Nov 26 2011: Dinosaur Fights, Early Humans and Trilobites: Drawings from Purnell’s Book of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals (1977)

Alongside the photographic dioramas seen in yesterday’s selection are these curious drawings, sometimes designed to show sizes of dinosaurs relative to, say, a human pyramid or a horse, but more often as a means of staging the fights that (let’s face it) any small child reading the book will want to see visualised on the page. … Continue reading

Nov 25 2011: Photographs from Purnell’s Book of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals (1977)

This isn’t the first time dinosaurs have featured here and it probably won’t be the last, should any other interesting dinosaur-related paraphernalia cross my path. Having already admitted the early obsession (and found it widely shared) perhaps the appeal of this 1977 children’s book should be fairly transparent. Published by Purnell, the hardback is full … Continue reading

Nov 6 2011: Uncanny Victoriana: Twenty Nine Images from Calke Abbey, Derbyshire (2009)

Walking around Calke Abbey, a former stately home now in the care of the National Trust, and deliberately preserved in the declined and eccentric state it had fallen to when it was handed to them, is akin to wandering through a cabinet of curiosites on a grand scale: an architectural Jan Svankmajer assemblage with dozens … Continue reading

Oct 30 2011: Reader’s Diary (Brittle Star Magazine, May 2010)

Of the three addictions that have shaped my life, I can only remember with certainty where the least desirable of them began: with an Embassy filter-tip, one summer afternoon outside a corrugated iron shed in New Quay, mid-Wales, at the antique restoration workshop where I spent my teenage Saturdays working. With music, I can clearly … Continue reading

Aug 26 2011: Woodlouse from Poetry Wales (p.33, Vol.20, No.4, 1985)

In London on Thursday, I was making my way towards Tate Modern to catch the Joan Miro exhibition (which is highly recommended, incidentally, especially if a reminder of how dark, strange, affirming, transformative and deeply political visual art can be is needed). On the way there, cutting between tube lines, I stopped in at a couple of … 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