Monday, 29 June 2015

The British Esperantist

This is Issue 6 of The British Esperantist, the 'mix tape of books' that I have been working on for a while now. It's been pretty successful and the latest issue is out right now, I would like to suggest that you purchase a copy if you can as it is not only very entertaining, it is also informative and really cheap, cheaper in the UK than a cup of coffee, in fact. This issue's contents include: Hawkwind; Ben Weber, International Ventriloquist; William Blake's horoscope; trouser trends and lots, lots more.

More details here --

Don't linger, though, they generally aren't around for very long. Thank you for your attention.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Joy of Shell and Esso

If you pop into a garage/service station these days you normally see offers for USB chargers or some sort of hands free crap which you don't need..........or a plastic cup holder which plays mp3s and also doubles up as a screw driver set. If you popped into a garage in the 70s to top up (providing that they had any fuel at all, or you could get past all the rubbish that was piling up) then you might have been tempted to collect one/all of these. Shells Great Britains book and their Man in Flight/Historic Cars coin collection. Not to be outdone Esso jumped in with their 1970 World Cup coin collection. I should point out here that the coin collections belong to my friend and collector of many many things Mr Palmer. When I was growing up we never had a car in our family, so I never had the pleasure of collecting all these coins. I should say I did posses the odd one or two, which were donated to me by some friends of the family, who obviously felt very sorry for us, and did not want me to miss out on these great things. So where do you stand???? Coins and Book or solar powered USB charging coffer holder with micro garden lights socket set.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Colour Black

"Somewhere, deep within the vastness of space, lies the theoretical nightmare known to man as the black hole..."

1982.  13 minute documentary put together by Hugh Cornwell and Jet Black of The Stranglers for BBC West.

Best bits are Cornwell making Chris Morris-esque "Mm..." noises as a scientist talks, and the pop vox around the 2 min mark - all straight out of central casting.

"It brings out the masochist in me."

Monday, 15 June 2015

Well a' don't know how tae change things but, by Christ we got tae try

Inages from 'New Image Glasgow', 1985.

War - Ken Currie, 1983

A brand New World was Comin' - Ken Currie, 1985 (Conté on paper)

Life grew harder day by day, All along the riverside - Ken Currie, 1985 (Conté on paper)

Well a' don't know how tae change things but, by Christ we got tae try - Ken Currie, 1985 (Conté on paper)

Ken Currie quote:
"[My aim is to] create an epic socialist humanist art that shows in political terms a 'pessimism of the intellect, but an optimism of the will.'  They are disciplined by a realism in form and content - this being neccessary as it is the language of accessibility and democracy - capable of touching the heart and mind of an audience all too familiar with the story."
Meanwhile, Steven Campbell predicted the future with this one:

Nasal and Facial Hair Reactions to Various Disasters - Steven Campbell, 1985

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Mighty Blow for Freedom: F--- The Media

Sculptures and drawings by Michael Sandle:

A Mighty Blow for Freedom: F*ck the Media

Der Trommler

I know I'm not the first person to point out that the '80s wasn't all pastel pinks and flourescent greens, but, well, it bloody wasn't.

From my own point of view the 1970s really were made of earthy browns and acid oranges and greens and golden yellow, and it was always summer.  But the 1980s were dark grey, black and white.  Cold and damp.  It's become, in my brane, one long, heavy winter.

Which sounds awful, but I love the aesthetic that went with it.  The aesthetic of a big charcoal drawing; clouds of black dust and fog.  These images of works by Michael Sandle are probably the purest expression of it, but see also the Glasgow painters of the time: Peter Howson and Ken Currie for example.  Monumental (often literally, in Sandle's case), serious and muscular.  A European version of muscularity as opposed to the butch folk-hero US version which now seems to be the other '80s thing (Rambo, big dudes with mullets, truckers etc).  You could only get away with this now if you were taking the piss or doing designs for a computer game / sci-fi film.

Here are some earlier pieces, including what must be his best known one:

All images (apart from the two at the top of the post) from: 'Michael Sandle Sculpture and Drawings 1957-88'.

Vague links / "see also" type stuff: Futurism; Vorticism; MES naming Wyndham Lewis in his list of Heroes in a 1985 MM (or was it NME?) piece; Blast First records; general resurgence of interest in inter-war period by arty/graphics types; "flirting with totalitarian imagery"; 1984; Socialist Realism; Constructivism; Laibach, Einsteurzende Neubauten, Test Dept, The Young Gods; 1984

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Radio 4 Houses of Horror

This was on Radio 4 on Monday 8th def worth catching up with. Hammer was the most successful British film company of all time but, throughout its heyday in the 60s and 70s, it did battle with a much smaller, poorer, creative, upstart rival - Amicus films. Amicus was a small British horror studio that pioneered the much loved 'portmanteau' picture, such as Tales of the Crypt and Vault of Horror - each movie a composite of four or five short stories, whose connection is revealed at the end. Horror aficionado and film buff Matthew Sweet explores the productive rivalry between the two contenders for the heart and soul of British horror, in a blood-curdling tale of low budget, gore spattered one-upmanship that's full of chilling atmosphere and fun.