Thursday, October 22, 2009

Still More Bookmarks

I feel as if I'm in one of those James Bond films where 007 is on a treadmill and the hand of an unseen assailant suddenly turns up the speed dial. Obviously you or I would just get off, but for some reason Bond always remains in place and tries to keep up (if it's Roger Moore, a slight eyebrow movement conveys extreme distress).

I'm in the same predicament. Every day I receive an increasing number of deliveries of secondhand books and I am struggling to keep up. But on the plus side, this has resulted in the discovery of some wonderful impromptu bookmarks:

It's nice to know that some people can find these sorts of photo opportunities amusing, even when they're in their fifties.

I think it's the same man, but this time he's presenting a bouquet of flowers to a mystery woman who could be Margaret Thatcher. The costumes look flammable.

Continuing the British Prime Ministerial theme, I found this in a collection of poems by Mary Wilson (the Prime Minister's wife, not the soul singer). If Harold Wilson doesn't mean much to you, he was the Prime Minister of Britain during the Swinging Sixties and two of his most controversial decisions were awarding the MBE to the Beatles and refusing to join the Vietnam War.

This is the Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede. It's a pity that the memorial looks more like a 25th century teleportation portal, because it deserves something either grander or simpler, if that makes any sense. I like the woman's trouser suit. Without the Magna Carta, she probably wouldn't be wearing it.

This is a lovely poem about Heaven and the animals. The assertion that animals don't possess souls has been a matter of theological controversy for some time: "But when I die, I know that Tiddles will be up there waiting for me." Unfortunately, the poem's earnest message is slightly undermined by a simple typo:

On a more serious note:

I used to be the Chief Prosecutor of the Anti-Baby League. I would wince at the sound of cryinging infants and cringe at the insipid coochie coo talk of their mothers. I'd probably find this photo a bit soppy. But I've crossed the line and in addition to now being impervious to the most ear-piercing infantile screaming, I find this picture very touching.

The name Annie Besant may be familiar to some. She was a prominent campaigner for women's rights during the Victorian age and today, is perhaps best known for her role in the Matchgirls Strike of 1888. I found this signature in a book published by the Theosophical Society. I've added a link to her name, as Besant was a remarkable person.

I've no idea who this is and I'm hopeless at reading handwriting, but if anyone can decipher the name I'd love to know more.

Welcome to the discomfort zone. If you ever succumb to nostalgia for the past, just remember that this sort of thing went on. The woman looks familiar. Wasn't she Chinese a minute ago? But if the sight of people "blacking up" is beyond the pale (pun intended), it's nothing compared to this:

This comes from a 1932 edition of Hooey Magazine and next time I feel depressed about living in the 21st century, I shall look at this cartoon and remind myself of the alterative.

To continue the racism theme, here is an advert from a 1955 edition of the Daily Mail Ideal Home book:

Here's a world where white people can whizz around Africa in fast cars, occasionally condescending to stop and buy some trinkets from the locals. See? Everyone's happy. I doubt if the Daily Mail's readers were aware of the existence of the ANC or of a young man in his 30s called Nelson Mandela, who was already making a name for himself.


JRSM said...

The mystery woman seems to have the surname Whitney, but as far as I can tell doesn't seem to be any of these people:

As she seems to be an actor, I wonder if she's any of these people:


Some of the dates match up, but no confirming photos, sadly.

depesando said...

...that typo made me laugh so loud it caught the attention of the bin-men collecting bags outside my house - they gave me a very funny look.

John Self said...

Looks very like Marie Whitney to me - the r in Marie being written as a capital with a bit of messiness. Sadly I haven't been able to find any information on such a person.

John Self said...

Unless this is her:

Steerforth said...

James and John - thanks for the links. They've come up with several leads, but nothing concrete. If only I could be certain about the first name.

Richard - I'm glad you enjoyed the typo. In the original copy, she doctored the mistake with a pen, but I felt compelled to restore it to its full glory.

Harry Tournemille said...

Some of those cards are startling in their complacency--referring to the racist ones, of course.

Reminds me of when, only a year or so ago, I went on an Audrey Hepburn film binge and watched Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time. Mickey Rooney's portrayal of the Japanese neighbor upstairs was nothing short of mortifying--yet he was the comedic relief.

Steerforth said...

Yes, the "Ah-so" school of acting that goes back to the Charlie Chan movies. As you say, it's mortifying to watch.