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Old News: Four columns ago…

May 6, 2011

For some time I’ve been deeply fascinated with all things retro and vintage; and in this case I couldn’t be happier with what I found. Norwich is becoming an increasingly great place to find small treasures, that as far as I am concerned yield the potential to intrigue all manner of creatives, or at least I’ve simply become more receptive of what splendor there lies in my backyard.

Not far from the hustle and bustle of the more predictable shopping areas of Norwich is the quirky quarter known as Pottergate; a nice place where among other great curios, there is the St Gregory’s Church that plays host to a weekly fair every Saturday. The moment you enter the venue; you are in fairness somewhat underwhelmed by it’s jumble sale meets musky charity shop atmosphere, but after a more thorough rummage through the humble stalls your bound to find something worthy of the visit…

Amongst many aging curiosities such as ornamental firearms, knives, candle holders and other Cluedo style murder weaponry; this particular stall had a large folder containing all sorts of vintage printed ephemera, each tatty article divulging it’s age with expected sepia toning. Eventually I came across an 1805 edition of ‘The Times’ newspaper, and for the meager £1 the dealer offered for it, how could I pass this up?

The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572

The Times to say the least is a well revered broadsheet, a bastion of Britishness and a paper long associated with the intelligent and political classes. The Times has played a notable role in the history of design and typography as well; after all the font that once graced many generic documents in the 1990’s and beyond was based upon the typefaces originally produced by Stanley Morison and Victor Lardent for the paper’s typographic refresh circa 1932.

Linoype CRtronic specimens

Times New Roman specimens produced by Linotype circa mid 1980's for early computer typesetting technology (from my personal collections).

Speaking of The Times’ design heritage, its also worth noting that circa 2006 another British design legend; Neville Brody directed the typeface refresh that would go on to be known as Times Modern by designer Luke Prowse, as part of a general refresh to complement the switch from broadsheet to compact format. The paper went on to have a more comprehensive redesign in 2008 also…

So to me at least this 1805 edition is an intriguing throwback to the history of newspaper design and typography; journalistically though, I must confess I’m not overly interested, though it would seem that this issue is heavily focused on some kind of European conflict of sorts…

The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572

People sure loved war in those days, thank god things have changed.

What I find interesting about this newspaper is the rigidity of the design. Its divided into four ruled columns and the copy is farily continuous with few typographic stylings and details to break the monotony and differentiate the information; except rules, occasional embellished or double rules, all cap small-headers and sub-headers with intermittent italicised passages, and also most of the advert placements have drop caps.

Though in terms of typography and typesetting this is comparatively a very rudimental and crude example when one considers the triumph of modern newspaper and editorial design, such as the circa 2006 redesign of ‘The Guardian’ led by creative director Mark Porter; featuring the highly acclaimed typeface designs by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz (which were recently released for general use through their Commercial Type foundry).

The Guardian redesign...

Photo of The Guardian redesign; Long copy and info-graphics developmental designs. Credit to Gigijin on Flickr.

The Guardian redesign...

Photo of The Guardian redesign; Supplements and Pull-outs developmental designs. Credit to Gigijin on Flickr.

The Guardian redesign...

Photo of The Guardian redesign; Headlines and Colour developmental designs. Credit to Gigijin on Flickr.

However the charm of this lies in the fact that even after over 200 years; as far as I’m concern you can clearly tell this is a newspaper and a lot of the typography, layout and hierarchy elements we associate with newspaper design today are here, if only in a more basic and primitive incarnation. To state the obvious this simpler design is a consequence of the era’s technology, exactly which printing technology was standard circa 1805 isn’t certain to me, though it would be fairly safe to venture it was printed using handset type with flatbed pressing style technology.

Another factor to bare in mind when critiquing this, is the simple fact that graphic design per se didn’t really exist then. From a design perspective, this is a relic that contributed to the development of a craft that arose out of a need for effective and competent communication, however subjective and variable those virtues maybe…

The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572
The Times, 7/11/1805 No.6572

(click images for larger examples)

To know the whole origins of this newspaper is something I’m unlikely to discover; though surely thats not necessary to appreciate this artifact created by typesetters of old, in the present as a typesetter of sorts myself. To regard this has been warming; to hold something created long ago that represents my present is a form of bonding with my trade and it’s heritage; much in the same way a writer could feel bonded to the past by punching letters on a typewriter or a racer igniting an archaic vehicle. Perhaps this is comforting in a way, to feel like we could have been competent at our talents in the past, with the technologies of the time alongside our quasi ancestors. I suppose in the end we all want to open windows to the past in order to make better sense of the present…

That concludes this blog; I hope for you it has been interesting, and as always I appreciate those that took the time to read this and gander at my findings and thoughts. I can’t publish this post without noting the obvious gap between this post and the last in August, and with it now being May thats a considerable lapse. My reasons are simply a combination of busyness, fatigue, laziness, lack of time/inspiration/motivation and so on. I would pledge to blog more often, but that I cannot guarantee, however I feel that perhaps more regular postings might resume once more. Please be sure to check out all the links below to relevant sources and follow up material.


http://www.stgregorysart.co.uk/

http://www.linotype.com/510/stanleymorison.html

http://www.linotype.com/480/victorlardent.html

https://www.fontfont.com/designers/neville-brody

http://www.computerarts.co.uk/in_depth/interviews/profile_luke_prowse

http://www.markporter.com/newspapers/

http://commercialtype.com/

A special credit to Gigijin:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigijin/

Some other articles on The Times newspaper design:

http://noisydecentgraphics.typepad.com/design/2006/11/the_times_gets_.html

http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2006/november/designing-for-modern-times

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/may/30/thetimes.newsinternational

http://www.markporter.com/notebook/?p=209

http://archive.researchstudios.com/home/003-projects/times/times.php

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Retrospective: Game Over…

August 26, 2010

This is going to be a fairly small blog about what was a bit of a let down in the Norwich events and exhibitions calendar; ‘Retro Arcade’ at The Forum. Now having seen the poster some time ago I thought that this could be a real treat; as I have a real soft spot for those old coin-op classics from before my time, and the classics of my time in the 90’s. What I was expecting was pretty much a room full of old arcade machines and cabinets with classics like; Pacman, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Galaxian, Asteroids, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, Soul Calibur, Time Crisis, OutRun, Bubble Bubble, Marvel vs. Capcom, Robocop and ect…

Retro Arcade 1

(Source: The Forum, Norwich | Facebook)

Now granted it did just say “An interactive history of computer games”, which with that loose description could have been even less impressive than what it actually was. As above I stated what it could have been according to my dreams and fantasies a retro-gaming paradise, but heres the synopsis of what the exhibition comprised of: several old games consoles, a few new games consoles, a modern manufactured multi-game table cabinet machine, games and videos projected onto the walls and some fancy furniture (and maybe some things I missed out).

It was an okay exhibition of sorts and would have definitely been a welcome break for kids being dragged around by their mothers; and something nifty for the various Forum staff to do during lunch breaks and so forth, but I just think that the idea conveyed in the poster could have been better than a load of old consoles I could easily afford from Cash Converters myself, organised in a showroom. Generally speaking I just found it to be poor, because I know people out there have more impressive collections in their bedrooms (or mother’s basement to be more precise).

I was also genuinely expecting some decent coin-op action too, but they only seemed to have a crappy ‘Plug N Play’ Pacman type device that was projected onto the wall (the ‘Plug N Play’ version of Pacman is awful and not like the original at all) and also I believe there were some other devices like that for representing the other old stuff too.

Retro Arcade 2

(Source: The Forum, Norwich | Facebook)

I think the biggest knock-off was the console selections too, for instance it seemed like they had nothing older than a Super Nintendo or Sega Megadrive and they also had a Wii and PS3 there (not quite retro yet, but I saw the point they were trying to make with that though). The exhibit fairly comprehensively catalogued the 1990’s consoles and 2ooo’s consoles in all fairness, but anything older than that was poorly represented at the exhibit, they didn’t even have a NES (let alone an Atari…). So though it was a nice thought, it could have been a so much better, genuine and authentic experience, and though I bet the kids enjoyed, I think they deserve better than that…

Retro Arcade 3

(Source: The Forum, Norwich | Facebook)

As far as I am concerned it was a cool idea, but in reality I think it was pretty half-arsed in the end and did little to rekindle my hazy memories of coin insertion and the eventual come down after getting beaten by the third opponent you play (as far as I remember perceiving, the third opponent on any given life on an arcade Beat’em up machine got automatically harder to make you lose faster).

To sum it up I would have to refer you to this video below…

Well thats game over for this blog, and though this is pretty much a nag of a blog, it’s because I’m passionate and think that if this had been done real justice it could have been very cool (but it wasn’t though). For the record I’m glad that those who enjoyed it did, but theres so much more to retro gaming than the minor peak into the subculture this exhibit offered.

For more info check out this link:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Norwich-United-Kingdom/The-Forum-Norwich/8086975811


Retrospective | SUB-BLOG: Game ON…

The King of Kong, Poster.

(Movie Poster, Source: http://www.movieposteraddict.com)

Now having had a pretty decent moan about the so-called ‘Retro Arcade’ I would like to shed light on something relevant that would have really complimented that exhibit if they showed it on a wall there or something. It is the brilliant heartwarming feature length documentary that is ‘The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters’ (2007) – directed by Seth Gordan, which chronicles the tail of Steve Wiebe’s attempt at breaking the long standing ‘Donkey Kong’ arcade record held by the quasi-villain figure Billy Mitchell. What ensues is an unbelievable, inadvertent, yet seemingly accurate portrait of a retro-gaming subculture, in a way (to me at least) it seemed like the coin-op equivalent of ‘Dogtown and Z Boys’ (2001) or Riding Giants’ (2004) both by Stacy Peralta.

All I can really say is make sure you watch it; even if you can’t stand those types of people, there are just too many hilarious moments in there, the only scary thing is that you end relating to those people more than you are really comfortable with. Though its pretty sad in someways that people define their personal worth on the basis of an arcade game score, you can’t help but end up really rooting for the challenger Steve Wiebe, who emerges as an underdog figure, who truly needs this ultimate score in order to make personal peace with a history of shortcomings. He is also constantly dogged by the bias of record keeping community ‘Twin Galaxies’ – who eventually come good…

On the other hand there is Billy Mitchell, the bizarrely surreal pseudo-macho figure, who acts tough, but disregards and avoids Wiebe at every turn in a manner that is defeating of the persona he attempts to put across in his interviews and archive appearances. Overall the protagonist and nemesis dynamics add up to a really strange, yet interesting narrative filled with totally unwritable situations that seem too good to be true.

Finally for the benefit of anyone that’s actually seen the film, heres the mock trailer to the sequel:

Well thats the final part of this retro double-dose, so I hope you have found it intersting and informative. There are yet more game culture related posts to come; as I have some pent-up stories and topics I have to fully write up and so forth, so be sure to keep an eye on this blog. Be sure also to check out the links and so on…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0923752/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275309/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0389326/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ool62bzA1g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADy8f6t4Ri8

http://www.twingalaxies.com/

http://www.movieposteraddict.com/2007/06/13/the-king-of-kong-poster/

Crafty! Neo-Craftism is in…

August 25, 2010

A while back I made an article about an obscure shop in London called ‘Lik+Neon’, famed for it’s many loitering cats that slouch around the premises, which is a charm to the likes of myself and others. Though not quite as brilliant (mainly due to a notable absence of ambient cats) I found the relatively new Norwich Lanes shop ‘Cherry Cherry’, a kooky sort of place for people that like watching Michael Cera movies and listening to Kate Nash, whilst wearing those ironic chunky nerd specs (Lomographic camera in tow of course too). It’s a pretty nifty store and has a really nice interior and visual identity too, and I’m glad that our ever homogenising city can still find room to have these more interesting shops that break the monotony of our predictable modern day commercial environments.

Cherry Cherry 01

(Source: ilovecherrycherry.blogspot.com)

Cherry Cherry 02

(Source: ilovecherrycherry.blogspot.com)

As one can see it’s a pretty nifty place that has a pseudo jumble sale feel to it thats rather quaint and dainty; which is pretty much the point of the place I gather, I rather like the place overall I think, and I bought some cool stuff from there too. I do wonder though; because this to me is a sign that the sort of Neo-Craft movement we’ve been living through for the last 5 years or so, is starting to become more commercially viable to the extent that a whole shop can open stocking exclusively limited production craft stuff, will it or can it last forever as a movement?

In a way this sort of movement if you will is driven by an alternative consumer lifestyle habit that craves scarcity, rarity, nature of production methods (preference to lo-fi Production), visual aesthetics and a bit a narrative too, with the consumers also often being participants in the niche as well.With that in mind, if such a commercial/creative niche gathers momentum, would it be capable of sustaining the core demographic if it eventually became less of what it is, by way of wider appreciation from late adopters that are growing in number?

Plus 1 Mag issue 11

Awesome craft article from the sadly defunct free culture 'zine '+1 Magazine' issue 11, c. 2008. (Source: http://www.plus1mag.com/wp-content/themes/plus1mag/pdfs/issue11.pdf)

So to me, though I like the shop a lot, it seems a little at odds with a movement that sort of relies on not being too big in order to survive and maintain a dedicated interest. Generally speaking though I think that the Neo-Craft movement as a visual/creative style isn’t going to last forever (also including the general popularity of twee/quaint aesthetic styles), and I wonder how much longer it can last, as it has been around for what seems a while in an age of constant change. Overall though I guess whilst this place is part of a district of indie-retailers it will be able to preserve it’s uniqueness, but it is subject also to the fate of the wider movement at hand.

Now without further questioning of a perceived movement I present with gleeful delight the cool stuff I bought from there in honour of some recent social occasions that required message cards and nick-knacks:

Cherry Cherry merch 1

Cherry Cherry merch 2

Cherry Cherry merch 3

Cherry Cherry merch 4

Cherry Cherry merch 5

Cherry Cherry merch 6

As well as those cool cards and the badge, I bought a rather coy and cute magazine that seems of hand made origin; ‘Le Dot’ – by Anthony Zinonos, a strange collection of old nostalgic and cute photos, with the addition of fluorescent orange dot stickers randomly placed in each image, to add a peculiar comic narrative.

Anthony Zinonos 1

Anthony Zinonos 2

Anthony Zinonos 3

Anthony Zinonos 4

Anthony Zinonos 5

Pretty nifty guy actually and I admire his sort of part craft, part punk, part dadaist, part illustrator and part post-modern style; which in the case of this mini-mag has fruited quite a nice little novelty worthy of it’s £3 price quite easily. Overall I’m pretty chuffed to own this, and the shop stocks plenty of other indie-zines like this one too…

Well that pretty much sums up this blog, and for me this is quite a curious case; a movement that thrives on and cherishes the anachronistic; will a movement and niche of this nature be able to avoid becoming an anachronism, by embracing that which is? I don’t know, but like anything in the creative/cultural spectrum it will come and go perhaps, it’s just that I am a little cynical of it’s longevity, no matter how pleasant I find it to be.


As always, thanks for reading and look at the links bellow for info and fun:

http://www.cherrycherryshop.com/

http://ilovecherrycherry.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/cherry_cherry_

http://handmadenationmovie.com/

http://anthonyzinonos.com/

http://www.hellomemo.com/

http://artbox.co.kr/

http://likneon.blogspot.com/

Inked: my un-tattooed opinion…

August 19, 2010

Norwich Body Arts Festival enjoyed it’s second year on the weekend of  14 – 15th August 2010 and I gave it a go on the Saturday as a last minute Stag Weekend curio type thing to compensate for the fouled-up paint balling plans (postponed to the hungover Sunday that followed). Being inkless made me feel a little apprehensive of going, because sometimes not fitting in can make you feel pretty awkward, and like a lot of the un-inked I somewhat perceive the inked as having a disregard and doubt for my rock ‘n’ roll credentials on the grounds of being inkless. Thus in spite I have chosen to stay inkless as a statement of my own and also to keep any professional doors firmly open, but I may well kick that statement one day if tattoo culture is as rich as I found it to be at NBAF 2010.

Inked 1

(Source: http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk, from Simon Parkin report)

Inked 2

(Source: http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk, from Simon Parkin report)

Anyway I went and enjoyed the spectacle on my own level and was satisfied with the cool stuff to buy, t-shirts, sketchbooks, posters, flyers, business cards and as well as seeing some tattoos being done too. It was pretty awesome overall and well worth going to see and I regret that I had to leave early thus missing some of the entertainment. What I did do though for starters was basically take a business card from pretty much every stand I went to and in the gallery set bellow one can gander at some really nice examples of tattoo art and design, some of which I found really amazing and beautiful:

Though in some cases the design side is a bit ‘hit ‘n miss’ (in particular some had a poor command of typography/typesetting), the art side was quite often pretty impressive, only in some cases stifled by sketchy design direction. All the same though some of them I’ll hold onto for studio pin-up curios and ect…

As well as the groovy business cards that seemingly spanned many genre’s of tattoo art/design/illustration, there was the thrill of the market stalls they had too, from which I bought these two cool t-shirts from the Toxico Clothing stall:

toxico tees 1 a

toxico tees 2

I think its pretty clear to see that the tattoo art style lends itself really well to the graphic tee, and what’s more these would look pretty cool with the whole ‘open shirt to reveal tee’ look that’s been going on for the last 7 years or so. They are pretty intricately detailed and printed quite decently too, and my only regrets are not having enough money to buy more of their wears and other stuff.

Also on the stalls was the ‘Vince Ray Experience’ merchandise from which I bought this set of shooters:

Vince Ray Cups

That stall sold loads of stuff in this sort of pulp-fiction, b-movie, voodoo-hoodoo, rock ‘n’ roll, psychobilly, americana, nostalgic, vintage-ness style. They also had ash trays, ceramic tiles for bathrooms, mugs and loads of cool posters too, I could have happily taken one of eveything if I had the capitol. If I ever were to get a tattoo it’d be something like this or a vintage style sailor tattoo, which are really coming back right now (or for the last three or so years I think).

I feel that what gives tattoos the the crappy stigma they’ve had for years; is the fact that it has been used so too often as a means of creating exclusivity within elitist groups, expressing and flaunting something offensive or immoderate, an attempt at creating an intimidating ego, or a poorly conceived/executed tribute, worship or glorification to something or someone. But those cliches are braking down and I think the increasing rise of the tattoo’s popularity is probably more to do with a much wider fashion, artistic and cultural statement that is at first glance not as shallow as the above negative motives are for inking up, and also the ‘community’ if you will is more welcoming than ever in my view.

I think this can be reflected in the increase of press and journalism covering the topic these days, which I feel is something positive and meritable to the cause; thus I introduce this pretty cool obscure DIY ‘Zine/Paper I picked up at NBAF 2010, called ‘Swallows n Daggers’ (Issue 3).

Swallows and Daggers 1

Swallows and Daggers 2

Swallows and Daggers 3

Swallows and Daggers 4

Swallows and Daggers 5

Swallows and Daggers 6

It’s a pretty cool little publication actually and worth a flip through, and be sure to check the website of theirs too…

Well thats pretty much a wrap on this one, what I saw there was pretty cool and very interesting on many levels; and considering how I have always felt tattoos aren’t for me and that I don’t want to join the club anyway, I think I left feeling a little more enlightened, though with my cynicism mostly intact. If tattoos for your own sake don’t do it for you, if your an appreciator of the arts one would have enjoyed this event anyway owing to the variety of body-mod related stuff on offer and general spectacle overall.

Main regrets I ‘spose are not taking my camera to snap the more unusual stuff that I couldn’t otherwise buy and so forth, and also missing Sunday meant also missing the retro burlesque dancers that are the ‘Hot Boppin’ Girls’ (damn). Very good event on the whole…


As usual thank you for reading and keep coming back for more, and check the links below:

http://www.norwichbodyartfestival.co.uk/about.html

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk

http://www.vinceray.com/

http://www.swallowsndaggers.net/

http://www.hotboppingirls.com/

http://www.toxico.co.uk/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtOytQdShmQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hcMYhAwrqw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v27AK8xXreQ

Books that aren’t exactly new…

August 9, 2010

This is my second old books blog, this time featuring only 2 titles. Both of these books were bought at the wonderful JRR Tolkien Bookshop in Norwich, which is something of a cluttered treasure chest for nice old book covers. I have no intention of reading these books as I did after all judge them on their covers and nothing else. I feel that at some point soon I should actually bother to read some of these curiosities, but to be honest reading kind of feels like a chore; unless there are pictures, hence I find decent adult minded comic books to be more intriguing than big hunks of words and so forth (in school they should actually teach people how to enjoy and appreciate reading as well, I think).

Victorian People

Anyway this book above is the possibly riveting read that is ‘Victorian People’ by Asa Briggs; published by Pelican/Penguin circa 1955, and I have no idea what it cost back then in Pounds & Pence owing to some reseller neatly hatching out the small square where the UK price once lived on the back cover (why?…) Aside from that minor blemish caused by the hands of not so subtle or necessary censorship, it’s in pretty good condition and the design is rather interesting and a credit to the design legacy of the publisher and imprint. I thinks its a nice cover as it blends in quite a few images together in a collage of photo, type, graphic and illustration that quaintly captures the essence of that period.

As well as having a fairly nifty front cover there’s some rather nice typesetting inside too…

Victorian People - Type

Not that its anything really out of the ordinary, I just found it to be quite nice to look at and flip through. So overall it’s a pretty nifty looking book that has some cool colour and image compositions that to me expresses Victoriana in quite an intriguing modernist way and as always, I love Pelican/Penguin’s beautiful knack for serialising it’s releases with a standard titling format and grid/typographic composition.

Next up is this odd song book that I found, which is a real throwback to the real old school era of typesetting, and is quite possibly from the Victorian age owing to the front page design looking much like the typical style of a job printer; thus the whole thing is split into 6 rows with lots of casual ornamentations added, elaborately decorated titling caps, various weights of rules and classic serif typography too. The whole book has so many different styles of Victorian typography that are seldom composed in harmony, but like many retrospective onlookers this is appealing, because it is somewhat inadequate for its purpose, yet beautiful for sparring no extra exquisite detail. All the same though this book has a real sense of character and presence thats hard to defeat or unappreciated.

As you can see it is somewhat clustered with ornaments, typographic flourishes and such, which is part of it’s charm really . This really does represent a totally different era of design and typography and it’s a pretty cool thing to have, and I’m glad I bought it as it is more than worth its small cost. Quite a curio indeed…

Thats basically it for this entry; all I can say is that I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the niftyness that is contained herein this blog, and as usual keep coming back as I am keeping this blog up-to -date-ish with all manner of stuff…

Exposed: when pop was dangerous

August 2, 2010

60s exposed

This article is a piece in acknowledgement of the dual exhibition at the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery; Beatles To Bowie: the 60’s exposed & Bridget Riley: Flashback, running from 5th June 2010 to 5th September 2010, which I have recently visited. For me the venue is kind of unlikely for such a radical and interesting exhibition, that I must say is very well curated indeed and well worth the time to look at. Normally the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery is a stuffy old place that plays host to the usual crowd of school trippers wanting to learn of Boudicca and the Iceni tribes (and eventually the miserable defeat at the hands of the Romans), and also there is the musty old taxidermy displays featuring all manner of eery deceased novelties.

However I am guessing that these two more engaging and intriguing exhibitions can be attributed to the newly axed MLA quango, which shall be surely missed by the Museums and Arts communities alike I should imagine (a sign of dark times ahead I’m afraid).

First of all; Beatles to Bowie was a brilliant exhibition of the iconic Rock and Pop music personalities photography of the 1960’s, which took the profession of photographer away from it’s nerdy image to possibly the second coolest job in the world after being a rockstar (hence Austin Powers dabbles in photography). It was truly brilliant and to be honest the bulk of what I gazed upon was pretty much new to me, as I have only experienced the 60’s through the vast array of documentaries I have seen. For me what was most fascinating was the cabinets of ephemera they had to hand as well, featuring the many music and youth magazines of the time such as Mersey Beat, Fabulous, Rave and New Musical Express (now NME obviously), vinyls, newspapers and other cool stuff.

Merseybeat

(Source: Wikipedia)

Melody Maker

(Source: Wikipedia)

Helen Shapiro

Helen Shapiro (Source: Amazon)

Off course also there were the fantastic photographs, and in larger than life size print those images were all the more powerful and wonderful to look upon. Like many people I spend most of my time seeing photos in books, magazines and on the internet so seeing them in their rightful full-sized glory was quite stunning. I can safely say that based on my impression of all the great and iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll photography featured in this exhibition that the 1960’s were truly a golden age for the art and medium, as so much of our cultural history was beautifully recorded and it’s spirit captured by it so very well.

Colin Jones, The Who (1966).

Colin Jones, The Who (1966). (Source: http://www.mooks.com/report/2010/01/4885/)

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger “Fur Hood” by David Bailey (Source: http://www.artnet.com)

Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull, The Salisbury Pub, London (1964) by Gered Mankowitz (Source: BBC)

In all fairness on this blog I can only really offer up a small taste of what was actually there, because a lot of the originals aren’t so well documented on the internet, and it just looks so much better there at the exhibition anyway. In short this is a great exhibition well worth going to, especially if you don’t know a lot about photography or if your a designer who’s grown sick and weary of the day-to-day stock photography yawn supplies this world is infested with. It’s also worth a look too, because its more than just a photography exhibit, it is also an ephemera exhibit too, which made the experience for me all the more satisfying and interesting overall.


Exposed… | SUB-BLOG: Flashback

Bridget Riley is definately someone I had not heard of until I saw this exhibition at the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery that was tag-teamed with Beatles to Bowie. Flashback is a comprehensive retrospective and collection of some of her pieces, from many periods of her career.

It is often argued by people I consider to be extremely ignorant that art isn’t worth anything or is otherwise considered unmeritable if the untrained viewers themselves could potentially create or assemble something to a similar affect of the art on exhibit. Though theoretically someone who isn’t a trained creative of sorts per say would be able to potentially create something to the affect of these works with a minimal amount of instruction, that doesn’t change or dismiss the fact that this body of work in particular is rather interesting and charming to view. I find generally at exhibitions technical expertise is seldom a thing I admire; as a lot of highly skilled pieces in the vain of most pre-modernist spectrum styles are quite often less interesting to view, even when compared to the recurrently beautiful frames they are usually held in.

All the same though Riley’s work is very engaging and cerebral; the shapes and forms are composed in strict, yet friendly grid structures with a lush colour palette thats quite vibrant and daring as some colour combinations used are theoretically uncomplimentary, but yet are always beautifully harmonious.

Please note that these photos are from the Walker Art Gallery Liverpool 2009 Flashback exhibition, which to me is evidently more or less the same as the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery version I visited. As you can see for yourself her work is truly brilliant and its worth having a visit for yourself while you still can.

Overall both exhibitions were very good and I think Norwich is in need of it’s own Tate Gallery of sorts to garner more interest for having such good exhibitions in Norwich and I feel even though the fine city lost it’s city of culture bid for 2013 to Derry, I think Norwich would be well suited to hosting an institution such as Tate somewhere like the Castle Museum (provided there was a re-brand/classification worked in there too).

That pretty much sums up this blog, the last thing I can really say is to have look at these links below too:

http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/

http://museums.norfolk.gov.uk/default.asp?Document=200.21.10.30

http://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/default.asp?document=200.21.10.31

http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/photography+%2526+film/art79311

http://www.culture24.org.uk/art/art79781

http://www.npg.org.uk:8080/beatles/exhib.htm

Snapped: a minor update of sorts…

July 29, 2010

This is going to be a short blog just to update you on a couple of things in my world and so forth. For 3 years people have always been fascinated over my brown leather binoculars box that I used to store my hard drive in, as its a very old box and has since fallen into a state of dire disrepair with some ad-hoc modifications to prevent total annihilation. So I felt it was necessary to photograph the old beast and add it to Flickr as an ode to 3 years of good, if a little fragile service. I’d like also to note that I bought the old dear from a used photography shop thats right next to Norwich University College of the Arts Library/Lecture Theatre building, which is well worth a visit if you want to buy some awesome obsolete cameras for a more than reasonable price.

leather box

The famous leather box of mine everyone has asked about at some point...

Also I would  like to note that added to Flickr are some photosets of the fun I’ve had with my Gameboy Camera and Gameboy Printer lately. This is a small time hobby of mine now, because I have for some time had a fascination with obsolete and impractical image production technology. The Gameboy Printer is basically a glorified receipt printer thats bespoke to printing off Gameboy Camera photos and these technologies are vintage 1998 and are a fonder memory of my awkward pre-teen years (I never had the Printer back then though, because £30 was a lot more to a 12 year old back then). God bless eBay!

Hello print

Making this was pretty fun, I truly cherish my peculiar gadgets...

To add more to that I also did a small photoshoot of my beloved clockwork toy ‘Robot Lilliput’ and have scanned in the prints to a fairly okay avail, though I shall definitely need a more long term means of getting them onto the computer later as the rolls of paper won’t last forever. As far as I am aware thus far I need about 3 different cables to attached a Gameboy to some kind of computer and set up the right software to transfer them over, hopefully I’ll manage it at some point…

Robot Lilliput

'Robot Lilliput' itself...

Well thats pretty much it for now, I have other blogs in the pipeline so stick around as I shall hopefully get to those quite promptly, and also make sure you get over to my Flickr photostream sometime soon to see all the ‘glory’ of my various designy brica-braca and stuff. As always thank you very much for reading…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/armstrong_gcd/