Joining Tom Jackson to discuss the postcards from their pasts are writers Nicholas Royle (White Spines, First Novel, Regicide, Antwerp, London Gothic) and Clare Mackintosh (Hostage, After The End, Let Me Lie, I See You). We pull ourselves out of the quick mud and consider the grooves on Mummy Bunny’s face with Aphrodite in the pink nightie; we discover the tantalising stories of postcards lost and found in secondhand books, and suffer les bunions de Paris with a surfeit of Eiffel Towers. Remember to use the postcode and mark it in Writer’s Blood beside the vanishing signature of a Belgian surrealist. Wish you were here?
Picturesque South Devon, 8 September 1960. “Having a marvellous time sailing swimming and lazing about on the beach in scorching sunshine. The best weather so far this year. Only snag is I miss my foam cushion as the beaches are very hard.”
Pier Avenue, Clacton-on-Sea, 2 August, 1965. “Dear Mummy & Daddy Am having a lovely time, weather very good yesterday. Going by coach, on Friday night. Hope Dad is much better now. Don’t forget buttonhole & pyrex dishes. I’ll get some wrapping paper. Love, Jude.”
Nicholas’ postcard of St. Mawes, Cornwall which he discovered at page 91 of Farewell Fond Dreams by Giles Gordon. The book, bought by Nicholas at the Barter Bookshop in Alnwick, was dedicated to writers Paddy Kitchen and Dulan Barber. Did Paddy send the postcard?
Another ‘inclusion’ from a Picador. A postcard of The Thames, Westminster Bridge, 1906, by Andre Derain, found by Nicholas Royle in a copy of All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. “My dearest Kate, Please, please forgive me! I am so sorry. I’m on my knees begging you… Hope you feel better. The book is one I haven’t read but everyone says it’s great. Love you lots, Adam.”
Clare’s postcard of Malvolio from Twelfth Night. The card, produced by Louisa Hare of First Folio cards was given to her by her English teacher, wishing her luck in her A-levels. Given Clare’s career and phenomenal book sales, it seems to have worked.
Balls Park College, Hertford, February 1975. “Dear Beano & family. Bit of alright up here then! Went for a stroll around the grounds this morning after breakers until I started to get stuck in the ‘quick mud’! Lots of girls were up here last night so its certainly swinging! Rowena’s just put her new contact lenses in & Sue’s making a picture. Anyhow I’m off to work. Borrow your car Friday? Love from Aphrodite in the pink nightie!!!! xx I’ve got Winnie the Pooh!!”
Nicholas’ postcard from the Belgian surrealist Paul Delvaux, Tribute to Fellini. Delvaux sent it to Nicholas, but over time the sun has so completely faded the signature that it is now almost invisible.
Clare’s card from Paris. This card by Serge Bloch takes the iconic Parisian image of the Eiffel Tower and goes overboard with it.
Birthday Wishes & Lots of Fun: a Fonoscope musical postcard, featuring a – regrettably – rather scratched medley of nursery rhymes.