June 30 2011: Monochrome Photograph Of An Audience (Unknown Date and Location, 1960s)

The turning of our gaze from the performance to the reactions of those watching it can be fascinating, as evidenced by Ian Breakwell’s 1993 film project Auditorium in which a variety of responses to unseen material, edited together from many different kinds of performance and cinema, were edited into a short film. In Breakwell’s version, the … Continue reading

June 29 2011: Elusive, A Fragrance Ballad With The Voice Of Patrick Allen (Avon Cosmetics Flexidisc, 1960s)

Following yesterday’s pharmaceutical marketing record, here’s another advertising disc of an entirely different kind: this time, instead of aiming at doctors, as Leo Pharmaceuticals were doing, we have Avon Cosmetics sending out a flexidisc to retailers and representatives with a haunting song (produced by the legendary British library music concern Studio G) overlaid with a compelling … Continue reading

June 28 2011: Heart Sounds (Scientific Recordings by Leo Pharmaceutical Laboratories, 1960s)

The use of vinyl records as an advertising medium produced some of the most intriguing recorded material of the 1960s and 70s (as well as some of the worst) but in guises like Heart Sounds, an EP packaged like a valentine’s card but containing scientific recordings of a variety of abnormal heart conditions, as heard via contact … Continue reading

June 27 2011: Woman Outside Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely (Undated Photograph, 1950s)

When we studied the English Civil War at school, Oliver Cromwell and his Roundheads were mostly portrayed as the humourless lot who banned Christmas and dancing: both charges true enough, though it took awhile before I learned that ‘banning Christmas’ in the mid-1600s meant not spoiling everyone’s fun and tearing the presents from small childrens’ hands (all that … Continue reading

June 26 2011: Thirteen Transparencies Showing Scenes From The Miners’ Strike (1984)

These thirteen images have been around for awhile, but seemed worth adding here for their specific connection to the 1956 East Midlands coalfields maps posted on June 8. They were found in a large wooden box of slides most of which related to Salvation Army activities. The pictures themselves look more like photographs by official union … Continue reading

June 25 2011: Three Sepia Photographs of a Bridge Under Construction (Unknown Date and Location)

In a similar vein to yesterday’s sepia shots of a domestic building under construction, these three images of a wooden footbridge are equally difficult to pin down to a time or particular location. The middle image – showing some of the men working on the structure standing on the bridge itself – suggests clothing of a … Continue reading

June 24 2011: Three Sepia Photographs of a Building Under Construction (Unknown Date and Location)

The revealing thing about these images, perhaps, is that seeing them made me realise how rarely the construction of ordinary buildings has been recorded by those who come to inhabit them. Although the images are not dated, and lack any strong visual or other clues as to their exact provenance (though a specialist could perhaps read some … Continue reading

An A to Z of Artists Writing and Writers in Art (NVA, 2009)

A is for…Guillaume Apollinaire Guillaume Apollinaire was born in 1880 and died in 1918, but in his 38 years of life he packed in a great deal, consolidating the foundations of modernism as we know it in poetry, fiction and art with a stream of works including Zone, Calligrammes, Alcools and the stories and short … Continue reading

June 22 2011: Nottingham: Settlement To City by Duncan Gray (Nottingham Co-operative Society, 1953)

Duncan Gray was City Librarian for Nottingham between 1935 and 1953, and while this book officially appeared as part of Nottingham Co-operative Society’s Coronation year celebrations, it’s clear that this is also Gray’s own way of signing off from his long career among the city’s documents and archives. As he writes in his foreword: “the moving experience … Continue reading

June 21 2011: All About Dinosaurs by Roy Chapman Andrews (1953) & Dinosaurs by W.E. Swinton (1962)

The development of an obsessive interest in dinosaurs at around the age of 5 seems to be a rite of passage for boys and isn’t unknown in girls of the same age. I can certainly say that my own fascination with them was intense, and may indirectly have planted some of the seeds of writing … Continue reading