Unwrap a Retro Birthday

Greetings cards may losing the battle against e-cards, texts and FaceBook messages, but a gift that comes packaged in classy wrapping paper is still worth a thousand words. In the case of the sample shown above, it's definitely worth a lot more than the £1.25 I paid in a branch of Paperchase yesterday afternoon. That's... Continue Reading →

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Art in Your Pocket

I love apps like Pinterest and ArtStack that allow you to collect, curate and share your favourite images with fellow enthusiasts. But for those (increasingly rare) moments when you're not within reach of a wi-fi signal, nothing beats the old-fashioned pleasure of ink on paper. That's why I still value my small selection of volumes... Continue Reading →

Goodbye, Columbus

Take one smart but not conventionally handsome Jewish leading man, add one beautiful brunette, mix with a handful of wistful pop tunes, and stir to produce a glossy 1960s comedy about star-crossed love and post-graduation ennui. It sounds a bit like The Graduate (1967), but the film I'm talking about is the much-less-famous Goodbye, Columbus,... Continue Reading →

Cleopatra: Excess All Areas

I didn't watch many films this Christmas – just a handful of Hammer horrors that turned up in BBC2's graveyard slot and the DVD of Despicable Me 2, which my nephew had on heavy rotation throughout the festivities. Then there was a repeat of the BBC4 documentary, Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood, which was... Continue Reading →

Gwyneth Mamlok’s Candy Books

Illustrated children's fiction from the 1960s is so popular now that I was surprised to find that Gwyneth Mamlok's Candy series is still languishing in obscurity. I have Googled in vain for biographical information about the author and illustrator of the six Candy titles that were published in the mid-60s by Thomas Nelson and Sons.... Continue Reading →

Ladybird Books: Small & Perfectly Formed

Picture this heart-warming scene from Christmas past: wholesome, apple-cheeked kids, waking in their cosy suburban homes to find stockings packed with the latest Ladybird books. Little Susie just can't get enough of "Well-Loved Tales" like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, but that creepy dwarf on the front of Rumpelstiltskin gives her nightmares. Brother Johnnie enjoys a... Continue Reading →

This is Edinburgh

Colourful, informative, humorous and cosmopolitan, the work of Miroslav Sasek is all over the internet these days. The Czech author and illustrator died in 1980, but thanks to a series of reprints from Universe Publishing, many of his popular "This is . . ." titles no longer languish in obscurity. If, like me, you follow... Continue Reading →

Topsy and Tim

Topsy and Tim have been back in the news again this month. The rosy-cheeked twins, who were created by Jean and Gareth Adamson, made their debut in print in 1960 and have survived five decades of makeovers, reformatting and changes in publisher. Now these children of the 60s have been relaunched as a live-action series... Continue Reading →

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