Jersey is one of those funny little islands in the English Channel that are closer to France, and part of the UK, but get to put out their own stamps.
Interestingly, this practice began during the Nazi occupation of those islands, when they were cut off from the mother country. This is just one of the reasons why nerds who are into postal history find them so delectable. (If you think you might be one of those nerds, you should check out the Channel Islands Specialists’ Society.)
I’m not one of those nerds, but I do like how these islands churn out pretty stamps, because, let’s face it, what else have they got going on? I mean apart from tax avoidance schemes.
Recently Jersey jumped on the retro stamp bandwagon with a 1960s Popular Culture issue.
I love the Hendrix-inspired psychedelic guitar player with his groovy vibes and his remarkable fused fingers on his strumming hand.
The models (or are they just ’60s housewives?) on the fashion stamp take me back to a childhood spent rifling through Grandma’s sewing pattern magazines.
And it eludes me why more stamp administrations don’t honour the cheese and pineapple stick on their postal stamps. Continue reading
(And yay to you if you know which film lent me that headline.)
I’m excited today, and not because I’ve been snorting lines of this coffee-scented stamp from India. It’s a big day. I’m launching a new category on this blog.
I get very easily excited.
As the use of snail mail for letter post continues to fall off a cliff, postal authorities around the world look more and more to stamp collectors to fluff up their bottom line. Thus opens a new and technologically marvellous chapter in an old book: that of the novelty stamp. Continue reading
Well this is the most exciting thing to happen this year since I accidentally swiped right on Tinder and he turned out to be a match, a babe, and leaving for overseas two days later.
The UK is releasing a set of David Bowie stamps today!
David has been on a UK stamp before, as part of a Classic Album Covers release in 2010. (You can also spot a wild Bowie issue hiding in this post about tortoise stamps from Namibia. Yes, you read right.)
Now Royal Mail is releasing this fabulous set of six iconic Bowie album covers, plus four photos from live tours combined in a stamp sheet.
As the header of my site attests, I love it when music, design and philately collide. And it’s happening again, thanks to the Royal Mail. Attention cool uncles and that boring guy who used to corner me at university house parties: Pink Floyd is being immortalised!
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s founding, though it feels like they’ve been around for a lot longer, since every David Gilmour guitar solo goes for 50 years in its own right. Royal Mail’s tribute issue clocks in at no less than 10 stamps, which, much like a prog rock album, is more than anyone asked for and a lot more than was probably necessary to get the job done. Continue reading
I’m composing an official-first-blog-post-of-2016, but sadly it has been gazumped by the loss of a personal musical icon. Many words are being written today in tribute to David Bowie. Let me add a few of my own.
Today’s Stamp of the Day depicts the iconic cover of David Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
It was part of Royal Mail’s 2010 Classic Album Covers issue, which combined two of my great loves, music and design, as well as philately, which I shall classify as a great like. If I called it a great love, I would sound like one of the dotty old men one bumps into at philatelic society meetings.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Being a stamp collector with a creative and intellectual streak made me odd among my peers in my teenage years. I persisted, quietly, because screw them.
David Bowie’s musical output speaks for itself. I speak for the many people who were once teenagers who felt like they came from another planet. Bowie showed us it was just fine to be a bit weird.
Incidentally, the building in the background of the Ziggy Stardust cover is a post office. First class indeed.
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It’s Eurovision weekend! Long ago, the nations of Europe decided to stop holding wars and instead sort out their differences via an annual shit pop music throwdown. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it in Asia or the Americas, but it’s huge in Europe, and its once-cult following here in Australia has gone so mainstream that they’ve even let us enter in 2015. Continue reading
Credit where it’s due. How well does the United States Postal Service do portrait stamps?
It’s got a head start, being in America and all. With its entrepreneurial spirit, vibrant cultural scene, and comprehensive disenfranchisement of minorities, the USA is never short of an innovator, an envelope-pusher or a trailblazer to honour on a stamp.
Take the Maya Angelou stamp that’s out on April 7. No frills, just elegance and eloquence. A dignified tribute. I was gobsmacked to read that the image is that of a painting (!) – an oil-on-canvas number by Ross Rossin that resides in the National Portrait Gallery. Look at that face, and imagine the stories it could tell. Continue reading
The header of this blog comprises two images that I felt were thematically and philosophically apt.
The colourful stamps in the background come from Australia’s 2006 ‘Rock Posters’ release, showcasing the talents of Australian designers as demonstrated in posters for various festivals, tours and gigs. I loved this issue. It was a kick in the balls compared to our usual diet of cute furry animals and dreary royals. Nice to see Australia Post acknowledge the possible existence of Australians who might not be as obsessed with sport and wildflowers as it seems to think most of its market is.
(Nerd note: if you’re wondering where I got these stamps in a se-tenant sheet format as seen in my background, I made it myself. It doesn’t exist.)
The image I’m using as my avatar is that of a stamp released by the UK in 2012 as part of a Great British Fashion issue. This particular stamp features a harlequin dress designed by Vivienne Westwood in 1993 – not exactly punk in itself, but the Dame was instrumental in popularising punk fashion back when it was a thing, working with Malcolm McLaren to outfit the Sex Pistols and all that. Her ethos of using shock to stick a spoke in the system might be something to which this blog can aspire. Here’s the full set:
What a coincidence, Punk is wearing that little black Alexander McQueen number at her desk as she types.