Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Unexpected Alphabets No 5


There I was, enjoying a spectacularly good party on Sunday night in a Leicestershire village, and, just as I'm getting stuck into another green bottle, my very attractive host crooks her finger at me and says "Come on, there's something I think you'll find interesting up here". Never one to shirk my responsibilities I eagerly steered through the throng towards a dark alleyway that runs through between the house and next door.

The current thinking is that this was the old village police station, and the alleyway is certainly wide enough to park a Black Maria or a chrome-belled Wolseley. So the walls were the obvious place to stick up notices, wanted posters and the like. Being enclosed and out of the rain the continuous bill-sticking, layer upon layer, has survived in tantalising fragments. One date proclaims the tenth of February in a disappointingly missing year, but the Act of Parliament quoted on the poster ordering the restriction of livestock movement during an outbreak of swine fever is dated 1908. So these posters have gone up on this wall, one after the other, at least since then and the late 40s I should think. Old brick, lovely wooden type, and a glass of cold flinty Chablis in the hand. And of course a pretty girl in the dark. Good day all round really.

5 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

In view of the fact that this kind of thing is known as 'printed ephemera' it's remarkable, and rather touching, how it manages to hang on.

Jon Dudley said...

Only you Mr A. could combine a party, some wonderful 'found' typography, a cool glass of Chablis and a tryst with a woman in a dark alley.

Neil said...

There was a group of French Pop artists in the '60s known as the affichistes whose paintings are very similar to this. There are a number hanging in the museum of modern art in Nice. The main names are François DufrĂȘne, Raymond Hains, Jacques de la VilleglĂ©, and Mimmo Rotella. A quick trawl of the internet hasn't turned up much about any of them, but the idea of frayed, decayed, and overlaid posters on a wall as a palimpsest that compresses a long time period into a single moment was certainly important to them.

Fred Fibonacci said...

Hmm. I'm sure someone's used this technique for a film-credit sequence as well (that's the old posters; not the dark alley, girl, chablis routine, that's been done to death).

Peter Ashley said...

I've got an idea that Behind the Fridge stand-up Jonathan Miller takes photographs of this kind of thing too. Well, he would wouldn't he, as the pouting Mandy Rice Davies almost said.