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I’ve got a new hobby

I’ve got a new hobby: collecting old postcards of local scenery. They’re cheap and plentiful in junk shops and on eBay, especially if you buy them in lots.

The thing I love most about it is that the famous tourist spots have been done again and again, from exactly the same angle, sometimes dozens of times. And the only way you can tell the nearly identical images apart is an Edwardian hat here, a 1950s skirt there, sepia tone, hard color, a horse cart, a motorcycle. It’s like a weird time machine with an almost (but not entirely) unchanging landmark in the background and a shadowplay of fugitive humanity drifting around in front.


I’ve also decided that postcards are the path to artistic immortality on the cheap. Oh, you can’t make money on them — the scale is bad and the math is all wrong — but as long as you can sucker someone into selling them in a tourist town, they will be saved and collected forever and ever.

You know what, though? I have a suspicion this one isn’t really from 1650.

p.s. Cold, day 3. I am Ye Olde Snotte Monster. I’m taking one more day off tomorrow and then I really must pull myself together, unpleasant honking sounds or no.


Comment from Clifford Scridlow
Time: May 19, 2015, 9:34 pm

Sorry to hear that you feel poorly, but YAY! Snotlogs!!

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: May 19, 2015, 10:44 pm

Uh, streets too clean, and there weren’t any sidewalks in 1650?

Comment from mojo
Time: May 19, 2015, 10:59 pm

“Avast, Varlet! Be this Ye olde Spread Eagle Inne and Bawdy House?”

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 20, 2015, 12:25 am

Now, be honest. Does he really look like he’d be a frequenter of bawdy houses? 😉

Comment from dissent555
Time: May 20, 2015, 1:54 am

You can’t have too many hobbies when you’re retired.

I plan to test this theory out in about 5 years or so.

Comment from Nina
Time: May 20, 2015, 2:38 am

At least your hobbies are relatively cheap…mine tend to be expensive. 🙂

Comment from Man Mountain Molehill
Time: May 20, 2015, 3:18 am

What’s going on with his face? Is it a manikin, the Human Scarecrow, just a botched pre-photoshop attempt at retouching, alien in badly-designed human mask and wildly anachronistic costume, or what?

Comment from Man Mountain Molehill
Time: May 20, 2015, 3:25 am

Probably the real reason they recycle camera locations is that that’s the only angle from the site that looks sufficiently touristy, can’t see the local dung pile, 1960’s hideous concrete Labour-warren council housing, passed out lager louts, low rent pub, Ladbrokes, piles of trash and all the rest that makes modern Britain such a delight.

Comment from catnip
Time: May 20, 2015, 6:26 am

Cool. I love old postcards. Especially the ones that are hand illustrated and each is one part of a short series that tells a story.

Feel better soon!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 20, 2015, 6:43 am

None of that down here in the tourist towns of the South coast, MMM. The occasional less than beautiful building, but no real abominations within sighting distance of the attractions. The rules are very strict.

You could argue that makes the whole place a bit of a fake and a Disneyland, but I’m okay with that.

Comment from Man Mountain Molehill
Time: May 20, 2015, 8:08 am

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I loved the countryside and the more traditional villages. What’s left of it. OTH, Basingstoke (In Hampshire?), follow the exit from whichever A road I was on and one gets dumped into a huge parking structure. There might be a genuine New Town around here somewhere,maybe. Not that I could see.

Central Farnham. Just uggh. I think there might have been an Elizabethan high street here, sometime, long ago. I saw a few half-timbered remnants amoungst the concrete. It’s hard to beat the English for genuine hideousity and ugglyosity when they set their minds to it. And real beauty other times.

Comment from Simon
Time: May 20, 2015, 10:02 am

MMH – yes, we went totally, full on, looney in the 1960’s and built a load of horrible stuff while knocking down some really nice things. My theory is that it was the fault of WW2: after the war we were broke (and not in a Clinton way). By the 60’s we had started the welfare state in a smallish way and had a bit of spare cash which we wanted to splash out with. (There was also still plenty of rubble from bomb damage into the 70’s.)

Plus, of course, the left was well into the long march through the institutions.

We started knocking the worst stuff down in the 90’s, but cash is again short so we aren’t repairing much at the moment. Sad.

Comment from Stark Dickflüßiᵹ
Time: May 20, 2015, 12:59 pm

the famous tourist spots have been done again and again, from exactly the same angle, sometimes dozens of times

Animated .dzifs of the postcards at 2400dpi?!

Comment from Man Mountain Molehill
Time: May 20, 2015, 4:07 pm

It’s possible to make attractive buildings from concrete. The Crittenden locks were built around 1910. Take a look a the control building

Pure poured concrete, doesn’t look like it.

Comment from mojo
Time: May 20, 2015, 5:21 pm

The 60’s and 70’s are notorious for “industrial ugly” (aka “brutalist”) architecture, but there were some people producing really nice, modern-looking structures. You just gotta look around. And yes, they are pulling down some of the worst brutalist excesses.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: May 20, 2015, 6:33 pm

I especially like the old linen-finished and hand tinted postcards. And I love studying the various hand printing styles and typefaces. Slightly related: I buy antique postcard valentines for my granddaughter who was born on February 14. Each year I buy one that is exactly 100 years old, and has violets on it. The artwork is exquisite on these old valentines and so sweet it makes my teeth ache, but it’s fun to watch how the styles change.

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