The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany


Jimmy Corrigan Japanese Edition Poster from PRESSPOP (via Flog!).

Zingers — Film critic and blogger Roger Ebert, who has lost the ability to speak unaided, on Twitter:

Twitter for me performs the function of a running conversation. For someone who cannot speak, it allows a way to unload my zingers and one-liners… This has become addictive. I tweet too often. I actually go looking for stuff to tweet. I have good friends who suggest things… I was doing this daily, but have scaled back because it was keeping me up too late.

I’ve made a change recently. After writing my blog, “The quest for frisson” and reading two recent articles about internet addiction, I have looked hard at my own behavior. For some days now I have physically left the room with the computer in it, and settled down somewhere to read. All the old joy came back, and I realized the internet was stealing the reading of books away from me. Reading is calming, absorbing, and refreshing for the mind after hectic surfing… I like the internet, but I don’t want to become its love slave.

Landscapes from a Dream — James Pardey (The Art of Penguin Science Fiction) on JG Ballard’s early novels and the Penguin cover art of David Pelham at The Ballardian:

Pelham’s covers featured a crepuscular sky above a barren expanse of water, sand or sunbaked earth as the backdrop for an artefact of twentieth-century industrial or military technology. According to the September 1974 issue of Science Fiction Monthly, these machines depict ‘the debris of our society’. Pelham, the article explained, ‘finds romance in seeing the future as if it were already the past – in visualizing ruins created from the artifacts we are manufacturing now’. But the paradox of Pelham’s artifacts is that they are not in ruins. His are pristine machines at odds with their apocalyptic settings. Half buried or submerged, they stand as tombstones to ostentation and brutality. They are icons, but only of man’s arrogance.

JG Ballard’s archive was recently acquired by the British Library. The Guardian has an fascinating slide show of the archive, including pictures of Ballard’s annotated manuscript pages.

And finally…

4CP | Four Color Process — A blog of comic panels enlarged Lichtenstein-like to reveal the CMYK halftone dots.

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  1. When I was a little kid my father used to have me look at subway posters close up to witness that they were actually made up of tiny dots of CMYK. I always felt like I knew some sort of a secret that no one else knew… they just saw the big picture… I saw the dots.

  2. Hey Ian, that’s a great story! I was fascinated by CMYK dots when I was kid, and still am a little I guess. I associate them with American comics and pop culture. I mean the British comics I grew up with MUST have used a similar process, but I don’t remember them so vividly. Maybe they were mostly black and white? Maybe they used flat areas of colour? I don’t know… Anyway, I hope 4CP | Four Color Process keeps posting! :-)

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