Sunday, 28 February 2010
Far from quiet on the Western Front!
"Far from quiet on the Western Front"... or ... "Stormin' Norman goes to war" - both titles suggested by my family as titles for this blog entry.
This week for me has been a rollercoaster ride. It started with a hospital visit to review some test results with my best friend (all clear, thank God), picking up one of my children from her one and a half year visit to the Far East (M25 rush hour, two major roadworks, and raining on the way to Heathrow!) but ended on such a high note!
Yesterday morning at Geoff West's BookPalace, a bunch of us unpacked some of the boxes from China containing three exciting titles. If you had told the teenage Norman that he would be signing books to which he would contribute a couple of pages (1518 words to be exact), he might have quietly thought you were mad and then dismissed the comment!
When (not, if!) you buy a copy of the excellent "Story of World War One" illustrated throughout by Frank Bellamy, you will have the choice of a signed hardback or an equally excellent paperback. Both have lovely covers but the hardback limited edition has, firstly a limited edition print inserted in the book and also Steve Holland's and my signatures. When you have a copy in your hand I can guarantee the signature is mine as I signed 175 copies of the book yesterday morning.
Open it and gaze at the Bellamy illustrations but take a moment to congratulate Stuart Williams for the design. I did wonder how one would reproduce a three page article including a double page spread in such a book. I was prepared for the blank fourth page. However Stuart has taken the cameos of the major players in the First World War (which were drawn by Bellamy and incorporated in the illustrations he did) and placed them on those empty fourth pages. The text has been completely reset and pictures cleaned up (by Steve Holland).
This resource would be brilliant in schools and gives a great general introduction for those studying World War One in Key Stage Three (Years 7 - 9) - the prime target of the original Look and Learn from which this comes.
Steve Holland, being more geared up for this sort of occasion, brought his camera along to the event and we had on hand a photographer, (well my wife!). Steve kindly sent me this picture - I insisted we hide behind the books - from left to right - Geoff West, Norman Boyd and "the famous" Steve Holland, (as I named him yesterday) after he called me "Bellamy expert"
You will have already seen the books Steve is holding (on the right) I'm proudly displaying the above title and finally Geoff is holding a very thick leather bound and very limited Complete Swift Stories volume in which you get all the adventures that Bellamy illustrated in that young people's comic. I've yet to sit down and read through the whole lot and check the contents (a natural bibliographer!) but they haven't forgotten the Swift Annual story which often gets overlooked! I very much doubt these will ever be reprinted again, so my advice is get over to Book Palace and order a copy - you will not be disappointed and you need to support such work so that the future projects can be produced.
I ought to also say the pictures I have scanned are not indicative of the quality of the above books, they are lot better but I thought it would be good to show some detail other than the spreads I have used in the past