standing by a gate on a country road, just talking to someone I happened to meet."

Let me give you the story of Kalle Ransell, photographer at Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish Daily):
"In 1913, Dagbladet arranged its first relay race. In one of the teams, the victorious one, was a certain Kalle Ransell. He was interested in amateur photography and after the race he took a few photos of his mates. He asked one of the newspaper´s staffmembers, the draughtsman Eneroth, if he could get his film developed at the newspaper´s lab. So he could. The next day he saw his pictures published in the paper. Flattered, he asked how much he owed. 
"Owe?" said Eneroth. "Write us a bill for 60 crowns."
The same day Kalle Ransell joined the staff at the newspaper, as a photographer. His first assignment was to take photos of some older gentlemen, dining at the Hasselbacken restaurant. They were not any old men, but the remaining few from the court of old King Karl XV. They absolutely refused to be part of some plebeian newpaper photograph and resolutely closed the door in front of Kalle´s face. He put up his tripod outside the closed door, prepared his camera, and - kicked the door open. The courtiers of Karl XV just stared at the intrepid young man. While they were still too astonished to react, the camera got the work done. This was a meeting of two worlds, and the courtiers, who didn´t have much time left, were surely pleased not to have to live through the new golden age, with it´s American go-ahead spirit. The photo was not published, as far as I know. But Kalle had proved himself. 
Photo by Wilhelm Lamm, from the sidelines, moments before the Mucky incident.
Velvety-eyed dachshund, unrelated to Mucky.
One part of the Kalle Ransell method was the dachshund Mucky. When Poincaré in July 1914 came ashore on the Logården stairs, the photographers had, per usual, been assigned to stand in the crowd along the red carpet, and policemen with sabres and helmets made sure the representatives of the press kept their distance. But when the King and the President started walking up the carpet, their route was suddenly blocked by Kalle and Mucky. The dog looked up at all the astonished faces with his innocent velvety-brown eyes, and that´s all Kalle needed to get the picture he wanted. 
His reckless charm, cheek, energy and straigh-forwardness set the fashion in photo journalism during the war years and the interwar period. It happened that young journalists were given the advice: just tag along with Ransell, and you´ll be all right."

* And the translation is all my own, as usual. Quick and dirty.



Remember my Iriver Story ebook-reader? The one glued together by Irish Cream? Well, the guarantee wasn´t going to cover that, so we just decided to open it and see if we couldn´t just clean it out. What that means is, my husband - who has 20 years of experience as a sound technician at the Swedish Radio, before he went into academia - did the work, while I cheered and and assisted where I could.

It was a bit disconcerting to see the insides of the reader exposed like this. At the same time, it´s fascinating and kind of beautiful the way the circuit card and all the components is laid out. It´s just amazing to me that these itsy bitsy things can do such complex tasks and be so useful. Powerful, and yet so fragile.

The inspection focused on the keyboard, as that was the bit that wasn´t working for me. It seemed easy enough to just rinse it out, and we did. I then attacked the reader with my hairdryer and we let it lie for two days, just to be on the safe side, and then assembled it.

Turned out, there was even more Irish Cream in places we hadn´t looked, like all around the screen (which is made of what? glass?), and I´m pretty sure that contributed to this:

Oh well. I started looking at a replacement reader, at 1500 SEK (or 235 USD, or 175 euros). At the same time, my husband was looking for a replacement screen, and found one in Hong Kong, via Alibaba.com, for only 345 SEK (54 USD, or 40 euros), which was a bit cheaper, but would it work? Was it worth the risk? "Well", my husband said, "there is also the challenge." Which settled it.

Nine days later, the new screen arrived from Hong Kong. And on Saturday lunchtime, using the brief hours of daylight, the husband assembled it. I woke up (still sleeping at this time, I work nights, you know, not just lazy...) at the sound of the plastic cover snapping into place. When I had made my first cup of coffee, all the screws and little bits of cover plastic were in place, and the thing now works wonderfully.

It actually works better and faster now than before, since the screen is of a new and improved make!

Ok, so the plastic cover doesn´t look virgin any more (hard to open with only the help of screwdrivers, decidedly designed for other purposes), but really, that only makes me like it more. We´ve been through things now, Iriver Story and I, and survived. Scarred, but stronger. And every time I see those scratches, they remind me that I have Superhusband by my side, who keeps our household machinery going for years and years. (Have I ever mentioned that our washing machine is 22 years old, and never worked better?)

Lesson 1: Only drink water on airplanes. It´s better for your health, too.
Lesson 2: It is possible to fix things, even in this day and age. All is not lost when a screen goes blank.
Lesson 3: The market place is huge these days - you can really get anything. (And delivered fast. From anywhere. By FedEx and their friends.) I can just imagine trying to find that screen just ten or 15 years ago. Not that there even was a screen to be found...