Reading List

Sunday 27 June 2010

Postcardese Live


A poet friend of mine Valerie Jack asked me to read some postcard messages at a poetry shindig today. Brilliantly, Val lives in a house boat on a canal. Should be quite an afternoon.

I thought selecting the cards to read out would be a doddle. After all, I know my favourite cards.

But reading cards to an audience is quite different from presenting them on the web. Messages written in code don't work for a start. It's hard to convey the splendour of those with wonderful handwriting. And as for cards like last week's sketch of Britain, they're also out.

Instead, messages charged with emotion come to the fore.

Of the cards already on Postcardese, I'm going to read Come home at once, Bob's message from Brampton Park and the pursuit of Mrs Grover's fur tippet. I've also chosen this week's card from Percy (which is a real tear jerker isn't it?)

I'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday 20 June 2010

Postcard jigsaw

Something of a jigsaw puzzle for you this week. I've found a few of the pieces. There must be more though...

Piece #1. Our sender is quite the artist. A map of his journey, presumably.

Piece #2. Something appears to have happened in Hastings. After all, Hastings is not on the London to Liverpool line. A romantic trip away perhaps?

Piece #3. It seems Miss Warden hadn't visited Liverpool before. Would she ever be tempted by une ville "plus charmante"?

Piece #4. With a bit of a squint we can make out our sender worked near the Exchange railway station.

Piece #5. And finally, the French scribbles on the front - is our sender trying to be sophisticated or is French his mother tongue? Je ne sais pas.

Really looking forward to your comments!

PS For a better view of any of the images, click on them and hopefully you'll be able to see bigger versions. Only thinking of your eyes... we don't want you getting like Edith.

PPS If you're interested, you can receive the Postcardese newsletter by entering your email in the Subscribe box on the right.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

George - turn them over!

These things are a sort of diary upon which the English people have unconsciously recorded themselves. Their old-fashioned outlook, their graded snobberies, their mixture of bawdiness and hypocrisy, their extreme gentleness, their deeply moral attitude to life, are all mirrored there.

George Orwell, taken from England Your England, 1941
Okay you've got one guess as to what Mr Orwell was writing about! Yup postcards. But specifically, the fronts of postcards.

A truly awesome quote don't you think?

But - and I tread carefully when crossing one of postcardings founding fathers - I reckon Orwell missed a trick. The cards themselves do reveal a lot about a society's psyche. But surely there is more to be found in the messages?

Take Jim's card to Maggie. Turning over the pastel image of a Winchester horizon, you find a real treat...

I love the addition of the "to all" in Jim's message. I'm thinking his interest in Maggie's nearest and dearest was a bit of an afterthought? And isn't there something beautiful in the way he's written Maggie's name. The 'M' is just a delight.

PS By the way, some good news Postcardesers. Postcardese was named this week's Best of Web by
Culture Critic. Good work guys!

Friday 4 June 2010

Postcard poetry

W.H. Auden said that a poem is never finished, only abandoned. For our Edwardian postcarders, poems weren't abandoned... they were sent.

I've put a couple of cards up recently containing poetry. Like the card to Miss Cameron in the lead up to the 1906 general election. And then there was last week's card which formed something of a haiku:

Noon. Please. Will meet you.
Love as ever, A. E. S..
Miss Case, New Parade.

While it may not be of Auden quality, this week's message to Robert is a cracking ditty - sensible advice for "when you court a love that's new".