Outer Space 1956…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to rub off any loose flakiness with a folded sheet of coarse sandpaper; slide the palms of your hands over the surface to feel for any snags or protuberances which may remain, if there are any you must deal with them before moving on. Mix up a large bucketful of some gelatinous substance (treacle, Swarfega, honey, cooked semolina, strawberry jelly, grease from an old engine diluted in dirty white spirit, mayonnaise, etc.) and, standing on a chair or a small stepladder, throw the contents vigorously over your prepared surface. Stand back, smile, and then make quick a call to your friend at the Arts Council.
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It’s a battered heavy old volume, and it has that funny old books smell about it. A junk shop book, my interestingly defaced copy of Lion Annual 1956. Here’s a photo of the front and back covers – lovely isn’t it?

Today, we’ll have a quick look at the upper part of page 63, the right-hand half of a double page feature called Wonders of Outer Space – with some nice drawings, and text by Harry Hollinson DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) – it’s all about space and the possibility of space travel in the ‘distant future’ – all the information included does seem scientifically accurate, I was expecting nonsense – of course it was only thirteen years later that some humans went to moon! I’m not sure if Harry did these drawings himself, or if he just researched the subject and wrote the captions. The graphic artists never seem to get much credit in books like this – I suppose the editors considered writing a higher art form than just scribbling a few quick marks on paper…

There are nine items covering this topic spread over the two pages – these two appealed to me – it was probably the demonstration of the how far away the moon is from the earth that caught my eye – isn’t that great? A steam train taking six months to chug to the moon – no, no, I know it’s only a device to get the young reader to appreciate the vast distance – Harry’s not really suggesting in the future we’ll be able to get on trains to the moon – imagine the poor buggers on the footplate shovelling all that coal! Still, it is a nice bit of illustration, isn’t it?…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in archeology, art, books, creation, drawing, history, humour, information, instruction, physics, science, surrealism, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Outer Space 1956…

  1. Sharon Mann says:

    I’ve always enjoyed black and white illustration. The train is a imaginative concept!

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