Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Down with Skool!


Down With Skool! (1953) - first in the Molesworth series, by the great Geoffrey Willans and the very great Ronald Searle.

Very tempting to scan every single one of Searle's drawings. Will be visiting the other three books in the series in due course.

Clues in the end pages of this paperback about forthcoming books due April 1972 suggest I read the series in 1971 or thereabouts, aged eight or nine.  The world described by Nigel Molesworth, purported author of these tell-all guides to surviving boarding school, would have been recognisable to me as a day boy attending a minor prep school.  Blotting paper and ink-stained fingers, corporal punishment (not canes at my school,  but a gym shoe), doing lines, the tuck shop, virtually inedible school dinners, the typology of masters, the typology of pupils (swots, cissies, etc), the kind of rousing, virtue-encouraging things headmasters would say, paper darts (just one of several crazes that would spread throughout the school, rage for a few weeks, and then expire just like that).... It was all pretty intact still, really not changed much from the just-after World War Two world described by Nigel M.

That's why things like the St Trinians films were both enjoyable and relatable. And why if....  - if you were allowed to stay up late enough to see it on BBC2 -  felt intoxicatingly subversive.

Only a few things in Molesworth had become trapped-in-time period details, e.g. references to a New Elizabethan era, a notion then in the air on account of the young E II's coronation.

At my school the desks still had holes where the ink wells had not so long ago been. It was still blackboards and chalk - and as a result a classroom would have a faint misty quality from motes of dust in the air catching light through the big windows. In a few years time we would all be given slide rules.  I can remember calculators arriving in the mid-Seventies and then towards the end of the decade, the blackboards switching to the white, wipe-clean kind for marker pen use.

I wonder if a UK schoolkid today could relate to anything in these Molesworth books? I know they would mean absolutely zilch to my kids, educated in the American equivalent to state schools, with a progressive slant.

I tried explaining to my daughter what a fountain pen was the other day, and blotting paper.  I might as well as have been describing a traction engine.

Monday, 23 October 2017


Schuttle - Meed Trope (Panatype)
My Disco - 1991 (Lustmord remix) (Downwards)
Roberto Musci - The Way of Discreet Zen (Music From Memory)
In The Nursery - Archaic Torso (Wax Trax!)
LCC - lb (Editions Mego)
Nokuit - Patterns of Instability I (Forthcoming NKT)
Hecate & Kareem - Twist (Zhark Recordings)
Schwadron - Mistral (Greyland)
Roly Porter - Departure Stage (Tri Angle)
Vangelis - Dawn (EastWest)
Unknown - Shamanic Music (?)
Invisible Church - Non (Not On Label)
Chris Marker - La Jetée (Superior Viaduct)
Ward Phillips - Fertile Fields (VP 231)
Christoph de Babalon - Opium (DHR)
Thomas Bangalter - Rectum (Roulé)
Aglaia Is Always Wrong - I Mavri Laterza (Moremars)
Asher Levitas - Withdrawn (Planet Mu)
The Tapes - The Wait (Ecstatic)
Louis & Bebe Barron - Love At The Swimming Hole (Poppydisc)
N1L - Clockroach (Where To Now?)
Biosphere - Whole Forests Of Them Appearing (Smalltown Supersound)
Black To Comm - Spiralen Der Erinnerung (Type)

A Box of Delights. A Box of Basic Design Slides

A while back I had the good fortune to come across a wonderful box of Slides, these slides were produced by Focal Point and were called Basic Design Slides. In the box were a total of 168 slides. The best way to describe these slides would be that they are very similar to the images/shapes/graphics in Kurt Rowlands Looking and Seeing series of books (Pattern and Shape, The Shapes we Need, The Development of Shape and The Shape of Towns) I passed these on to my friend Mr Stevens, who very kindly scanned the whole lot. They are really very good, and to be honest I will probably use them at a later date. But until then, here is a very small selection.