Archive for category Publisher: Redstone Press

Everyday Play || ed Julian Rothenstein

That’s the trouble you see. Have a bit of fun with a publisher’s playful jeu d’esprit, as I did with The Book of Emotions and they send you something else in full expectation of a similar sparkle. This stuff doesn’t write itself, you know and I toil for – ooh (never you mind) – to get the right words, all in the right order and a mood that reflects what the author was trying (sometimes successfully) to say.

Once again, this isn’t, on the face of it, a fit for what I write about it, but delve below the surface and there’s a lot about art and creativity here. It’s fair to say that neither book is entirely serious and that’s a good thing. Even creatives are allowed to enjoy themselves once in a while. I am right now, for instance. I’m drawn, for example, to the guide to How To Become An Aesthete, which turns out to be a lot harder than just channelling Fotherington Thomas (oh, Google it, for goodness sake). I also chuckled over a shopping list written on a memo sheet for Paul Zee For Senate: “Draino, Plunger, RCA cables, Peaches, Bath Tub Scrub Brush”. The fact that this was apparently found by David Shrigley, wry observer par excellence, just adds to the fun. What tale of domestic meltdown does this betoken and are the peaches part of a weird cleaning ritual or a welcome source of refreshment after doing unspeakable things to drains? And do the cables mean amplified music is a requisite? And is that to relieve the tedium or cover up noises we really shouldn’t think about? No, we shouldn’t be told; speculation is much more fun – and fun is what this book is all about.

There’s so much here. Games, including Dangerous, situated right next to Cricket (a thing my front teeth wouldn’t dispute), insults, book games. Or you might want to try living like Marcel Proust (who was habitually used, to throw buns to the bears, that live under the stairs*). You’d definitely want to dip into Alice in Wonderland, or hobnob with Myles na Gopaleen**.

I could go on, but this coffee won’t drink itself and there’s something interesting happening outside the window which, as all creatives know, absolutely has to be given your full attention. Anyway, thanks for reading, it’s been real.

* That Clerihew is © me, btw.
** AKA Flan O’Brien, aka Brian O’Nolan

Click the picture to view on Amazon

Leave a comment

The Book of Emotions || ed Edgar Gerrard Hughes

Sometimes, things arrive on my mat that I’m not expecting and I certainly didn’t expect this one. I wasn’t even quite sure who’d sent it to me, but then I noticed the name of a PR agent who knows me well. Kate, I feel seen – you knew I’d have a go at this, didn’t you?

On the face of it (pun laboriously intended), this isn’t at all a fit for a site that reviews art books, but expressions are, after all, an important part of painting people. There’s a lot here about how emotions develop and are expressed. Some of it is so much self-indulgent guff, but there’s much to enjoy – 30 questions to ask yourself about falling in love, for instance, balanced by another 19 about falling out of love. For all that I dismissed a chunk of the book just now, I think it makes a serious point by not taking itself too seriously. If you want to compile something on How To Be Self-Aware, you might choose this as a starting point. I’m beginning to like Edgar rather a lot, if nothing else because his PhD is in the politics of grief in nineteenth-century Britain, which is definitely a thing.

The reason I have it, and why I’m writing about it is the illustrations. There are artworks, graphic illustrations (the comic book one in the Love section is to die for, and she damn near is), diagrams and photographs. Charles Darwin was fascinated by the way emotions develop and are expressed, studying the faces of his children in microscopic detail (what a dad!). He includes many photographic illustrations in The Expression of The Emotions in Man And Animals and a selection of these, along with some by Duchenne de Boulogne (Mécanisme de la Physionomie Humaine, 1862) are included for our enlightenment and delectation. As well as the author’s own animadversions, there are also pieces by other writers and I particularly enjoyed After the Party by Natalie Hume, along with its full-page colour plate of the blue lobster that forms the centrepiece of the story (actually a generic blue lobster – we don’t need to be that literal).

I could go on, because this is the most enormous fun. To be serious though (I can do serious), if you draw or paint people, this has plenty of reference material that you’ll find useful. A pile of enjoyment is just a completely free bonus.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

Leave a comment

  • Archives

  • Categories