Monday 24 December 2012

Nadolig Llawen!

Oh, go on then. Welsh books! Merry Christmas!

Purple Snowflakes!

It's been a while folks, but work and other things have limited my time online (which is probably a good thing to be honest). So next year I'm going to make a special effort to do a little bit more for your perusal. Anyway, I'm off to the sticks for Christmas now. Have an inert and lethargic Christmas day, and a New Year and all that. And don't open anything tonight, it isn't Christmas yet.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween, or, Echoes of Terror!

The light is dimming outside and the leaves are dancing in the street, excited at what will come when night falls. Yes, it's the between channels Halloween post and served up on a bed of death and worms is a series of plates from Hamlyn's 1980 anthology 'Echoes of Terror'. Unlike many of these volumes it was published as an A4 hardback with copious gruesome illustrations. Fittingly, someone has been at this copy with a knife so when I bought it everything tumbled onto the floor like, er, a sailor's guts. I'm not sure which illustration goes with which story - perhaps you can guess! - and as a result am unsure as to which illustrator penned which picture. Let's just give a severed hand to Les Edwards, Gordon Crabb, Jim Burns, Terry Oakes, Stuart Hughes, Peter Goodfellow, Bob Fowke and George Smith. Now let's peep through the crooked bits of wood I hammered over the window, enjoy a hedge-meal of rat and henbane and try to figure out what those lights bobbing in the field really are...
I'm sure Denholm Elliott played Dracula once. Anyone?
There's something about an A4 scary face propelling itself towards you at great speed.
Hypgnosis goes horror, and it works.
I have to admit that this one is quite frightening.
Poker is much easier in the underworld.
The Ramblers Association's new logo.
A cross-breed, unsuitable for families with young children.
Medieval Jaegerbomb.
The man himself, give it up for him and rock will NEVER die. Like much of the country I will spend the evening with kith and kin, watching 'The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue', Kevin Billington's 1973 Hemmings-fest 'Whispers' and shutting the curtains to pretend nobody is in. Stay safe, and remember that on the night when the invisible membrane between this world and the hereafter is at its thinnest, turn your lights on if you're going for a bike ride. Adieu!

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Barrie's Album

Hello there. I've been hunting around for things, and recently bought a small photo album.
It's a souvenir from Jerusalem, where the owner served for a while in World War Two. After taking the pictures out, I ascertained that the owner was called Barrie.
This is Barrie's sister. This photograph unnerves me a little for some reason.
This is Barrie, and someone has snapped him walking down the lane. He walks on the outside of his feet, just like I do.
Cheerfully looming out of the gloom.
Barrie liked football. I'd imagine there was no heated dugout at this ground. And the ball was carved from solid walnut.
Barrie was married. And in uniform ...
And in 1943 he was posted abroad. Written on the back: 'Your loving Sheikh xxx barrie. They never smile darling. It just is not done here.'
'14 Jan 1945 - what do you think of the car dear.'
'What do you think of the house dearest. This is not for your eyes mind.'
You're darn right about that Barrie! There were probably no more letters asking to see what 'the house' looked like. It must have been boring and lonely in the desert when you weren't fighting.
'2 girls - sidi bishr'.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Mystery Painting

Hello! Sam Ayres recently bulged the between channels postbag with an intriguing request. He bought this picture at a carboot sale recently and would like to draw on the collected knowledge of the bc readership to discover where it is set. Ordinarily I would have callously disregarded the request and flicked a printed version into the fire, were it not for the fact that Sam identified the type of phone box in the picture as a K8, thus initiating himself into this website's inner circle. O enter ye! Anyway, all ideas are welcome, as is the thought of me getting off my backside and posting some of the pictures and illustrations that have come my way in recent weeks. It may happen. And I've thought about doing another site as well, for different things. Hmm. Anyway, drop us a line in the comments section if you can help out. Thanks!

Thursday 30 August 2012

Down Among the Meths Men by Geoffrey Fletcher

A laurel wreath and hearty handshake to you, visitor. It's the end of August and here in the steel city a fair wind has wrapped itself round the seven hills, numbing fingers and toes and generally reminding people that they live in Northern Britain. And my tan from Australia has already worn off. Never mind, we're back and what better subject to begin with than the death drinkers of postwar London? Geoffrey Fletcher is better known for 'The London Nobody Knows', which was filmed by Norman Cohen in 1967 and is narrated by James Mason (his best performance since the Thunderbird wine advert on YouTube - look it up!). A large section of the film features homeless and indigent people at the Salvation Army spike in the East End and also meths drinkers in various bombsites and street corners. This material seems to be based on the book I have here, 'Down Among The Meths Men' (Hutchinson & Co, 1966 London). You want depressing? It's right here buddy. I read this over an afternoon and felt very off-colour afterwards - it's an unremittingly bleak story of people on the very edges of society living transient lives in total squalor. On the upside, it's written using Garamond, one of my favourite fonts. Look for the silver lining, etc etc. The main reason for posting about this book is Fletcher's illustrations, many done 'on the spot' as he attempted to befriend and interrogate the people he found on the street. They have a haunted, haunting quality which a prolonged sitting would not have produced.
The label in my copy says it belonged to the 'British Sailors Society', based in East London. A dire warning, perhaps? Be sure to miss me.

Monday 30 July 2012


Somewhere in Sheffield, 1970. Cobbles, chocolate brown and algae green emulsion, Farinas, street games, gas destructor street lights, housing clearences, foggy Kodachrome air. I wouldn't swap now for then, but I'd love to go back there for a days wandering. I'm going to Australia for a while - I'll tell you about it sometime. Bye!

Tales of Old Piccadilly

So I think I can just waltz back after two months without a bye or leave? Well, yes, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. I've been spending a lot of time messing around with Audacity software trying to put together a mix for the website, but all I managed was to produce a thunderously echoing version of the theme tune to 'Terry and June' and get told off by Mrs BC. Anyway, there's some stuff going on in London at the moment, and there was some stuff going on there in 1974 as well.
The main thing going on must have been the premiere of 'Klansman', a moving documentary about Richard Burton's struggle to maintain a Southern American accent. The cinema is the London Pavillion, now part of the Trocadero centre (yuck). Props to the flamboyant gentleman reclining in the foreground. Life is sweet when you're carryng a brolly you don't need.
Another view of some ace seventies signage. It's good to see a Wimpy again, with the Apollo Cinema buried at street-level. I was going to discuss the street furniture but I reckon these guys would beat my ass with a stripey-poled Mellor, so it's best to just leave it. I'll console myself with the appearence of May Pang in the foreground, probably having a lost weekend of her own down the 'dilly. I'm off to peruse the SABRE forum.

Monday 21 May 2012

The Peak of Mathematics

Everybody loves maths don't they? The sheer naked panic of just not getting it as a child? The embarassed, snorting bluster when someone asks you "Go on then, what are seven eights?" Well lets hope this post brings back those long-buried feelings of childhood inadequacy, as we enter the world of Nelson's Peak Mathematics 1 (Alan Bridgehouse, David Godber and Peter Patilla 1981). The art design is by Sharon Lovett and Michael Kaufmann, and the snaps are by Chris Ridgers (the South African Chris Rodgers), Dawson Strange (yes!) and Janine Wiedel.
Perhaps the panda represents the advances the ancient Chinese made in the field of mathematics: perhaps the entwining of the branches is a visual pun on the pyramid logo in the top left. Whatever - it's a panda up a tree and it's time to open your exercise book.
Typical - you wait ages and then nine turn... sorry.
Some great snack action here. Old school white Smarties and a Toblerone, washed down with a tin of Humbrol enamel paint.
No Rola Cola or Top Deck to feed the fantasies of cheap nostalgists here - we're showing the kids Coke and that's that. If I was Mary I'd just pick up the shades and the cool, swimming frog.
The spirit of dark and lonely ice cream vans.
Don't bother asking John - it's marbles all the way. Those long, early spring afternoons on the tarmac have marked me indelibly (especially around the knee area). That's it - I'm off to revise graphs and recite 'Got, got, need, need ..' over a Panini Football 85. Bye!