Thursday, 19 January 2017

Scrapbook Scrap No 1

I've been keeping scrapbooks for over forty years now. (Takes out onion and violin.) Seven large volumes where I've taken no account that they get even larger when you've thickened them to twice the size with paper and cardboard. Anyway, here's the collage I did for the cover of the first one, the first entries being glued-in on the kitchen table of a Rutland farmhouse in 1976. Everything that appealed to me went in. Dog food labels, pictures of girls from Nova and Sunday Times Magazines, quaint parking tickets, postcards, photographs that never got stuck in an album. They have become a vital resource in sparking ideas, inflaming inspiration, or simply as curious entertainments. So I thought I'd start an occasional series on the blog where I'll choose an item that I can go on about.
Here's the first, probably found in a pocket two years after its expiry. Remarkable for the fact that it's handwritten in ballpoint and, of course, for that wondrous price for a month's travel. It brings to mind dusty carriage compartments, (either unheated or tropically hot), blokes doing The Times crossword, (getting cross because I'd sit there pretending to do it in two minutes so that I could throw the paper up onto the luggage rack seemingly completed. When in fact I'd written any old thing down just to wind them up), and girls who'd gently wake me up at St.Pancras.
    One morning I was late for the train and I had to drive to Market Harborough like an idiot in a borrowed Morris Minor. At one point my country road ran alongside the railway embankment, and I looked up to see my train approaching the station. I repeatedly sounded the horn, which was answered by a 'bar-bop' from the locomotive. I slewed onto the car park and ran up to the station, probably leaving the engine running. The train driver shouted down from his cab "Hurry up!" and racing up the platform stairs I found the guard holding a door open for me. Phew. Now you really won't see that anymore.

6 comments:

The History Anorak said...

I always ended up using my tickets as book marks. I still find them occasionally in an old book.

Peter Ashley said...

Indeed, tickets are often pressed into an after life here too. And of course there's the pleasure of opening a secondhand book to find someone else's page marker. My copy of Richard Wyndham's South Eastern Survey contained a local and contemporary bus ticket.

Stephen Barker said...

I have been keeping scrapbooks off and on for about 35 to 40 years. Mine are mostly items from newspapers and colour supplements. The early ones are pretentious in that the cutting is carefully pasted on the page for artistic effect. As time went by the numbe of cuttings increased so they pasted in to take maximum use of the space availiable. Every now and then I do go through them to refresh my memory.

I have also collected a few old scrapbooks, some from the nineteenth century with coloured litho scraps and christmas cards in them. The most interesting one is from the early 1950's. It is a thick accounts ledger used for sticking in the scraps. These include the dust jackets of books, adverts for flights on BEA, Lemon Hart rum adverts drawn by Ronald Searle, pieces from the Radio Times, tickets to art shows including Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon and other pieces. I think it may have been done by someone who worked in publishing. It is curious to go through it as the tastes of the person who compiled it are close to my own.

PS. Tate and Lyle have bought out a new design on the Golden Syrup tin for Pancake Day. Another tin for the collection.

Sue Imgrund said...

Looking forward to seeing more of your scrappy bits and pieces, as it were.

What I always find difficult is what to hang onto and what to ditch when it comes to ephemera. My current tactic is to throw all the interesting bits of paper into a big trunk, which I'll sort out on some rainy day in the future. But somehow the more interesting things are always the stuff you didn't mean to keep, such as the old newspaper that something happens to be wrapped up in.

Jon Dudley said...

How I wish, rather like the discipline of a diary, I'd 'kept' scrapbooks. Diaries, often attempted, rarely progressed into February and scrapbooks exist only in the imagination, although potential contents occasionally turn up in ancient envelopes in the attic. Hats off to you Mr.A for being custodian of this folk art (that's what it is, isn't it?). As for a train waiting for me to park the car...the sight of a train here in 'Southern' land would be a novelty...

Peter Ashley said...

Stephen: Your scrapbooks sound amazing. Lemon Hart Rum? Immediately I'm back in a dentist's waiting room looking at copies of Punch. Must see.

Sue: Whole days can be very usefully taken up in perusing something you weren't looking for. Like the newspaper you lay out to clean your shoes containing the most interesting stories.

Jon: I'd never thought of it as being a folk art but it is isn't it? Not to be confused, though, with 'scrapbooking' which people do these days which should be 'collaging' I suppose. Hope a Southern train turns up soon for you. Not like the old Southern Railway eh?