Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Sandwich Sunday, IV

Some good stuff from this week, in not much order.

Themes: comics, exhibition curation, ‘indie’, language, publishing, design, review, reviewing.

To start with some thoughts on visiting the Photographer’s Gallery today, based around this image:

Books; Art.

I went to see the On Reading show. This image is from the When You’re a Boy exhibit about the work of Simon Foxton. Simon Foxton is one of Britain’s leading stylists. Simon Foxton is a leading image-maker of men’s fashion. Simon Foxton has anticipated and defined key shifts in menswear design since the early 1980s. Simon Foxton is streets ahead of the pack. Simon Foxton is a rare talent indeed.

I thought On Reading was ok. I liked When You’re a Boy more. There were too many people standing directly in front of the images for On Reading. There was more space at When You’re a Boy. It was easier to encounter the exhibit.

The image above has Foxton’s scrapbooks. They display his taste and interests. They are interesting. I found it a bit upsetting that the books were static. You cannot look through the books. I understand why this is the case. It is still upsetting. I was reading about artists books this week. When they are presented in galleries they were usually put in vitrines. The point about artists books is that they play with materiality and experience. Galleries violently remove this play. Some artists choose to buck this trend. Some artists put every single page of their book on the wall of the gallery.

It would be nice if we could look through Foxton’s sketchbooks. Or if the Photographer’s Gallery tried to show us more of their contents. They could make scans of the material available online. They could put together a couple of facsimiles for browsing in-situ. I think it would be good if they did something like that.

I thought about McSweeney’s and artists books this week. I wrote down some stuff on paper about the connection.


I found Kaya Oakes’ blog this week. This is because I found her book Slanted and Enchanted through the Book Design Review.

I read some of the book in the British Library this week. It is good. She talks about publishing and music and the connection of an indie subculture to the mainstream. It will be useful for my research. I am thinking a lot about the relationship between the mainstream and ‘indie’. I do not think I am using the term ‘indie’. I think I am using ‘DIY’ more. She talks about DIY as well. I think I am more optimistic about the mainstream. I do not think it is necessarily a bad thing for the mainstream to incorporate subcultures. I am not sure if this is because of a long-standing feeling of alienation from some subcultures.

Some more general linkblogging

A good article about Literary Death Match, which I went to on Tuesday. Jean Hedelstein talks about literary culture and London.

Interview with Grant Morrison. It is not as good as reading him talk about All-Star Superman but it is still interesting.

McSweeney’s piece on the moon landing. It is funny.

“Every time you type a two-word Captcha, you’re helping to digitize the world’s printed archives.”

Yann Martel is publishing a book on the Holocaust told via animals. This seems a strange decision given the fact that Maus exists. Some people talked about this.

I wrote about the Tour de France for our sport blog. The Observer Review is all about cycling today. This is probably the only interesting one. The rest are a bit fluff.

A good article on the flawed crossover appeal of Wednesday Comics.

Something on In the Loop.

Someone writes about the British citizenship test. It is a bit baffling.


Filed under: reading

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