The Great British Dream Factory
The Strange History of Our National Imagination
Britain’s empire has gone, but popular culture is one area in which it is still a superpower. JK Rowling has sold more than 400 million books, Doctor Who is watched in almost every developed country, and James Bond is the longest-running film series in history. This entertaining, thought-provoking book explores the roots, meaning and global success of Britain’s popular culture, and asks what there is in the national imagination that has given birth to such riches.
Air Raids & Ration Books
Life on the Home Front in Wartime Britain
The government lost no time in making plans to manage the inevitable food shortages that would come with war, registering everyone in the country for ration books in September 1939, before rationing was actually introduced in January 1940. With chapters on wartime food, clothing, home life, air raids and transport, this book recalls life for ordinary Britons during the Second World War and is illustrated with hundreds of contemporary posters, coupons, advertisements, public information leaflets and photographs.
The Times Great Letters
A Century of Notable Correspondence
Siegfried Sassoon decrying ‘political errors and insincerities’ in 1917; leg-theory in cricket; John Betjeman speaking up for threatened churches; the eccentricities of quartermasters’ vocabulary and syntax; and Theresa May on the first ascent of the Matterhorn... Covering a vast range of topics with erudition, opinion and a very British wit, this anthology of over 300 letters demonstrates why The Times letters page is renowned as a forum of debate, whether the topic be the future of education or dyed kippers.
A Scene In Between
Tripping Through the Fashions of UK Indie Music 1980–1988
The British alternative pop scene of the 1980s took its fashion cues from 1960s garage rock and punk, with an anti-glam look of charity shop chic, anoraks and bowl haircuts, and distinctive indie guitar music in the form of bands such as Primal Scream, The Smiths and My Bloody Valentine. This portrait of the times comprises a collection of mostly unpublished images of the bands, gigs and fans on the minority scene.
A Roman Life
Rutilius Gallicus On Paper & In Stone
The life of Rutilius Gallicus, chief of police, poet and courtier of Emperor Domitian, can be studied through both inscription and poetry (especially in verses by Statius) and it offers an entertaining insight into Roman life generally. Slightly off-mint.
Colouring the Nation
The Turkey Red Printed Cotton Industry in Scotland c.1840–1940
Turkey Red was a 19th-century dyeing process employed by some Scottish textiles companies until 1961. This study examines the techniques used to produce the fabrics, which did not fade, the beautiful prints produced and the international markets where the designs were sold.
The Camera as Historian
Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination, 1885–1918
Elizabeth Edwards's study of the nature of photography and its role in the historical imagination focuses on the British photographic survey movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her research has uncovered 73 of these surveys and looks in detail at 17, exploring a body of work that includes images of buildings, cultural events and traditions, working life and soldiers, but which has been largely ignored by historians of photography.
The Secret Lives of Hair
As well as wigs, toupees and extensions, there are many uses for and beliefs about human hair. Indian traders call it ‘black gold’; in China a protein derived from it was once used in soy sauce; and in 1920s America there was a craze for using it to make ‘invisible’ hairnets. Anthropologist Emma Tarlo travelled the world to search out the facts and here presents the many remarkable hair-related stories she uncovered.
The Fashion of Subcultures
Social changes in the early 20th century increasingly encouraged young people to develop tastes that were different from those of their parents, and to spend money on indulging their interests. Usually aligning themselves with new movements in popular music, style tribes emerged with idiosyncratic attitudes and modes of dress. This survey of youth culture identifies over 30 styles from the flappers of the 1920s and the swing kids of the 1930s, to beatniks, hippies, goths and hipsters.
Watching the English
The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour
Convinced that there is such a thing as ‘Englishness’, the popular anthropologist Kate Fox looks beyond the ‘the ethnographic dazzle of superficial differences’ to reveal the unwritten rules that define English national identity and character. This is an updated edition of the 2004 international bestseller.
50 Years of Cult Fantasy and Science Fiction
Some television dramas reach beyond entertaining their audience, inspiring cult followings by offering visions of worlds where different rules apply and characters with superhuman qualities bring the human condition into sharper focus. This analysis of the science fiction and fantasy genre examines groundbreaking shows, from Star Trek and Blake's 7 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and features interviews with many of the shows' creators.
Fat, Gluttony and Sloth PB
Putting the current obesity epidemic in historical perspective, this study explores fatness in art, literature and the history of medicine, from the Venus of Willendorf to Monty Python’s Mr Creosote. Starting with the medical understanding of obesity, the authors discuss topics such as the history of food and drink; fat people on show; diet drugs; the deadly sins of gluttony and sloth; and how the desirable body shape has changed over time.
Psychedelia and Other Colours
The music writer Rod Chapman takes ‘the scenic route’ in his exploration of the history and cultural impact of LSD in the mid 1960s. Starting with earlier experiments with drugs by poets, painters and musicians, Chapman describes what was really going on, from Haight-Ashbury hippies to Charles Manson in the USA, and from Love Me Do to the trajectory of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones ‘from blues purist to experimentalist to crushed spirit’.
Mendelssohn, the Organ, and the Music of the Past
Constructing Historical Legacies
These twelve essays focus on the fascination shown by Mendelssohn (1809–47) with Bach’s organ music and the tradition of Palestrinian counterpoint, as well as his interest in Handel’s oratorios and the influence of Beethoven. Setting the composer within a wider cultural context, they also show how he promoted icons of the German past, such as Dürer, Gutenberg’s printing press, Luther and the Reformation, in works which would play their part in the growth of nationalism after his death.
Great American Billboards
100 Years of History by the Side of the Road
Early in the 20th century, as Americans climbed into their Model-Ts and took to the open road, American manufacturers and retailers discovered miles and miles of new advertising space, and the audaciously oversized billboard was born. For a century, billboards have recruited, congratulated, teased, sold, and seduced us, promoting everything under the sun, from hosiery to war bonds, presidential candidates to rock shows.
Sympathy for the Devil
Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967
The dynamic relationship between rock music and visual art crosses continents, generations, and cultures. Beginning with Andy Warholãs involvement with The Velvet Underground in 1967, artists have maintained a strong connection to rock. Artists such as Slater Bradley, Mike Kelley, and Raymond Pettibon have created album covers and music videos for rock bands, while rock musicians such as Bryan Ferry, John Lennon, and Peter Townsend have emerged from art schools, and punk and new wave bands such as Talking Heads and Sonic Youth have shared the same social and artistic milieu as artists including Robert Longo and Richard Prince.
A History of Conflict, Loss, Remembrance & Redemption
Long before the corn poppy became associated with remembrance of the First World War through John McCrae's poem 'In Flanders Fields', it had grown wherever ground was broken by conflict, cultivation or burial. The opium poppy has a different affinity with war, alleviating the suffering of its victims and inciting battles over its control. This book explores the iconic plant, its uses and associations from the remedies of the Ancient Egyptians to the narcotics trade in present-day Afghanistan.
The Captain's Concubine
Love, Honor, and Violence in Renaissance Tuscany
In March 1578 cavalier Fabrizio Bracciolini alleged that he had been beaten up in a street in Pistoia by Mariotto Cellesi and four accomplices. At the trial that followed it emerged that Fabrizio was the lover of Mariotto's father's concubine. This dramatic history brings this long-forgotten incident to life, probing contemporary notions of honour, family and religion. Peopled by a rich cast of patricians, merchants, shopkeepers, weavers, priests and prostitutes, it presents a cross-section of society in Renaissance Italy.
Nations are often regarded as fixed, natural entities, but most nation states have been consciously created in recent centuries, and France is no exception. Divided into three sections covering French history, experience and identity, this study examines the way that revolution, social conflict, war, occupation and resistance, colonialism and decolonization, religion, gender and popular culture have all shaped the evolution and reinvention of France to create the country we know today.
50 Stories About 50 Things
Spanning five millennia of artefacts, from chopsticks (c.3000 BCE) to Facebook, Grace Lees-Maffei presents 50 stories in five sections, each one arranged chronologically and including a great diversity of design. The first section covers objects in urban space ranging from the Eiffel Tower to Dubai's Palm Islands, but also includes mobility scooters and Concorde. The other themes are ideas and imagination on page and screen; objects in the workplace; domestic designs; and things we wear or carry with us.