Posted 9 months ago
The other day I went over to the Salvo’s and had a rummage through the junk box. The stuff there always smells like talcum powder for some unknown reason. I saw this clock and remembered where I had last seen one like it: the ‘Mambo Friendship Store’ at 17 Oxford Street – Paddington. The visual memory had kicked in yet again.
There were two batteries inside and were not easily extracted. I fiddled with them for a while but to no avail. The previous owner had found it difficult too and just left them inside the soft shell of the clock. The lady at the counter got them out for me and I passed over the necessary four dollars to purchase the clock. But did it work?
I went home and put in a double AA and off it went!
The punt had paid off. I had a Mambo clock and I was stoked!
I get the impression that they made ten different designs. All of this is new science. I don't have the box it came in and today I have seen one on ebay with box and was able to work out a few details.
The designer might be Reg Mombassa aka Chris O'Doherty.
But there were a series of designers who have worked for this concern called Mambo: David McKay, Gerry Wedd, Maria Kozic, Jeff Raglus, Jim Mitchell, Paul McNeil, Seenu, Rockin Jelly Bean and Marcelle Lunam.
Mambo is a household word here in Australia. It is part of the counter-culture and a by-product of surf culture in Australia. Some of my favorite things are Mambo shirts or “Loud Shirts” – Australian designs based on the traditional Hawaiian 'Aloha' shirt. In 1994, the first Mambo ‘Loud Shirt’ was released: it was called ‘Blue Hawaii’ by Martin Plaza (a Mental As Anything band mate of Reg Mombassa/Chris O’Doherty). I have a small collection of pieces by Reg.
The Powerhouse Museum says about Mambo:
"Established in 1984 by Dare Jennings and Andrew Rich, the Mambo label began as a backyard business screenprinting T-shirts for a small niche market in surfwear. The mix of surf culture, art and music influences resonated with Australian youth who loved the notoriety and controversy the designs characteristic of Mambo aroused in conservative middleclass Australia. The designs were vibrant, humorous, irreverent and of questionable taste but had broad appeal with youth both in Australia and overseas. The disintegration of accepted motifs and conventions, the portrayal of anti-realist and anti-rational popular iconography combined with imagery typifying Australian suburbia dominate Mambo designs.
The posters reveal that beneath the humour and amusing parodies, lies incisive insight, sympathy and expression of serious social concern. In parodying society's sacred cows, artwork created for Mambo in visual and linguistic form, challenges existing social mores while simultaneously providing a public forum for talented graphic artists to exhibit their work."
So here we have an item from the "Soft Clock" range - it's a 'touchy feely' very similar to a child's toy that you squeeze and will emit a noise. In this case a parody of an 'alarm clock'.
It is called "Helmet".
On the face of the clock is the motto: "Thinking with our clocks". Similar mottoes are common on Mambo merchandise.
It has the 100% Mambo "guarantee" proudly displayed on its foot.
According to the box it was available in blue and in red.
Above the helmet is a wonderfully rendered de-constructed piranha!