Thursday, 23 December 2010

Back to the Seventies Once Again

Let`s get into our time machine and go back to the `70s once again !

Yes, it was a groovy time to be young and fab in London`s West End, particularly if you happened to work for Purnell, who you may recall brought us Top Pop Scene (this blog, 16 December 2010).

Rather less long-lived was sister publication Girl ! Girl ! Girl ! , which brought it`s young readership "Fabulous Features on Fashion, Pop Stars, Astrology, Boutiques, Beauty and Boys" plus much, much more.

As with Top Pop Scene, one detects a slight Reithian streak, a determination that it`s young readers should be encouraged to be more culturally adventurous, however much they themselves may have wanted to immerse themselves in a world of fickle fashion.

Thus, while our budding `70s girls are asked to address themselves to a number of semi-rhetorical questions ("So You Want to be Model ?" ,  "Are you Ready to go Steady ?") and to respond in some way to a variety of exhortations characterised by the over-use of exclamation marks ("Boys ! Boys ! Boys !", "Swing into Style !", "It`s Fun to Run a Party !"), they are also advised to consider the musical accomplishments of Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull`s Ian Anderson and others. Perhaps the publishers took themselves a bit seriously, but it`s quite endearing really.

I was not female in the `70s, or at any other time, so the finer points of this splendid seventies publication may be lost on me, but it  does make a fascinating period piece. I would be  interested to know whether the Derek Long who contributed two short stories to this august publication is the freelance writer who wrote `The Mystery of the Italian Ruins` for Amalgamated / Fleetway some years earlier, though I suppose it`s unlikely.

As far as I know, this was the first Girl ! Girl ! Girl ! annual. Others appeared for a few years and after that it apparently ceased to be produced. 

This peerless piece of popular culture can be found at  3770 in our listings.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Aldous Huxley - Science, Liberty and Peace - Chatto and Windus - 1947 (First Edition)

In the aftermath of World War Two, many of the assumptions made by people in the western world at the time had taken a knock.

Prior to the war, there had been a belief, fairly widespread, in the civilising value of culture. As the atrocities committed by the Nazis, many of their leaders highly cultured men, came to the public`s attention, that belief was no longer viable.

At the same time, while the Allied forces had (eventually) brought  Russian communism into an alliance with the capitalist UK and USA in a common fight against fascism, few were persuaded to embrace the Communist cause and only a handful of Communists were ever elected to the UK Parliament.

Many prominent thinkers of the time were moved to put pen to paper as they considered the implications of the situation. Among them were three of the Huxleys ; Julian, T H and Aldous. Aldous` contribution came in the form of this book, Science, Liberty and Peace. 

Aldous is probably best known as a novelist and writer of short stories and screenplays, but in fact he wrote widely in a number of different genres including non-fiction on a variety of subjects. Science, Liberty and Peace may sound on the face of it like some sort of `30s Marxist tract, but in fact it advocates a political philosophy of decentralisation as a `third way` avoiding the pitfalls of monopoly power of whatever sort.

Huxley`s interest in Eastern philosophies, his advocacy of psychedelic drug use and his tendency to collect `-ists and -isms` (at various times he embraced humanism, pacifism, Hinduism, mysticism, vegetarianism, parapsychology, the Alexander technique and much else) can make him seem rather an odd and anachronistic character. This book is in part influenced by an American group called the Decentralists who, perhaps sadly, seem to be largely forgotten now, but who Huxley name-checks a few times. At a time when the more progressive-minded in the UK, whether  left, right, centre or green, are looking into the implications of decentralisation, maybe his ideas are worth a second look.

This book will be at number 3761 in our listings and should appear online in a day or two. Any questions, just ask.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Original Robin Hood

3760 - John Sheffield - The Original Robin Hood - Privately Published by the Author, Nottingham, 1986

This title by John Sheffield was originally published in 1982 by Sheffield and Broad ( possibly he was the `Sheffield` in that partnership ?). This edition, which has a few minor amendments when compared to the original, was privately published by the author in 1986 and I believe was re-issued a few times thereafter.

As regards the great Notts/Yorks rivalry, Mr Sheffield is a firm believer that the character of Robin had his origins in Yorkshire, and backs this up with what appear to be impressive arguments. He is at pains to point out that these stories were part of an evolving tradition and drew on various pre-existing stories from the outset.

You may like this booklet for the author`s scholarship. You may want to read the stories. You may be a fan of folk tales, or of the Robin Hood myth. However that may be, this is an interesting and unusual booklet that would be a worthy addition to anyone`s book collection.

The book will appear in our listings at number 3760, and should show up online within a day or two.

Any questions, just ask.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Travelling Through Time With Top Pop Scene

Let`s travel back in time with Top Pop Scene annual and re-live the heady days of the `70s rock, pop and soul scene.

That era seems to have acquired a reputation for badly-dressed rock bods playing enormously long, enormously dull live sets at massive venues. I`m more of a jazz and blues buff myself, but even I know that the `70s rock and pop was actually extremely varied in style and content.

This annual rather makes the point, with articles about artists as far apart as Peter Skellern, Yes, David Cassidy, Junior Campbell, The Who, Lynsey de Paul, The Osmonds, Roxy Music, the Temptations  and Osibisa (twenty bands are featured in all). 

It is, of course, desperately retro, but nothing wrong with that.

For full details, see the description at 3759 in our listings.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

"Your Faithful Servant" - Admiral Blake and the English Civil War

We`ve already touched briefly on the English Civil War a couple of times*, but that needn`t stop us returning to the subject.

A recent addition to our stock is Your Faithful Servant, described as containing "insights into the life of the Cromwellian Navy from the letters, despatches and orders of Robert Blake, General at Sea". (The term `General at Sea` is a new one to me - did they have `Admirals on Land` ?)

The book is published by the Admiral Blake Museum at Bridgwater. The authorship is generally attributed to D J Sebborn (sometimes David Sebborn), but while his name does appear, this is not made entirely clear in the copy we have.

The English Civil War is an interesting period in history and well worth looking into. We`re happy to be able to offer two or three very affordable introductions to the subject**. As ever, use the links provided to search our stock.

* See `Colonel John Hutchinson and the Civil War in Nottingham`, Bookshelves and Brown Ale, 2 November 2010 and `George Courtauld, John Hutchinson...`, this blog 2 November 2010.

** Other items in our stock with a Civil War connection are ;

1883) Young - An Illustrated History of the Great Civil War 1642-1648 (Spurbooks)
2552) Plowden - The Women All on Fire (Sutton)
3697) Brown - A Guide to the Civil War in Nottinghamshire (Notts County Council)
3698) Unknown - The Civil War 1642-51  (Pitkin)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Ospreys of Lakeland and Loch

I believe Ospreys spend winter abroad, which just goes to show there is much we can learn from our feathered friends !

While we await their return, these two attractive and informative booklets may be of interest ; 



3712 is an RSPB booklet - we have one or two RSPB publications in our current listings I believe - whereas 3730 is published by the author`s own company, P3 Publications.

For more details, use the links provided. Cheers.