Friday, 15 December 2017

Soviet 'Happy New Year' Postcards, 1957

To conclude my 'After You've Gone' posts for this year, here are three Russian postcards that were published exactly 60 years ago. 

During the Soviet years, formal Christmas celebrations were not allowed, so instead 'Happy New Year' greetings cards were posted to families and friends. The festivities were mainly for the young - and inevitably images of Santa Claus and his helpers were bypassed - so instead dolls, children and snow were the popular symbols on these kind of cards. However, Grandfather Frost and his snow maiden granddaughter were often also depicted.

I found this troika of examples at some point during the 1990s at the now defunct Bloomsbury Postcard Fair at the Royal National Hotel in London, WC1. This was the place to find the wonderful and the unexpected - and very often at little cost. All three cards were printed on very flimsy paper, with the photograph on the glossy side, and all were dated 1957. One of the cards was postally used, bearing a stamp showing Lenin talking with a soldier and a sailor that had been issued the same year to mark what would have been Lenin's 87th birthday (he'd died in 1924).

The wording on the front image is:
с новым годом

...pronounced "Sno-vim Go-dahm", which literally means "with New Year". 

Season's Greetings!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Moulded Music - the story of the making of a 78rpm gramophone record

"Take a mess of trego, carbon black, shellac, copal, and resin, put in a press, warm it, cool it, and serve when you will!"

That's the recipe for 'moulded music' as documented by The Gramophone Company in a photo story that was published in the Penguin Music Magazine, Issue No.4, from December 1947. Exactly 70 years ago...

It's a rare and fascinating glimpse behind the scenes study of the production of an HMV 78 rpm disc. The Gramophone Company, formed in 1898, was never officially known as 'His Master's Voice', even though the phrase became synonymous with its product. The company was renamed EMI Records in 1973.

The famous logo on the record label depicts 'Nipper' - most likely a Jack Russell terrier - which was painted by his owner Francis Barraud in 1899. The dog had in fact died four years before Barraud's painting was completed. Nipper was buried in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey. A local street, 'Nipper Alley', was recently named in his honour...

This is DB 1085, the record that is pictured being sleeved and boxed