Wednesday 26 January 2022

Revealed (1977 - 1982)

A friend has very kindly just given me a signed copy of Revealed by Francesco Melina (HERE).
Melina was an Italian who travelled across Europe and ended up in Liverpool (he's still there) and he made friends with artists, musicians and other Liverpudlian creatives. The book is fantastic - it contains dozens of photos taken in Liverpool in the late 70's - just as Matthew Street in Liverpool was coming to life (again).

The photos brilliantly evoke their time. For me this was the backdrop to my late teen years. Many of the bands pictured in the book played at our local pub (the Bulls Head) or at Erics in Matthew Street. We saw these bands, bought their records from probe Records on Button Street, and had tea in the Armadillo tea rooms. 

Image Above: Echo and the Bunnymen at a rehearsal in Liverpool in 1980. Copyright F. Melina.


Tuesday 11 January 2022

Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research (1940 - 2020)


The Sea of Cortez

In March 1940 Ed Ricketts and John Steinbeck chartered the Western Flyer, a 75-foot purse seiner built in Tacoma in 1937, and sailed from Monterey to the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California. This unique marine environment is located between the mainland coast of Mexico and the coast of the Baja peninsula. The Sea of Cortez is one of the most ecologically diverse seas on the planet and is home to more than 5,000 described species. Ricketts and Steinbeck had an ambition   to undertake the first serious scientific study of the Sea of Cortez as an ecological whole. They aimed to emulate the voyaging style of Charles Darwin on their trip and this is reflected in the full title of the book Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research. The first portion of the book is a log written by Steinbeck, but based closely on the Verbatim Transcript that had been written by Ricketts from the contemporaneous notes he had kept during the voyage.  In addition to the narrative Ricketts had compiled an extensive phylectic catalogue describing the species that they had found, with full cross-references to the known literature on the marine fauna of the region.  The full book is about 600 pages long and was never commercially succesful. In later editions the publishers completely dropped the phylectic catalogue and the log portion was published under the title Log from the Sea of Cortez under Steinbeck’s sole authorship.


Now Arion Press has composed a new edition in celebration of the 80 years since the voyage of the Western Flyer. It has very high craft production values, and a sky-high price (HERE).  This new edition includes limited edition wood engraved prints by Richard Wagener, including a multi-colour print of the Western Flyer itself.  

Thursday 6 January 2022

Why do we love books so much? (2020)


This is one for my wishlist. Ex Libris. 100+ Books to Read and Reread By Michiko Kakutani.

In it, Kakutani critiques a long list of books that she feels are worth reading and rereading. And I guess she would know - she was formerly the chief book critic for The New York Times, and has won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. What shocked me is how few of these books I have read. 

As to why we love books so much, this is what she has to say:

These magical brick-sized objects—made of paper, ink, glue, thread, cardboard, fabric, or leather—are actually tiny time machines that can transport us back to the past to learn the lessons of history, and forward to idealized or dystopian futures. Books can transport us to distant parts of the globe and even more distant planets and universes. They give us the stories of men and women we will never meet in person, illuminate the discoveries made by great minds, and allow us access to the wisdom of earlier generations. They can teach us about astronomy, physics, botany, and chemistry; explicate the dynamics of space flight and climate change; introduce us to beliefs, ideas, and literatures different from our own. And they can whisk us off to fictional realms like Oz and Middle-earth, Narnia and Wonderland, and the place where Max becomes king of the wild things. 

Image from HERE.


Saturday 1 January 2022

HNY 2022