Friday, 26 February 2016

Flying Scotsman runs again

Looking at the Flying Scotsman running again after a decade-long £4.2 refit, I couldn't help remembering the Flying Scotchman nib by Scottish nib manufacturers Macniven & Cameron, a nib promising to run on paper like the engineering marvel on rails.

Wish you were on it?

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Lazarus writing: David Bowie and the fountain pen

What remains unwritten at the hour of our death? A frail David Bowie voice cracking, eyes bandaged, shaking, singing "I've got nothing left to lose / I'll be free / Just like that bluebird/ Oh, I'll be free" seems to surrender himself to death but yet he doesn't. There is no peace in the dimly lit room with the coffin-like wardrobe; the face with its button-eyes is anguished, the guitar sounds distorted; Bowie, the shrouded, tortured figure in bed, gets up and dances his old dance moves bathed in the light coming from the hospital window. His face is the distorted face of the dying, a mask of fear and yet he does not surrender. Something has been left unwritten. 

He sits at the table and grasps a fountain pen. Things have been left unwritten. There are still things to be said, things to be created and yet so little time. He writes frantically on paper - what has been left unsaid? what needs to be said? oh, there is no time - the pen marking the paper, the pen marking the table, the face anxious, the time running out.

The scarred body cannot surrender to the crevices of the bed and the creases of the blankets, it cannot go quietly into the night; it still needs to leave its mark, to write its presence, to dance its last dance. 

David Bowie - Lazarus

Thursday, 4 February 2016

EH Shepard's Pencil Case

EH Shepard's pencil case exhibited in the House of Illustration, London, January 2016

E.H. Shepard is known for his Winnie the Pooh illustrations which to his regret overshadowed in the end the rest of his work. He came to resent Pooh ("that silly old bear") seeing that the illustrations which were for him a sideline became his trademark so to speak. Shepard did political cartoons for Punch magazine and during the First World War he served in France, Belgium and Italy carrying his pencil case wherever he went and drawing sketches from life in the front. The exhibition in the House of Illustration (London) includes over a hundred of original sketches and drawings from the artist's pocket books and correspondence. They are quite a world apart from whimsical Pooh bear. However, it was Pooh who won the hearts of the public.

Pencil case and paint box of EH Shepard in the House of Illustration exhibition "EH Shepard An Illustrator's War". Shepard's son from whose teddy bear, Growler, he had drawn inspiration for Pooh, lost his life in the Atlantic during WWII.