Mar 28 2012: Sepia-Toned Monochrome Photograph Showing A Swarm Of Bees (Date Unknown)

This undated image of bees swarming has hung around my desk for several years now, pretty much since I found it inside the pages of an old encyclopaedia sometime around 2006. What it shows is both commonplace, insofar as bees form swarms regularly: the sight of one isn’t an everyday occurance, but nor is it … Continue reading

Mar 12 2012: Eight Colour Photographs From The Home Guide To Deep Freezing by Audrey Ellis (Hamlyn, 1968)

Taken from The Home Guide To Deep Freezing by Audrey Ellis, a 1968 guide to cooking, storing and otherwise getting the maximum use value from a chest or upright domestic freezer in the kitchen, these eight images seem to try and compensate for the relative sparseness of colour within the book as a whole (the pages … Continue reading

Feb 17 2012: Sixteen Plates from a Stalinist Cookbook [‘Jak se Vaří v SSSR’] (Prague, 1954)

These images are taken from Jak se vaří v SSSR (Cooking in the USSR), a cookbook published in Prague, but with self-declared origins in the Soviet Union, during 1954. With an epigraph from Joseph Stalin and plates that imply luxurious plenty, it’s clearly as much an exercise in propaganda as an actual cookery manual, though … Continue reading

Feb 12 2012: The Apple Sequence and a Goat That Blows Raspberries: Stonebridge City Farm (2012)

Earlier today we went over to Stonebridge City Farm in the inner city St Ann’s area of Nottingham, mainly to drop off a box of copies of The Apple Sequence to be sold at the farm’s on-site shop in order to raise some money for the continued running of what is (by any measure) an … Continue reading

Feb 1 2012: Twenty Seven Illustrations by Robert Ayton from Your Body by David Scott Daniell (Ladybird, 1967)

Just in case it needed saying (which I rather doubt) it may be worth reflecting, as we look at the illustrations made by Robert Ayton for this 1967 childrens’ introduction to the basic workings of their own bodies, that all the multi-million dollar baroque technical extravagance seen in Military Technology magazine is all, ultimately, aimed at … Continue reading

Dec 1 2011: Pagan Pageantry In Our Islands: May Queens to Telling the Bees (from The Childrens’ Encyclopaedia, 1930s)

“One need not go abroad for quaint customs and picturesque survivals, since these are to be found in abundance in our own islands. Scarcely a village in Britain but has its bit of pageantry, scarcely a day but is marked by some special observance. England on the highways may be commercialised and industrialised, but in … Continue reading

Nov 30 2011: Scarecrow Festival and Open Gardens at Wymeswold, Leicestershire (June 27 2011)

When Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane compiled their Folk Archive in 2007, the two gathered evidence of all kinds of unofficial activity, most of it largely unrecognised even as legitimate folk culture. True, the surviving Morris Dances and Well Dressings were featured, alongside such uniquely strange customs as the Welsh Mari Llwyd, the Derby Tup and the Padstow May … Continue reading

Nov 15 2011: Lost City Supplement: Advertising Images from Frank Wedekind’s ‘Lulu’ Theatre Programme (Nottingham Playhouse, 1970)

As a kind of supplement to Lost City, compiled as a sideline to a residency at Nottingham Contemporary earlier this year during the Anne Collier and Jack Goldstein exhibitions, here’s a further gathering of adverts placed by mostly vanished Nottingham businesses, this time all sourced from a 1970 Nottingham Playhouse theatre programme connected to a … Continue reading

Nov 12 2011: Some Facts about Sneinton, its Market and Surroundings, Placed on a Timeline (1558 – 2010)

Some Facts about Sneinton, its Market and Surroundings, Placed on a Timeline (1558 – 2010) 1: “All the tithes of corn in Nottingham and Sneynton yearly accruing, which had belonged to the priory of Lenton, and were then valued at £20 per annum, were in 1599 granted by Queen Elizabeth to Henry Pierponte…” (Robert Mellors: … Continue reading

Sep 6 2011: Outside Modernism: Robert Graves’ Centenary (Sheffield Thursday No.7, 1996)

This piece was written as an essay length review of two volumes of Robert Graves’ writings published by Carcanet to mark the author’s centenary year in 1995. These were a new Selected Poems edited by Patrick Quinn and a collection of essays, lectures and criticism edited by Paul O’Prey: taken together they offered an opportunity to survey a … Continue reading