Robin has gone into overdrive on his new blog, Include me out. It’s great to be able to read his writing again and catch up on what he’s thinking. As well as highly refined and more than occasionally provocative takes on music and film, he’s been posting all sorts of imagery, including some much loved covers from his book collection. This and our recent Fire Raisers escapade have prompted me to post one of my favourite covers:
More than a little ragged round the edges – it was a 1980s Holloway Road second-hand bookshop find – but William Belcher’s design is very possibly one of the earliest examples (1964) of a book or magazine with two front covers and right-way round and upside down text meeting in the middle. I’m sure there’s a technical term for that in graphic design.
Dust falls on Eugene Schlumburger / Toddler on the run was Shena Mackay’s first book, published when she was just nineteen. It’s far from the vivid, synaesthetic grace of her best work, but it contains flashes of the brilliance that was to come:
Abigail broke loose from the encircling arms and began sliding and spiralling down the hill until all Eugene could see in the moonlight was her red hair spinning into the white eternity. He started to run but his legs were heavy with cold and snowflakes melted in his eyes blinding him. He ran, heavy and lost, his hard feet pounding the slithering ground. Then he tripped on a lump of ice and fell, hitting his face on the kerb. The sky flashed round his head and he lay there for a minute, his cut face bleeding into the snow, and desolation in his heart feeling he had lost her forever. He raised his weak legs and tried to walk, but his steps degenerated into a slide. As he cruised unsteadily round the corner, he saw himself as she would in a second – ‘I am a man of thirty sliding in the snow with blood on my face.’
She stood at the bus stop, her hair spiked with snowflakes, waiting for him. She wiped his face with her hair because she had no handkerchief. As the bus drew away a street lamp lit the face of a battered mole.
You won’t be surprised to hear that it ends badly for Eugene.