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arr. by robert kirby

The late Robert Kirby (1948-2009) will be forever associated with providing the orchestral arrangements for the first two albums by his great friend Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter. But as a new CD released this week reveals, his musicality and flair for what could be added to a song by way of orchestrations and arrangements were appreciated by everyone who’s anyone in the... read more

the grand tour

One of the formats that the digital era has failed to adequately match is the coffee-table book. Photographs in particular benefit from a double-page spread with the result that those of us interested in seeing images  to scale or in detail need, on occasion, to have deep pockets. A new title from the publishers Taschen has an eye-watering price tag of £150, which takes it in to the realm of special... read more

black and white

One of the joys of my new life as a PhD student is hearing about the work of other researchers operating in the field of photography. The photograph that accompanies this blog (courtesy of Parisien Images) is one that may be familiar, echoing as it does a traditional portrayal of a victorious soldier and a grateful civilian, marking the end of a conflict. In this case, it was taken during the liberation of... read more

stealin’ home

Album sleeves were once a calling card for photographers and graphic designers to show off their talents. In the pre-video age, the ritual of visiting a record shop meant leafing through the racks of vinyl offerings, with the artists ranked alphabetically A to Z. A striking cover image had the power to invite you to pull the sleeve out of its rack and consider the track listing and credits on the rear... read more

a house through time

Some tv programmes are watched and instantly forgotten whereas others linger long in the memory and even inspire. That’s certainly the case with A House Through Time, BBC 2’s brilliant current social history series, presented by historian David Olusoga, which has a title that’s self-explanatory. Its 3 episodes, with a finale on Thursday, have traced the lives of the residents of one... read more

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