Leonard From Sheffield

We spent a couple of days in Sheffield over half term seeing friends. In one of those moments of serendipity that make you think the universe may have planned it The Graves Gallery has an exhibition on of linocuts by one of Sheffield’s sons Leonard Beaumont. Before my recent interest in the linocutters of the interwar years I might have passed the Graves Gallery by.

Sun Bathers, 1932.

Grinders, 1932 (they liked their machines and industrial production did those linocutters).

Nymphs, Errant, 1937.

The funny thing about linocuts is they’re often no bigger than the pictures you can see here- so you don’t get that shock you sometimes get with paintings and pictures when you see one in real life and it’s huge or at least bigger than a jpeg or an A4 page in a book. Also they were made to be reproduced as prints, so depending on the qualities of the ink or the quality of the paper you can get subtly different versions. Still, nice to see some that were from then, as opposed to copies in books or on the net.

It’s on for a good few months longer- go and have a look if you’re in the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire.

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Don’t Fight Control

Claude Flight’s 1925 linocut Speed.

The Chemical Brothers (with Bernard Sumner on vocals) jemmied together with Primal Scream (with Denise Johnson on vocals). As mash ups go this is a tad obvious but good nonetheless. Whether it’s any use to you first thing on a Tuesday January morning I don’t know. You might need to save it for the small hours at the weekend when you’ve had a couple.

Don’t Fight Control

Vortex

Vortex by Cyril Power.

And a connection to yesterday’s postees The Charlatans, whose front man Tim Burgess was invited to sing with The Chemical Brothers on their Exit Planet Dust album- stands up pretty well I think. Some Chemical Brothers stuff has dated a bit to my ears, the huge drums and so on but this is good. A song that sounds like it’s title and looks like this linocut.

Life Is Sweet

Beatific

Some more Vorticist linocuts for you- words I didn’t think I’d end up typing when I started this blog. The one above is Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s The Wrestlers (looks like it should be easy to do, probably very difficult. Maybe I should try).

Second, E McKnight Kauffer’s Flight- he went on to advertising and to produce posters for the London Underground.

Third, Claude Flight’s Revolution- fucking brilliant (and yes, that’s art criticism).

Finally Lill Tschudi’s Tour De Suisse, which isn’t really done justice to in this jpeg.

Today’s music- some more slightly barking nu-disco from my current faves Glass Candy; good enough to melt the snow and bring the sun out.

Beatific

Electronic Twittering Bands

I like this snippet of a radio interview with Joe Strummer while in The Clash, circa 1980/1. There are two parts that I always think should be sampled- the title of this post is one, crying out for dropping over some electronic twittering. The other is the final bit where Joe says ‘I’m pretty confused myself’- I can hear it looped with a load of echo over a dubbed out bassline….

Joe Strummer interview

Today’s picture from British Prints From The Machine Age is Edward Wadsworth’s linocut Illustration (Typhoon), the abstract interior of the inside of a ship’s engine room. Cut out of lino. Pretty good use of a mass produced floor covering.

It Must Have Been Because, Because, Because…

Ian McCulloch’s got a few hidden gems in his solo back catalogue- this song Proud To Fall being one. There’s nothing particularly clever, experimental or far out going on, just a guitar pop song with all the correct structure- verse, chorus, middle eight, etc, home in time for tea- and lyrically it’s very Mac. It’s just one of those songs that’ll improve your day a little bit.

Proud To Fall

The picture shows a linocut by Claude Flight of ships in Liverpool dock being painted blue, silver and pink during the First World War to protect them from German U-Boats. These ships were known as Dazzle Ships (later, much later, an album by OMD). I went for a walk the other Saturday and passed Sale library (we still have a library, and it opens all day on Saturday). Wandering in and having a mooch about a book (actually the catalogue from an exhibition) called British Prints From The Machine Age, 1914-39 caught my eye. It’s full of linocuts by a group of artists who founded Vorticism, the first forward thinking, modernist British art movement of the 20th century. The prints are brilliant, stunning and fresh, capturing modern life in early-to-mid 20th century Britain- speed, ¬†movement, sport, leisure, machines, vehicles, people. A lot of them are pretty abstract, the sort of thing we take for granted as design now.

I was leafing through the book at the kitchen table on Sunday. ‘Is that a library book?’ daughter E.T. asked. ‘Yep, due back soon too, I might renew it’, I replied. I turned to the front page and the borrowing stamp sheet- ‘I think I’m the only person who’s ever taken it out’ I said. E.T. asked what the title was. ‘British Prints From The Machine Age, 1914-39’ I said. ¬†‘That’s why you’re the only the person who’s ever taken it out’ she muttered.

I like to feel I have taught her well the art of the sarcastic response. And now she uses it against me.