Saturday, 12 January 2019

Exploding Bridges Actually Blow Apart Right Off The River

Yes indeed, that's what it says in one of the adverts within a 1974 Marvel Comic published in New York, USA. It's from my copy of The Man-Thing!, a title that I was very fond of when I was around 12/13 years old. Sadly the issue itself is a bit battered and it's incomplete (thus worthless in the collectors market) - so before slinging it in the recycle bin, I thought I'd take a last loving look.

I had forgotten just how weird some of those small ads actually were. Of course there's the classics like the Hypno-Coin and Be Taller in a few weeks, but the Imported Birds for hunting, Repro German Helmets sold by a company calling themselves 'Adolf's', and the Hypnotizing TV Set are extreme oddities that makes me wonder just what kind of advertising control was going on at Marvel back in the 70s?

However if I could play the game of 'what if we could still send off for this stuff?' - I definitely want the Crazy World Ain't It T-Shirt!

By the way, I couldn't resist finding a complete edition of The Man-Thing #9 -  and today I picked up a copy for just £1.50 in the annual half price sale at the excellent Gosh! comic shop in central London...I still really dig Mike Ploog's superb artwork.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Face in the Crowd, Four Corners Books 2018

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The Book
Four Corners Irregulars: a series of books about modern British visual culture

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Music is the Most Beautiful Language in the World: Yiddisher Jazz in London's East End 1920s to 1950s

A vibrant soundtrack to the Cockney Jewish experience, when the swinging hot dance bands were still all the rage, and the Yiddish language was spoken on the streets of Whitechapel. Feast on long forgotten 78 rpm discs that have only recently been unearthed, starring a host of recording artists united for the first time on ‘chai fidelity’ vinyl and CD.

Hear the legendary dance band figures of the era like Bert Ambrose and his Orchestra, and Lew Stone and his Monseigneur Band, to the relatively unknown Jewish speciality acts like the Johnny Franks and his Kosher Ragtimers, and Rita Marlowe, the siren of the Yiddish song.  

And just like the old time Yiddish Theatre where the audience were left with both a smile on their face and a tear in their eye, we can delight in the cheeky street patter of the incomparable slapstick drummer Max Bacon rejoicing in the East Enders love affair with ‘Beigels’, we celebrate the world famous Petticoat Lane street market with not one, but two 1920s fox trots - but also shed a tear with Leo Fuld, the remarkable Dutch Yiddish singer, whose recordings in post-war London were haunting reminders of a way of life decimated by the Holocaust.

‘Music is the most Beautiful Language in the World’ is compiled by Alan Dein, the multi award winning radio documentary presenter and oral historian. The album title is inspired by a 1920s Yiddish slogan of an East London gramophone record shop. 

It was a time when Whitechapel was a fertile breeding ground for singers, songwriters, conductors, and cantors to musicians, managers, proprietors of record shops and club owners - and according to Dein, “their stories are now entwined with the development of the British recorded music industry. But for the first time ever, we can the discover the remarkable sounds of Jewish-themed jazz recorded in London between the 1920s and the 1950s - which thankfully had been preserved within the grooves of ancient discs”.

The accompanying booklet designed by Will Bankhead includes a detailed essay by Dein, illustrated with rare photos and memorabilia. This release is co-compiled by Howard Williams, better known for his Japan Blues radio show on NTS, and a series of compilations spanning Moondog (The Viking of Sixth Avenue), cult Japanese jazz singer Maki Asakawa,  and glimpses into the worlds of Japanese surf rock (Takeshi Terauchi), rockabilly (Masaaki Hirao), and soul funk and disco (Lovin’ Mighty Fire).

“Music is the most beautiful language in the World” - Yiddisher Jazz in London’s East End 1920s to 1950s

JWM Records       LP: JWMLP001  /  CD: JWMCD001

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Highway Code booklets 1954 - 1987

Another of my mini-collections - this time a range of 'The Highway Code' booklets issued by HMSO in the second half of the 20th Century. 

Some superb exterior and interior graphic design in these publications which were launched in 1931, after the Road Traffic Act in the previous year.






Uncontrolled zebra crossing, 1959

Crossing the road, 1959

Signals by authorised persons, 1970

the ROADCRAFT manual was issued to students of the 'Motor Car Wings' at the Metropolitan Police Driving School

from ROADCRAFT, issued by the HMSO in 1955