Alain Robbe-Grillet
Ann Quin novel
Philippe Sollers novel
Robert Pinget novel
Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millenium, 1st edition dust jacket
As the adult incarnation of the archetypal nerdy kid, I've always enjoyed reading. Conversely, Edward didn't really read a book until sometime in his mid-teens. These days we seldom make it to the end of an email, baby food recipe, or some review for anti-wrinkle cream. It's hard to imagine we ever expressed an opinion on the future of the novel.

I recently took a pile of experimental 'ideas' novels along to the charity shop, though not before photographing their exceptional dust jackets. All bearing a kind of stylistic date-stamp, the first cover, Project for a Revolution in New York, is an excellent graphic example of ASCII.

Six Memos for the Next Millenium, Italo Calvino, title page

Six Memos for the Next Millennium differs in that it's not a novel, but comes highly recommended by hordes of those-in-the-know. All I remember is some mythological account of the creation of coral. (While Ovid's Perseus rests,  petrifying blood from the severed Medusa's head spills onto seaweed.) And why it sticks in my mind, I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's the arbitrary genesis of a strange and delicate beauty from such noxious horror, or just the idea of sleeping soundly by the shore.


Congratulations to our neighbours who, after yonks of cohabitation, sooo got hitched last weekend. I found this cute-but-kitsch bit of wedding ephemera in lieu of a card and got to wondering why chimney sweeps spelled such good luck for happy couples. I figured they might form some kind of symbolic repository for filth, a way of keeping the nuptials pure-as-driven-snow. Turns out it's some dreary tale about George III and a bolting horse.

Next time I'll just make it up.


Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

Monochrome cat/kilim card with black wooden candle sticks and an antique ink well

Thank you card with 80s striped ceramics and green Polish egg cup

If you've been here before, you may have noticed how I enjoy making odd little scenes to photograph a new design. I recently denied myself this minor pleasure by getting a whole load of cards printed elsewhere. This means the new styles don't arrive in bloggable dribs'n'drabs, but all at once in ink-stinky boxes of 500. Here's three from the latest delivery.

Hackney carraige card with Design Council Street Furniture catalogue 1979 and pot of indian ink


Bee Reprieve

Vintage Judy Hawes children's book illustrated by Aliki Brandenberg

Vintage Judy Hawes children's book illustrated by Aliki Brandenberg

The hive is a buzz with good news as the EU ban the use of pesticides believed to be behind the decline of apian populations. The first time I've ever signed an online petition!

Vintage Judy Hawes children's book illustrated by Aliki Brandenberg

• Bees and Beelines, Judy Hawes/Aliki Brandenberg, 1964 (this edition: Adam & Charles Black, 1969). Found here.


Seeing Things

I've been lucky enough to see some wonderful paintings recently. First up was Alice Neel and Carel Weight from the Towner's current display of portraits in Eastbourne and, last week, the Mamma Anderson show at Stephen Friedman Gallery. There were three or four I thought exceptional but this was my favourite, it's as though Luc Tuymans painted a John Bratby still life.

• Mamma Andersson, Humdrum Day, Oil on Panel


striped mirror clip frame with black and white photo
There's a great Grahame Greene short story, The Innocent (1937), whose narrator visits his childhood town and becomes intoxicated by memories of first-love. He finds the worn out knot of a fence where he once posted a declaration and, to his surprise, the undelivered note still nestles inside. Only, there's no poem on the scrap of paper, or even awkward prose, just a brutally smutty anatomical drawing, an inarticulate outline of amorous intent.

striped mirror clip frame with black and white photo

Time does have this way of saccharine-sprinkling our memories; I wince at mawkish moments of self-expression in colourful old correspondence or get a shock when some photo proves my favourite top was a little too small... and maybe not such a great colour after all.

Something similar happened coming across these two pics from the mid-90s in box mis-labelled Record Deck. Edward says he'd swear his hair was more James Dean and less Jamie Oliver, while I'd all-but-forgotten I'd ever had my nose pierced!

Seriously good mirror frames though, eh?