Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Franck: story behind a vintage advert

I was having my coffee in 1920s Berlin's Cafe Elektric this morning, when one of the posters on the wall caught my attention. It was an advert for the Franck products.

It was a strange case of SL/RL overlap, as at that very moment I was having Franck coffee in first life!

You will notice that the logo has been modernised, but it's the same brand, after all these decades. Even the red, blue and white coffee substitute packaging seen in the poster was on the market until recently. Back when I was a kid it looked exactly the same, now it's changed a bit.

Franck is a major food brand in my native country of Croatia, and I was surprised to see its poster in 1920s Berlin. For a long time, I thought Franck was our local business, not known much outside the countries of the former Yugoslavia. But, as it turns out, Franck was a household name across much of Central Europe until World War 2.

Franck was founded in 1828 in Germany as Heinrich Franck Söhne G.m.b.H. Their specialty were coffee substitute products, based primarily on chicory. It was Johann Franck who started branching out to other countries towards the end of the 19th century, creating a hugely successful multinational company. The Zagreb, Croatia, factory was one of several in central Europe. It opened in 1892 and the company HQ remains in the same street to this day, although a lot of their products are made elsewhere (their instant coffee now comes from Poland, for example).

Franck headquarters in Vodovodna Street, Zagreb
In 1950, the company was nationalized by the Communist Party, or "handed over to the people" as they used to say. For the company it was an era of innovation: they started producing many other products, such as instant soups, teas, puddings, potato crisps, and different brands of coffee substitutes they are known for until today.

For decades, Bianka, Divka and the more traditional Kneipp were a must in a Yugoslav home, especially at the time when it was difficult to get real coffee - a pure luxury - in the post-war years. Many continued to enjoy those after coffee became readily available: I remember waking up to the scent of freshly brewed Franck chicory "coffee" prepared by my great-grandma in the '80s. I still love my chicory (which, in a funny turn of events, is now more expensive than Franck's regular coffee...).

I managed to find a picture of a tin box of Kneipp from before the nationalization, produced by Hinka Francka Sinovi d.d., Zagreb (Hinko Franck's Sons, Zagreb). It must be from the mid-1940s, as it carried the name Kathreiner, one of the last remaining symbolical links with the greater Franck company based in Germany. That one merged with Kathreiner's Malzfabrik and became Franck & Kathreiner in 1943.

Sadly, they don't make such these day. Now the Croatian version of Kneipp comes only in the standard paper packaging. Still, they've kept some elements of the original design.

And here's an assortment of post-war products from the former Czech branch. Now known as Kavoviny, this company based in Pardubice has its origins in the factory opened by the Francks there back in 1896.

After the nationalization, the Croatian branch of Franck became a completely separate entity. Quite unusual for the Communists, they kept the Franck name - normally at such takeovers, they would completely rebrand the business, often giving it the name of a fallen Communist war hero. Mercifully, Franck is still Franck.

In Germany, after the 1943 merger, the business changed name to Unifranck in 1964 which was then taken over by the food giant Nestle in 1971. And so it seems that the family name survives mainly in Croatia - thanks to the former Communist regime, oddly enough. Oh, and in 1920s Berlin sim!

P.S. Here's the link to the brief illustrated history of Franck, Zagreb:

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Bazaar in Triphosa

If you travel via SLRR along the east coast of Heterocera, you'll pass by my last remaining mainland parcel in Triphosa. It used to be the location of my train station, then for a brief while a non-descript piece of land with nothing but pine trees rezzed on it - and a teleporter leading up to the small store I opened in an attic skybox.

Last night I did some reshuffling there: the store with select and discounted gacha items is back on the ground, now inside a Middle Eastern build. And for the first time in my SL life, I bought and rezzed some palms. The store is now a small oriental bazaar.

The building to the left will at some point become a way station, where weary travelers can stop by and have some refreshments - as soon as I have a few more prims available. Sadly, there isn't much one can rezz on a 512sqm parcel... Still, there is a comfy bed in the upper room should you need to take a nap before catching the next train.

If your journeys take you in the direction of Triphosa, do come for a visit:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Love in Sepia

Last night was the opening of the Love in Sepia exhibition, the first I'm hosting at my new place in Second Norway.

The collection consists of old RL daguerreotypes and photographs showing male-male intimacy: portraits of couples, intimate friends, military buddies... from the late 19th and the early 20th century.

For some of the visitors, many of the images will be already known, as they've been circulating on gay history blogs and websites. Others, though, might be surprised by the sense of closeness and romance visible in these early photos.

In the current format, the exhibition will be open until the end of April and you can visit by following this SLurl. After that it will become part of a permanent and expanded exhibition I'm already working on, covering the 1940s and 50s.

P. S. Big thanks to all who've made a donation to the gallery. I'll be sending a souvenir from the exhibition to everyone.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Nox Arcanus

Earlier today I browsed through the Destination Guide and came across Nox Arcanus. The latinist in me cringed, as grammatically it ought to be nox arcana (roughly "a mysterious night")... Still, I got intrigued and so I went on my way.

The landing point is somewhere under water. Until everything rezzed I thought I got the wrong SLurl.

Nox Arcanus turned out to be a small town with an abandoned, apocalyptic appearance, beginning with the church closest to the landing point. There's an eerie looking sun and comets of sorts visible in the dark sky. You might want to bring an umbrella, as there's also a steady downpour.

The interior of the church is, predictably, a wee bit satanic...

In a near-by building, there's a gruesome crime scene - with a twist. The barrels and dumpster along the wall all come with sex animations.

On the other side of town, there's a large motel, with each room furnished with sex furniture, lot of it on the S&M side of things. As I reached the area, my friend Duncan joined me in the exploration. Of the sim, not S&M, you pervs...

I will have you know that both of us were far more interested in the lovely bumper cars! Unlike other things at the run down luna park, they actually work and are a lot of fun.

Personally, I enjoyed the stay, as the whole place is well made. Even if you couldn't care less about bonking on a smelly sex dumpster at a murder scene, there are other things to do and see. It isn't a very large place, so looking around doesn't take up a whole lot of time. Another good thing about it is that it doesn't seem to be attracting masses of people: we were completely alone in the sim during most of the time we spent there. I'll probably go back and take another snapshot or two at some point.

Final note: the sim is adult-only, no child avatars allowed. To visit, follow this SLurl.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Refugium's latest look

After the relocation and the latest round of changes, here are the latest snapshots from Refugium, a small meditation center I run in Second Life.

Refugium is now found on a small island in East Fjord Grieg, Second Norway, where I also have my home.

The current meetinghouse also serves as my office space, where I often sit and work while I'm blogging or listening to music in first life. 

I love the feeling of being surrounded by ocean and lush vegetation. Whether I'm sitting in meditation or working on something, it feels nice to be there.

If you'd like to join us for the meditation sessions, we meet daily at 11pm SLT and sit in silence for about 30 minutes. Regardless of time, you're always welcome to visit. You can follow this SLurl.