Monday, 5:25am
31 December 2012

Spiral-bound scratchpad

The 25th Anniversary edition of the Redstone diary assembles visual and verbal ephemera on the subject of ‘language’, from doctors’ private slang to erotic hand gestures.

The annual spiral-bound desk diary from Julian Rothenstein’s Redstone Press usually delivers a quirky collection of literary and graphic ephemera based around a single theme, such as ‘Daring!’ (2003), ‘The Artist’s World’ (2011) and ‘The Senses (2012).

The latest edition – the 25th – is about language, and follows the format of previous Redstone Diaries: the week on the right; an image or text (or both) on the left. This week’s spread, for example, features Boris Lipnitzki’s 1948 photograph of Colette writing with a fountain pen.

L. Kvitko, Little Beetle (in Yiddish), illustrated by Georgy Fisher, Russia, 1928.

L. Kvitko

Will Hobson’s introduction gives an insight into the editors’ approach to the compilation: ‘You start with low expectations … the visual and the verbal have traditionally been seen as doing different jobs, if not as being actively at odds, so you simply set out to see what you can find. Then things start rolling in, and never stop.’

Wolfgang Tillmans’s Deer Hirsch, 2005.

Wolfgang Tillmans

Hobson’s seven-page ‘Finding the words’ assembles quotations from celebrated writers and an entertaining selection of outmoded and non-PC doctors’ slang, which includes ‘Hasselhoff’ (Patient suffering from injury with unlikely explanation), ‘Grolies’ (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt) and ‘NFN’ (Normal for Norfolk).

Bruno Munari, A Supplement to the Italian Dictionary, Italy, 1958.

Bruno Munari

Visual delights include some of Bruno Munari’s photographs of gestural language (see above) and a 1947 Surrealist erotic sign language diagram also featured in Redstone’s Surrealist Games box (see Maria Popova’s article for Brain Pickings, with animated gif version).

Also from 1947 is the handy Conversation Guide by Waldemar J. Adams, an English-Swedish version packed with tiny line drawings of useful objects such as bikes, shoes, pens and pipes.

Ki-chul Song, poster in the Hangul script, Korea, 2011.

Ki-chul Song

The Redstone Diary 2013: Language, edited by Will Hobson and Julian Rothenstein with artwork by Otis Marchbank, is available from the Redstone Press shop for £15.95.

Redstone Diary cover

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