I’m not a great fan of stamps and would never consider collecting them, but I found this description fascinating. I never realised that there were special stamps for Antarctica. The pictures are very evocative – in some ways more so than straightforward photos.
Delivery by Design: Stamps in Antarctica, opening at The Polar Museum on Thursday 12 June 2014, will explore the history of stamps used in the British Antarctic Territory, Antarctica. A recent gift of stamps, printing proofs and original artworks made by Crown Agents Limited, with the assistance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Scott Polar Research Institute will accompany its already exemplary collection of stamps from the Polar Regions.
On display will be stamps, artworks and printing proofs that highlight Antarctic flora and fauna, depicting unique images of penguins and huskies; others commemorate many of the British expeditions that have undertaken Antarctic exploration to further science, detailing ships ploughing through ice and planes flying over frozen sea.
The British Antarctic Territory, the region where the exhibition’s stamps are from, includes all the lands and islands in a wedge extending from the South Pole to 60° S latitude…
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Also announced yesterday was the lower-key but still important HWA Debut Crown shortlist. The Historical Writers Association has decided that they too should have a range of awards similar to those given by the Crime Writers Association (CWA).
As a reader I also wonder if all the hype and publicity skews what I read. While wandering round a bookshop I’m likely to pick up books I’ve heard of, even if I can’t recall why they seem familiar.
Does winning a prize affect a book’s long term sales? Or does it fade from popularity as fast as it would without the prize?
We seem to live in a world of awards and competitions. Is this a good thing? bad? totally irrelevant?
Aren’t they still needed? Can one write a historical novel without frigorific or charabanc? And how about the poets? Michael Symmons Roberts recently won the Costa Prize with a book called Drysalter, another threatened word.
I wonder sometimes how this rationalisation is managed. Perhaps the dictionary editors call the words into the office, one at a time, and tell them quietly, with overtones of regret, that they are no longer needed. Redundant! Having experienced the shock of the ‘we don’t need you’ moment, I can sympathise with those lackadaying words.
What sort of payout do they get? I’m not sure what the current requirement is, but if it’s a week’s pay for every year of work, then after a few centuries jargogle is going to get a good whack.
Does he have a leaving do? Or does he rush home and invest his money becoming self-employed, with an ad in Yellow Pages? Later he’ll send out flyers to historians and poets offering his services as a scene setter or a new rhyme. He’ll mention his hourly rate:
Anent this bargain price; ’tis discounted if you twattle me on Twitter.
Cover art from Goodreads.
The BBC website today has an article about the Protestant cemetery in Rome. Among the numerous rich and/or famous people buried there is John Keats, who died at twenty-five.
It is so sad that he didn’t live long enough to know how popular his work would become and how his genius would be appreciated. He felt he was leaving no mark on the world.
Never one to deny what he saw as truth, he asked for this epitaph on his gravestone:
Here lies one whose name was writ in water.
Reading that made me wonder how we could describe those of us who write electronically. ‘On water’ doesn’t quite cover it; ‘on ether’ is a bit fanciful.
I do sometimes wonder what will happen to the billions of words written daily in websites, blogs, social media and others. Will they withstand any test of time? Does material stored on a hard disk slowly fade, first to a stuttery whisper and finally to a white hiss? Will the future be saddled with inaccessible diaries and letters on unreadable DVDs? If so how will future biographers manage?
Now that some of the material has taken to radio waves I picture it floating around the world and out into space to eventually saturate the galaxy with the thoughts of people who will be millenia dead by that time. Will future historians leap into faster-than-light spaceships and pursue the words of the famous across interstellar emptiness?
Keats’ works have proved durable, but part of that is that they were committed to paper.
Public domain picture from Wikicommons.
An interesting literary festival in a lovely setting. I’d never heard of either the village or the festival before stumbling onto this blog. It just shows what can be found if one looks around.
The writer in residence idea pops up in very varied places. I’ve just come across one for ‘residence’ on a train.
The US rail company Amtrak has begun a writers-in-residency programme, offering free or low cost trips for those wanting to use the unique environment created by a train journey to help get inspired. (Quoted from BBC report.)
Although I often travel by train and enjoyed it, I’ve never tried writing on one. After listening to Ms Crouch’s description of her experience, I might just try it.
Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.
There is a lot in this quote to mull over, but I particularly like the idea of discourse between friends being sweet and gracious. She really had a gift for description.
I did a quick google on ‘centenary’ to see if any literary people of note came up. First time around almost everything was past its sell-by – mostly to do with last year, but some older than that.
I feel a rant coming on!
Why don’t site owners take down out of date stuff?
Nuff said. I tried again with 2014 in the search box.
This time I got a huge number of hits for the start of the First World War. One of them even had ‘celebrations’ in its title. Ugh! Who celebrates war?
It looks as if any other person or thing with a centenary this year is going to have to work hard to get noticed in all the war stuff. One I know about is Dylan Thomas, but I’ll be blogging about him in a later post when I’ve done enough research to sort of do him justice.
Among all the war hits there were a couple of golf ones: Hockley Golf Club and The British Golf Collectors Society. So I went in search of golf poetry. There’s quite a bit of it but most is definitely unserious.
One Gabe Anderson wrote this little gem which is one of the best summaries I’ve seen of anything:
Golf is a great sport
Driver hybrid wedge putter
From tee box to green