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April 2009

Hannanother thing


So the mystery is (almost) solved. Gretel Parker has emailed in a copy of an article in the August 1955 Country Fair, celebrating John Hanna’s fiftieth cover illustration. It’s nice to know he produced at least fifty – we’ve only got five, so there are obviously plenty more to discover.

It also seems he is the same John Hanna cited in the link that Adam posted in the comments – an Australian who arrived in London in 1947 and made his living as a commercial artist and cartoonist. So we now have the full biog and background. Only remaining mystery is why his works aren’t more widely available, or indeed available at all. Reading the article, it seems he was extremely popular in his time. Strange the way people can drop off the radar like that, leaving barely a trace on Google. There seems to be a fan site for everything these days, so it's a surprise when you find a gap like this. Or maybe it’s just the modern mindset: if it’s not on Google, it doesn’t exist.

Anyway, thanks to those who have put us out of our ignorance. Look forward to hunting down more cover illustrations in years to come.

Desperately seeking Hanna

Country_fair5 We found these Country Fair magazines a few years ago in a shop in Lewes and have had the covers framed on our wall for a while. They’re signed with a single name – “Hanna”.

We really like the pictures, in a sentimental, anthropomorphic kind of way.

One day we thought we’d Google “Hanna”, hoping to buy some larger prints. We expected thousands of results to come up, but could hardly find any. So we forgot all about it for a while.

Then, a few weeks ago, we came across this book from Prion Books – a compendium of articles from the magazine. We bought it, hoping to find out more about the illustrator, but there was no mention. We even emailed the publisher about it and got no reply (boo).

However, this sparked off another bout of Google detective work, and we’ve finally established that he’s called John Hanna. He was obviously quite respected in his day – there’s a photo of him in a National Portrait Gallery collection (which also gives the helpful clue that he was Australian).

Thing is, we still can’t find out much more about him. Let alone where to get hold of his work.

Can anyone shed any light? We feel like we must be missing something obvious.

It's raining in Rainow


Chinese whispers


Busy playing a new and possibly pointless game, inspired by the goings-on at 26’s Free The Blog. The idea is to highlight the difficulties inherent in any form of cultural translation (which is what the blog is all about – read more about it here.)

Fairly simple rules:

1. Go to http://babelfish.yahoo.com/

2. Enter the text from a well-known work of literature (up to 150 words)

3. Translate from English to Chinese (trad)

4. Copy and paste the resulting text, then translate back into English.

Here are a couple of results so far:

My WANDER' D remote achievement cloud that in high o' Float; Not valley and hill, when I simultaneously saw the crowd, master's golden yellow narcissus; Nearby the lake, under the tree, inspires the wing and dances in the breeze. Continuously as illumination star, and in Milky Way flash, their stretch' In endless line d along bay boundary: 11,000 looked at looked I, threw them in the lively place dance head. The wave dances nearby them; But they have exceeded in the happy sparkle wave: The poet is impossible, but is joyful, in this kind of happy company: I gazed at -- And gazes at -- But an idea was assorted the wealth to bring to my demonstration: For frequently, when I lies in mine couch in vacant or in the ponder mood, do they flash in that internal eye which are solitary extremely happy; Then I and pleasure fill heart, and yellow narcissus's dance.

The survival destroys, that is a question; Whether ' tis in suffers nobly in brains crude fortune suspension cable and arrow, or adopts the arm opposition troublesome sea, and through the opposition, finished them. The death, sleeps; Does not have; And by said that our sleep conclusion heartache and 1000 natural vibration that flesh and blood were successor - ' tis is reverent completes wish' D. dies, sleeps; Sleeps, accidentally has a dream. Ay, there' perhaps the s friction, is dying that sleep's any dream to come, when we towed this to curl at the point of death, must give us to pause.

Feel free to create your own over at the blog.

Looking into the past


Just found this Flickr group via onefloorup. Superimposing the past on the present. Very good – some of them almost have you welling up.

Raspberry & Raspberry


Strange the things you get asked to do as a writer. I recently contributed a piece to this site by John Simmons (co-founder of 26, pioneer of verbal identity, writer of numerous books on business writing). His new book is called 26 ways of looking at a blackberry: how to let writing release the creativity of your brand.

As part of the book launch (today), he asked 26 writers to take a piece of fruit and imagine how it would talk. In my case, it was raspberry. First task was to define the tone of voice:

What’s a raspberry like?! Flipping heck! What a silly question, you nincompoop! A raspberry is childish and silly and rude. It leaves you all red-faced and spluttering. (Although it doesn’t mean any harm and it’s actually quite sweet.) Anyway, leave me alone now you plonker! :P

Next came the challenge of writing a letter from a bank, explaining why it's a good idea to stick with them during the downturn. But in the tone of a raspberry.

Bear in mind I’m still in character here.

Dear Poo-face

Only joking you wazzock!

Okay, listen to this right. Banks are really stupid, aren’t they? Load of wallies in silly suits going round borrowing too much dosh and spending it on sweets and stuff. Flipping berks.

Well, ner to them, because Raspberry Bank isn’t like that! We’ve been really really careful for ages because we’re not blinking lemons like the others. That’s why you put your lolly with us! Because you’re not really a wazzock like we said before (soz about that).

Mind you, you would be a wazzock if you went putting your lolly somewhere else! Flipping heck! What kind of spanner would do something like that! Chinny reckon!

Tell you what, you keep being our bezzy mates and we’ll keep being yours.

And if you don’t then you can bog off! You divvy! :P

Later alligator!

Nick Asbury, Client Liason Director, Raspberry Bank

You can see 25 (slightly more grown-up) examples here.

And don’t forget to order the book.

Image from Full Stop Photography