Apr 25 2012: The Modernist Christ (Geraint Evans Sings in Llandaff Cathedral, Delyse Records, 1962)

I suppose this record sleeve, containing a 1962 recording of Welsh opera singer Geraint Evans performing in the imposing setting  of Llandaff Cathedral, might be seen to connect to yesterday’s post, in which the graphics of generic Soviet LP covers of a similar era were featured. While specifically designed for this one particular release, the … Continue reading

Feb 2 2012: From Anthony Symondson to Mr Bulmer-Thomas on the Subject of Stained Glass (St Andrew’s, 16 March 1966)

Early last year, as part of the Bookmark Project at Nottingham Contemporary, I manufactured a fake letter from a fictional artist, Robert Holcombe, to a very real artist, Eduardo Paolozzi, and hoped that inserting this fabrication into a book in the study’s library would grant the object a certain authenticity, as though the correspondence had been used … Continue reading

Jan 27 2012: Colour Photograph of an Unknown Woman in a Caravan with a Portable Television (c.1970s)

I’m not sure what it is, exactly, about photographs in which televisions appear that seems so compelling: perhaps it’s the conjunction of different layers of reality inside the single frame, as everyday life can be seen coming into collision with something fantastical or other or – as here – where the woman making tea coincides … Continue reading

Dec 14 2011: Twelve Images From The Ancient Customs Of Derbyshire by Crichton Porteous (Derbyshire Countryside, 1976)

Following yesterday’s sequence of images showing well-dressings in Derbyshire, here are a further dozen photographs presenting some far more curious goings on in the same geographic area. Taken fom Crichton Porteous’ 1976 booklet, The Ancient Customs of Derbyshire, the pictures offer Morris dancers, mummers’ plays, the authorised street battles of the Ashbourne shrovetide football game, … Continue reading

Dec 13 2011: Forty Images from Well Dressing in Derbyshire by Roy Christian (Derbyshire Countryside, 1991)

A selection of illustrations from a 1991 booklet looking at the tradition of well-dressing in the Derbyshire peaks through spring and early summer, these 40 or so photographs show well dressings featuring mainly Biblical illustrations, but whose subjects can also extend from nursery rhymes, popular culture, civic and topical subjects, to tributes in memory of school founders, … Continue reading

Nov 1 2011: The Folklore of Apples and Third Wassail Song (from Orchard, 2011)

The Folklore of Apples “The birch is mentioned as ‘very noble’ in Gwion’s Cad Goddeu, but the apple tree was the noblest tree of all, being the tree of immortality.The poets of Wales have always been aware of its spiritual pre-eminence, and the lovely medieval Afalleneu (‘Sweet apple tree crimson in hue/Which grows concealed in … Continue reading

Oct 27 2011: After ‘The Flea’: John Donne Responds to the Present Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral (October 27, 2011)

Reading today about the resignation, on a matter of Christian principle, of Canon Giles Fraser from his role at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and the petulant responses of the present Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, the Dean of St Paul’s, the Right Rev Graeme Knowles, and other Church authorities over the past week to the presence of … Continue reading

Sep 11 2011: Spirits of Air and Darkness by Michael Roberts (Faber, 1939)

If he’s remembered very much at all these days Michael Roberts is probably  best known as an anthologist between the wars, having edited both New Signatures and The Faber Book of Modern Verse. His own poetry, though, seems mostly neglected: as far as I know, nearly all of it is out of print, but having … Continue reading

Sep 8 2011: Nothing Not Giving Messages: Edwin Morgan’s Collected Poems (Sheffield Thursday No.8, 1999)

This is the last of the three pieces I wanted to archive here from Sheffield Thursday magazine (there were a few others but these were much less focused ’round-up’ type reviews, so of less potentially ongoing interest). The well deserved status won by Morgan and his life’s work in his years as Makar of Scotland (a … Continue reading

Sep 3 2011: Ethiopian Madonna and Child Painting on Vellum (Date Unknown)

Rummaging in a cardboard box at the Cattle Market in Nottingham in this morning’s unexpected sunshine, I pulled out a small Woolworth style wooden photo-frame with this image inside it – a mismatch of raw, folk-art painting and flimsily over-glossed container that was very striking.  Since the front was glazed it wasn’t possible to look at … Continue reading