So, my attention was rather diverted from Quad Royal towards the end of last year on account of this.

The life of stuff - cover image

First the bad news, it’s not about posters at all.

Despite that, it may yet be of interest to a few of you because, amongst other things, the book is about how things come to mean and what we read into them.  So in some ways it is a much wider application of what I do with posters on here, which is to stare at them very hard and see what might be understood from them.*

At the same time, it’s also very different, what with being a memoir and taking in museums and hoarding and the history of napkin rings and all sorts of other things besides, so I won’t be offended if you don’t read it.  In any case, it’s not coming out until May.  But if you do decide you want to get it, it’s available online, or you can trundle down to your lovely local bookshop and get it there.

Next post will be back to posters, or at least vintage design, I promise.


*I’ve been fascinated by this ever since taking an MA in Design History, where I was intensely frustrating to my tutors because I wasn’t particularly interested in what they considered to be the core of the subject, which was how things came into being.  I wrote about what bits of china might have meant to the people who owned them instead.

As the book shows, this is still what I’d rather write about – only now I think I’d defend myself a bit harder.  Because looking at things in terms only of who designed them and why is missing a big part of the picture.  It’s not quite discussing books only in terms of the history of authors and printing, but it’s getting close to it.  Much of literary criticism is based on re-readings and re-interpretations of a book, rather than restricting itself to what the author intended, or discovering which kind of desk it was written on, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t look at objects in the same way.  And that includes posters.



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