Saturday, 25 January 2014

Two-year Blog Anniversary




Clothes in Books is just two years old, so now seems like a good time to look back at the past year

A list of the ten best books of the year will appear on Monday



Pierrots - that's the kind of subject we like. And the kind of photo we like. And (Angela Carter's Wise Children) the kind of book we like

 

Major blog news was that the Guardian newspaper liked what it saw here, and asked me to take part in a podcast on fashion in books, then invited me to contribute to their excellent books blog. So I now write regularly for them, and you can find links to those particular entries by clicking on the tab above.

Guest bloggers are always welcome - instances in 2013
could it be that I am rather common?
included a hilarious take on an alleged YA classic, from Lucy Fisher (picture right), a lovely look at Patrick Leigh Fermor from Veronica Horwell, and super-traveller and super-translator Julia Slater matching up with the Just So Stories. But recently we have welcomed a regular guest blogger, Colm Redmond, whose job it is to vary the content, and who has found some mind-boggling images and stories, and some books CiB probably wouldn’t have thought of.

yes that is Morrissey, and Kristeen Young, and no we don't know what they are doing





Poems have always appeared occasionally, but this year there was a new departure when I translated (freely) one of Sappho’s poems from the Ancient Greek for an entry.

Look at us now Kleis, you with your hair



all kinds of dress except the ecclesiastical












The photos were from Perry Photograpy: we get some of our best pictures from there, including lovely ones like this from the Venice Carnevale.   

More poems came with a look at Tudor hero Thomas Wyatt and his troubled relationships, a visit to Adlestrop, an Armistice Day special, and to mark Seamus Heaney’s death.



Particularly popular discussions and research:

1)   We looked at domestic arrangements and cooking problems in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.

2) Salome – what does she wear on stage, and can good singers be expected to dance too? 


3) ...and underwear for singers (OK, Salome doesn't wear much), and for everyone really - what's the best material for corsets? Ken Nye (see below) tells us, The Little Shadows shows us (more on Marina Endicott's masterpiece on Monday).

4) Advertising agencies in 1930s novels – which would be the best one to work in? (Dorothy L Sayers' Pym’s, by a long way – cakes for tea.)
 

5) Pierrots –  existential everymen from the commedia dell'arte, or English seaside entertainers? And what IS Lord Peter doing in that harlequin suit?

6) Shingles, bingles, bobs and related hair triumph and tragedy.


Many many people have given helpful input, but I must make a special mention of costume expert Ken Nye, who knows the answer to most clothes questions, and is always willing to help out with a technical tipoff, a full explanation, or a useful picture.



The photos   As ever, I am immensely grateful to all the wonderful organizations and individuals who have made their photos available on the web – I am always amazed and impressed by their generosity.






 


Sometimes I am really really happy with the match of book and picture- for example, above,
No Love Lost by Margery Allingham and The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.
 

Sometimes I find descriptions I would love to find a photo for: lesbian shirt blouses in
this entry; ‘Their knickers are made of crepe de chine and their shoes are made of python’ from Louis MacNiece’s poem Bagpipe Music; ‘a scarlet leisure suit appliqued with characters from Tintin’ worn by an expectant mother in this book.


Sometimes I come across a photo and long to find a novel to match: surely somewhere there is a book to go with this (right), from the glorious 
free vintage knitting pattern site, straightforwardly described as the Lady-Man Poncho-skirt. (Maybe Armistead Maupin in his wilder moments, could you see Mary Ann and Brian in this combo?)






The picture that got away. So far.

And as I said in the entry for
this book: ‘Maybe one day I will find the book that requires as illo the photo called ‘Miss Godby dancing to the dirge’, (subtitle: Queen of the Fairies foretelling the death of Prince Llewellyn) and then I will probably think the blog can close down.’ But I don’t think that’ll be happening anytime soon.








Thanks to all of you for reading, commenting, making suggestions and contributing information, photographs and blog entries. Making new blog friends has been the nicest and most unexpected part of running Clothes in Books - I'd be lost without you.

Don't forget to look out for the 10 best books read in the past year, Monday's entry.


22 comments:

  1. What an impressive lot you've done in a mere two years! And you flatter me. Expert? At best, I can lay claim to "annoying busy-body". I eagerly await the book containing "Miss Godby dancing to the dirge". The handwriting looks *suspiciously* like that of Edward Gorey.

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    1. That's such a funny idea about Edward Gorey! If only we could place him at the Builth Wells historical pageant in Wales. And, you are so not annoying - always so helpful and witty....

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  2. Congratulations and well done, Moira! Thanks for all that you contribute to the blogoverse!

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    1. Thanks Margot, and here's to lots more blog-sharing in 2014 too.

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  3. So many books to go, so many undergarments yet to depict! Onwards....

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    1. Sometimes the task seems too great, but I will stand firm.

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  4. Moira: Congratulations. You have achieved a unique blog which I look forward to every day. I admire people such as yourself and Margot who make daily posts. You add a flair and dash to reading about books.

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    1. So kind Bill - it helps that I am not trying to work as a busy lawyer you know! Look forward to another year of visiting yours and being visited.

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  5. Happy Anniversary - a brilliant blog - thanks for all the wonderful posts and pictures! And thanks to your guest bloggers too of course...

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    1. Thanks so much Maggie for your support. The guest blogger has his uses...

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  6. Happy 2nd anniversary of blogging. You provide such a unique look at books, and introduce me to books that are not usually on my radar. I have enjoyed that and I thank you very much.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Tracy, as I said above, making new friends has been one of the joys. And the feeling is very much mutual.

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  7. Well done, it's always an interesting read, even at times when your choice of book leaves a lot to be desired!

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    1. I think you are very forgiving Col. As the different areas of my reading worlds collide, it is nice to know you are backing me in one particular corner....

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  8. It's been lovely to get to know you over the last two years too, Moira. YOur ability to post every day is truly amazing. I'm managing once a week at the moment. Thanks for all your support of my blog too. I'm looking forward to your top 10 books, although I can guess one of them.

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    1. Thanks Sarah - as I said to Bill above, I'm full of admiration for people doing very demanding other jobs and still blogging... the rest of my life is not so demanding. Looking forward to another year of mutual blogging...

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  9. Congratulations, Moira, and thanks for such interesting posts. Good luck in the coming year.

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    1. Thank you for visiting and for the kind words!

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  10. Replies
    1. Love to hear what you think of it. It might not be to everyone's taste, but for me it was one of those books that leave you astonished, where you think they just don't write like other people. I had a similar reaction to Edward St Aubyn, and they resemble each other.

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