The Pandemic and I (11) – an odyssey: living with the virus, plus finding stuff down the back of the sofa and behind the TV…

Odyssey 7 comic shop advert. 1987. UK.

Report – 2 June, 2020

Déconfinement

Today in France, 2 June, many of the remaining restrictions and social distancing measures are being lifted – known as déconfinement.

Here, the same as in many other countries, we will have to learn to live with Covid-19 as we go about our daily business as normally as possible in the most un-normal circumstances.

For many of us it will mean wearing a mask in a situation as mundane as entering a shop (many of us already are). Attending work, social, and study gatherings in limited numbers. Observing stricter hygiene measures than we are used to.

I’m in no rush to head to a restaurant, cinema, beach, park, or a busy shopping mall just yet – but I am looking forward to extending my social interaction with as much protection as I can get (mask, hand gels, respecting distances, avoiding large crowds, washing hands, not touching my face).

For me, it does mean a certain few treats:

  • a week off work! At last our leave restrictions have been lifted and I can take a long-overdue week off 🙂
  • coffee on a terrace (outdoor, distancing measures, minimal risk)
  • ordering more material for my blog! The postal service is back to business, and I can order vintage catalogues and ads like I did before, and get back to having a stockpile of material to draw upon – instead of my current in-tray which contains bills, a mint humbug, and Wooof’s yo-yo which I had to confiscate on account of him smashing several windows of the office during his yo-yo practice sessions.

Coca-Cola and Fanta spinners. Denmark. 1981.

Here, point three has been rather difficult… TVTA relies on a regular flow of printed material to sustain the blog. These past months I have had to resort to searching down the back of the sofa and behind the TV for content!

I suppose making these pandemic posts has occupied some blogging space. Tbh, I never intended to make a diary of my experiences as a health care worker during a pandemic – it just sort of happened, and evolved. I don’t know how many more of these posts I’ll do… hopefully not many at all, as we learn to live with our dear Covid-19 and life goes on with whatever measures we have to adopt.

Still, the TVTA material recession will hopefully end soon! Today I ordered two huge lots of vintage comics and magazines packed with retro goodness the good readers of TVTA have come to enjoy 🙂

It’s coming! TVTA new arrivals imminent… you will soon get…

Did we mention dinosaurs?

Rarrrrrrr!!!

For now, just a little while longer at least, you’ll have to put up with the scraps…

so, on with the show,

Here is the rest of the stuff we found down the back of the sofa and behind the TV…

A little teaser perhaps?

You will soon get… TV and film goodness!

Wonder Woman TV series photo.

You will soon get more comics goodness!

Frankie Steen. 1980. UK.

Shiver and Shake. 1980. UK.

You will soon get amazing vintage history!

Historia Spéciale Publicité. 1988. France.

You will soon get sparkly martial arts fitness training to a professional level!

You will soon get art and comedy, but with masks and social distancing – unlike our carefree diners below!

Art et Comedie N°49. 1986. France.

By all ye gads! You will soon get quite possibly very likely even more Star Wars!

Until then, vintage mates, it’s scraps and broken biscuits for all 🙂

Stay safe and healthy everyone 🙂


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


 

In praise of trees

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”

Chinese Proverb

The How and Why Wonder Book of Trees. Written by Geoffrey Coe. Illustrated by Cynthia Iliff Koehler and Alvin Koehler. Grosset and Dunlap. New York. 1973.

This was one of the books included in my recent free lot of novels, and is not a novel but The How and Why Wonder Book of Trees, originally published in 1964. My copy is from 1973, and I’m featuring selected images illustrated by Cynthia Iliff Koehler and Alvin Koelher.

Enjoy 🌲🌳🍀🍂🍃🌿🌱🌱🌱

Rear cover. The How and Why Wonder Book of Trees. 1973.

Thank you for appreciating trees with us 🙂

TVTA vintage toy tree bonus:

Family Tree House. De Speelboom N°3. Nov 1987.

To shop or not to shop

Vintage shopping! Check out this charming cardboard diorama shop set, via Wibi over at the Small Wonders blog. For more vintage delights please visit Wibi’s Small Wonders

Wibi Wonders

Do you miss being able to just go into a shop whenever you like and to linger at the vegetable (or any other) display before making your choice? Our shopping habits have surely changed! I realised that I haven’t been to a major Supermarket since lockdown in the UK began – the smaller shop not far from where I live has all I need – and is big enough for physical distancing to work. So this cardboard display/toy is a chance to time-travel to an era when life was different. I hope you enjoy it.

cardboard cutout showing man unloading van in front of warehouse.

Cardboard cutout of fictional Supermarket showing Coffee, Bakery and Dairy Products displays.
While I have found a few ‘B & H Super Markets’ I think I can safely assume that this one was invented – it was not a promotional toy.

illustration of fictional Super market showing freezer packed with food and frozen vegetable

illustration of vegetable and fruit boxes such as apples and carrots

cardboard cut-outs of 2 supermarket displays: one of tins, one of ketchup bottles. Plus cardboard cut-out of man weighing item.

Two cardboard cut-outs: one showing girl and shopping trolley, the other a boy with a paper bag filled with vegetables.

The inclusion of the shopping cart and the dress of the lady visiting the café makes me fairly sure that the whole set is from the…

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More random book cover designs, and a spotlight on British Salvationist illustrator Jim Moss

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. 1999 Harper Collins. Cover by J.R.R. Tolkien.

We have you covered… again!  (See part one here)

Today’s book post features design covers and illustrations published between the 1920s and 2010s, courtesy of a generous donation of old books to TVTA!

What happened was this… an English teacher working in France was moving home and job, and before leaving she decided to give away a number of her old books. Finally, after a Pandemic-lockdown-observed-meeting outside the local park gates, two bags of wonderful books were handed over for the reading and scanning pleasure of those inside TVTA Towers – cue happiness 🙂

Some of the titles will be instantly recognisable, others obscure, some have been adapted for stage, film or television, but all are equal here in having interesting covers to bind their tales.

Enjoy your donated book!

1920 William Heinemann.

Lorna Doone Vol 1. by R.D. Blackmore.

1966 Bantam Books. Cover uncredited.

Donated book TVTA spotlight!

The art of Salvationist illustrator Jim Moss

In Tune with Mutt & Bone by Jim Moss. 96 page paperback published by The Salvation Army, 2002, featuring 185 Jim Moss comic strips.

Luckily, Jim Moss signed all his illustrations ‘Moss’ or ‘M’ in the 1955 edition of Black River – a Salvationist produced novel written by Bernard Watson – making it fairly easy for me to track the artist down.

Jim was born in London in 1926, one of seven children. After serving in India and the Middle East during the Second World War, he studied at the Borough Art School in London for four years, taking his NDD course in Illustration. During his career as an illustrator he designed posters, book jackets, logos, and children’s books. Jim’s long-standing dedication to the Salvation Army saw him design the Bram cartoons which delighted generations of young Salvationists, and in 1987 he devised the Mutt & Bone cartoon series featuring two Salvation Army band musicians.

Image taken from Salvation Army Burton Upon Trent Corps

Mutt & Bone is drawn in a typical cartoon style, so it was interesting to see that Moss could turn his hand to more realistic illustrations, and with a darker tone, as seen by his work in Black River.

Below are the complete chapter illustrations from Black River. Moss goes uncredited but it is clearly his work, as identified by his signature and his association with the Salvation Army.

About Jim Moss

Author information from Amazon Books page for the 2002 book In Tune with Mutt & Bone states:

Jim Moss was born in London in 1926, one of seven children. In 1939, as war broke out, the family became scattered evacuees and 13-year-old Jim, with brother Pete, travelled to Reading, where they were billeted. Sent out of the house in all weathers, Jim and his brother one day took refuge in the Reading East Salvation Army hall opposite their billet. They were warmly welcomed and, said Jim, ‘great tolerance’ was shown as he struggled to play E flat bass in the young people’s band. Jim was in the military for four years during and just after the Second World War, serving in India and the Middle East. When demobbed, he was given a wonderful opportunity to study at the Borough Art School in London for four years, taking his NDD course in Illustration. His wide range of hand-skills enabled him to use many different kinds of medium – from pencil, pen and ink to scraperboard – to complete the brief and get the message across. He often said, ‘It’s not the drawing that’s the problem, it’s finding an original idea! After a long, exciting career designing posters, book jackets, logos, children’s books for many different clients, as well as the Bram cartoons which delighted generations of young Salvationists, in 1987 Jim devised the Mutt & Bone cartoon series. Jim was, in the Salvation Army phrase, ‘promoted to Glory’ in July 2001 and this book is an affectionate memorial to a well-loved figure who has helped The Salvation Army both look and laugh and sometimes ponder! Just as Jim would have wished, had he lived to see Mutt & Bone in book form, all profits from this book are being donated to The Salvation Army’s Ethembeni Children’s Home, Southern Africa, for the caring ministry of its HIV/Aids clinic.


Thank you for looking at book covers and illustrations with us 🙂

All images scanned from donated books to TVTA.

Chip Kidd quote art courtesy of quotefancy.com

Six Sentence Stories: The hen that came down a beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk. Illustration by Eric Winter, 1965, Ladybird Books.

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Eternal.

 

 

The hen that came down a beanstalk

Jack is dead, oh, eternal be his memory –

Yet I have no time for his eulogy, as I clamber down this bristling stalk,

Over leaves as long as surfboards, over beans as big as basketballs,

Down, down, to meet my new horizon which shimmers with a hope

That I may return to a coop of my own.

 

Down I climb to claim this liberty, but – curses – that ogre is after me;

Bigger than me, bolder, brasher, brawnier, broiling with anger and betrayal and

Bloodlust!

 

“Get back ‘ere!” the ogre screams.

 

Frightened, frantic, faster and faster down the beanstalk I scarper,

While above me the ogre booms down oaths of murderous revenge:

The rain is his sweat, the wind is his breath, thunderbolts his words,

Flies and mosquitoes his crumbs of bread…

Broken from the bones of Englishmen like Jack.

 

Down, down, about to touch the ground, and there at the foot of the beanstalk stands

Jack’s mother – her each axe-chop a strike for Jack (oh, eternal be his memory) …

Chop… chop… chop… and at last the beanstalk topples, and with it the ogre

Who breaks his neck as easily as once he broke his bread.

 

Jack’s mother, she scoops me up and cradles me with more love

Than I had ever thought possible could exist; and for this, tomorrow,

After resting, and mending my wings and bruised beak,

I will lay for her a golden egg, as she puts on black robes for the eternal memory

Of her son, brave Jack, who set me free from a castle in the sky.


 

2000 AD Progs, Star Pin-Ups, Poster Covers, and thrill-power galore!

Mutie and the Beast star pin up. 2000 AD Sci Fi Special. 1987.

TVTA is pleased to present an utterly thrill-tastic selection of 1980s and 90s Prog covers, Star Pin-Ups, Poster Covers, and more from British comic publication 2000 AD – featuring art by Carlos Ezquerra, Kevin O’Neil, Ron Smith, Massimo Belardinelli, Dave Gibbons, Jim McCarthy, Cliff Robinson, Brett Ewins, John Ridgway, Henry Flint, and Loaf.

Rejoice, brothers (and sisters) of Death!

Many readers of 2000 AD will know about Judge Death and the Four Dark Judges…

TVTA.

Brian Bolland.

But how about the Sisters of Death: Nausea and Phobia?

Below panels from Judge Dredd: The Dead Man. The Sisters of Death – Nausea and Phobia. Art by John Ridgway.

Feeling ssssick yet? If Nausea and Phobia are a bit too much for you, there’s always mutant vampire bounty hunter Durham Red…

Durham Red. 2000 AD Sci Fi Special 1989. Artist credited as SW?

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TVTA’s Soft Drinks Top Ten Hyper Wild Ads

Gulp! Hic! Dammit, I really enjoyed that thirst-quenching can of ice cold Coke I cracked open at work during my break the other day.

So let’s hear it for soft drinks, fizzy pop, soda… and TVTA’s Top Ten list featuring print ads from Denmark, UK, Brazil, and France…

But watch out for getting too hyper on that fizzy stuff, and dangerous animals too!

42% of wild animal attacks are caused by carbonated drink overuse. The animal kingdom and soda should never mix!


N°10 – Schwip-Schwap

Schwip Schwap. 1978. Denmark.

Let’s get high… high as a giraffe, with Danish orange-cola beverage Schwip Schwap… the sound you might actually hear as a 45 centimetre prehensile tongue slaps you around the face, if you’re ever foolish enough to get that close to a giraffe that is.


N°9 – 7 UP

7 Up. 1977. Denmark.

Staying high. A 7Up advert so psychedelic you need to consume forty litres of the stuff to imagine such a scene. Roughly translated, this Danish ad encourages us to: “Take a fresh one. It helps.” 

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The Pandemic and I (10) – Question: can a cash reward help lift your spirits? Featuring: a rant, Animal Crossing New Leaf, and a sweet Bella ciao!


Can a cash reward help lift your spirits?

Answer – YES! …

… but only partially – I need a break from this madness pandemic. Just five days off work in a row would be nice – a week would be marvellous. However, at work we still can’t take time off and every shift is short staffed. I am somewhat…

  • Exhausted.
  • At the brim of feeling burnt out.
  • I don’t have time nor energy for any of my artistic endeavours: poems, short stories… my beautiful novel.
  • When I dream these days, I am always running, and I am wearing a surgical mask.
  • I just want things to stop for a bit… for five days… a week… a small break from this non-stop slog before I go bananas.

Okay, rant over 🙂 Going back to my question in the title of this blog post – “Can a cash reward help lift your spirits?”

It certainly can, I’m not ashamed to admit. The power of that green can give quite a lift in times of hardship; the prospect of spending, amassing goods, food, paying bills.

I’ve never had much money in life, but I’ve always felt wealthy when it comes to the art and mind – creativity, spiritualty, words and paint and music – that’s me – yet, the arts don’t always pay the bills nor fill up your stomach, do they?

So, when my employer announced, at about the same time as the French government announced the very same, that health care workers in the sector for nursing and retirement homes are to receive a bonus payment for our efforts during the pandemic (in line with hospitals), my spirits lifted in almost the same way as if I had written a stunning personal poem or short story, made a cool drawing or painting, or jammed with fellow musicians in a garage.

TVTA Animal Crossing New Leaf alt-reality Editor and Wooof get spiritually lifted! Yarr!

Sad, in a way, that I can equate the bliss of artistic endeavours with the gain of some hard cash. But honestly, right now I don’t care… fuck you Covid-19, I could really use a lift, as could my colleagues who are knackered too.

We want ze money, Lewbowski!

Ja, fed up of swimming with sharks and jellyfish – just give us ze money!

Honestly, I don’t even know how much these cash rewards will amount to in total … one of them is a thousand euros, I know that for sure. Cool. And what will I spend my riches on? I may upgrade my bicycle. I might buy extra pizza, beer. Treat family members to nice gifts once the lockdown starts to lift and shops and restos open. I certainly need a new pair of trainers. But what I need most of all is a week off work and not having to wear that mask!

Report – 10 May, 2020

Testing, testing…

I took my second Covid-19 test last week. Chose a different nostril than last time. Wished I’d stuck with the other, as it didn’t sting or make my eyes water last time. I’m assuming my test is negative as I haven’t heard the dreaded news to the contrary from my employer, and will wait for confirmation when I’m in tomorrow.

Tomorrow is 11 May!

11. May – the much-talked-about date in France when lockdown restrictions begin to slowly lift. Since 17 March we’ve pretty much been in as strict a lockdown as you could imagine. Now, some pre and elementary schools will reopen, some businesses too, with the return to some kind of normal made in staggered steps.

TV Series and gaming lockdown decompression

Talking of staggered steps… I finished watching The Walking Dead seasons which I missed seeing when they first came out. So interesting watching certain characters making their debut – as was the evolution of others.

Bella ciao! 

I’m now watching La Casa de Papel – season 3 – just awesome! Thanks to WordPress good buddy inSPIRAtion for pointing me in the right direction there, cheers mate 🙂

All being well, I might have a fun La Casa de Papel blog post coming soon:)

La Casa de Papel. Image credit: Netflix.

Turning over a New (old) Leaf …

And for any readers wondering what the low-res comical screen grabs are scattered about this blog post – I’ve been amusing myself with Animal Crossing New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS. Old school now I know. My youngest has New Horizons and it wipes the floor with New Leaf. But, I’m charmed by New Leaf. It’s the perfect and gentle distraction for pandemic times (no virus, no lockdown, and you can go shopping!).

That’s all for now, vintage mates! Stay safe and healthy everyone 🙂


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


 

May The Fourth Be With You – making a pandemic run in less than 12 parsecs

Happy Star Wars Day!

I’m dedicating this year’s May The 4th Be With You to our dear Covid 19 and the evil pandemic empire… Grrr!

We haven’t missed a May The 4th in a long time at TVTA, and no frightening us with sorcerer’s ways and sad devotion to ancient religions is gonna stop us now (cough, cough – sorry Lord Vader).

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