Apr 21 2012: Twenty-Nine Monochrome Photographs from a Souvenir Volume Documenting Socialist Czechoslovakia (CSSR, c.1957)

From the same 1957 publication as yesterday’s gallery of colour images, these monochrome plates show life in the then relatively new Communist state of Czechoslovakia as idealised and in the service of State propaganda, as though addressing the outside world from the Ministries of a kind of earthly paradise. Yet as with yesterday’s colour photographs’ … Continue reading

Apr 18 2012: The “Mr Universe” Magazine Giant Body Beautiful Issue Featuring Clarence Ross (1950s)

American masculinity has always been a curious creature, with its more regressive manifestations generally among the nation’s most blatantly homoerotic cultural forms: perhaps it’s a submerged consciousness of this blurring between extreme machismo and ‘lavender leanings’ that underlies much of the anti-gay discourse that surrounds images like the one above, a 1950s portrait of bodybuilder … Continue reading

Apr 14 2012: Cover Images from Comic Versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer (Classics Illustrated, 1960s)

How far does the value of a literary work reside in language and specific medium, how far in the story and broader ideas it contains? The question’s raised here by reductions (to around 25 pages each) of the two great epic poems of Homer, with each comic book acting more as a kind of compressed … Continue reading

Apr 3 2012: Accessories including Sleeping Bags, Swimwear, Slacks and Anoraks from the Bukta Campedia Catalogue (1960)

Following yesterday’s gallery of tents, mainly named after British birds and designed in a kind of unconscious anticipation of minimalist systems art of the kind circulated by Sol LeWitt, these images draw on the rest of the goods on offers in the 1960 Bukta Campedia catalogue of camping wares. The contrast in style is intriguing, … Continue reading

Feb 8 2012: A Gallery of Thirty-Six Architectural Photographs Covering a Range of Styles (2006 – 2011)

There’s no real thread connecting these thirty-six colour photographs other than the fact that they all come from folders on my computer, where they’ve been sitting since they were taken, and the fact that each depicts a building or quasi architectural structure of some kind that has caught my eye and seemed worth documenting for … Continue reading

Jan 16 2012: A Folder Containing Thirteeen Small Postcards from a Former Soviet Republic (1955)

I’m not a hundred percent sure of my translation, so I’m not sure where the landscapes and views preserved in this 1955 folder of souvenir postcards from a former Soviet Republic are located, exactly, though it seems likely that they’re in the region of Azerbaijan or Armenia. The mysterious (to me, as someone unable to decipher the script, … Continue reading

Aug 14 2011: Equality by R.H. Tawney (Halley Stewart Lectures, 1929)

The last time levels of economic and social inequality reached present-day levels was, according to recent statistics, in the 1920s, so it seems worth looking at the Halley Stewart Lectures, delivered by R.H. Tawney, on the eve of the Great Crash of 1929, since  in these we may find reflections on circumstances very close to our present … Continue reading

Aug 9 2011: A Period of Calm: An Interview with Linton Kwesi Johnson (Big Issue in the North, March 2001)

The following interview with Linton Kwesi Johnson took place during an overcast afternoon in late February or early March 2001 (the exact date isn’t recorded, but a piece based on an edited version of the transcript below appeared in The Big Issue in the North during the week of March 12 – 18). We met at a small cafe on … Continue reading

July 31 2011: Tisíc tváří lásky by Marie Rottrová and Flamingo (Supraphon, 1971)

25 Or 6 To 4 is a late sixties recording by Chicago, a band who later became a behemoth of MOR rock, but early on, at least, betrayed their origins in the West Coast psychedelic scene of the late 1960s. It’s of interest here because a recent arrival in the post was a 1971 Czech … Continue reading

July 28 2011: A Gallery Of Six Book Covers On Subjects Relating To Economics, Finance and History (Pelican Books, 1961 – 1973)

I started to become fascinated by the concept of money, and the machinery of economics, finance and their roots in history, around the same time I began writing a kind of diary built on random found pennies in the streets (mainly of London, where I was living at the time, circa 1998 – 2003) . This – … Continue reading