Stamp of the day: sunnie side up!

Australia 2011 Living Australian Little Man's Business and This Is So Relaxing 60c se-tenant pairSometimes you can see a stamp dozens of times without fully appreciating its majesty. I suppose you could say the same of any artwork, or building, or person. And then, for some reason, you happen to notice it in a certain light, or at a certain magnification, or across a cosy bar eight vodka and tonics into a Friday night, and your breath can be taken away.

This happy little issue came out in 2011. They called it ‘Living Australian’. Look at those Australians, just going about their lives all Australian-y and shit.

Australia 2011 Living Australian Best Friends and Embrace Friendship 60c se-tenant pair

I wasn’t paying a great deal of attention at the time, and I’ve only vaguely clocked them since. But when I saw this one cross my desk on the weekend – and I mean I really saw it – it filled me with joy.

Australia 2011 Living Australian Cricket at the Gabba 60c stamp

At first glance, it’s entirely possible to miss what’s going on. Maybe that’s why I hadn’t fully taken it in until now. We’re looking at the backs of a row of cricket fans at Brisbane’s Gabba stadium. It’s summer, evidenced by the sombreros. This colourful national headwear serves the triple purpose of supporting one’s team, protecting the head and face from the ferocious Australian sun, and making it really easy to spot oneself in the crowd when they show slow-motion replays on the big screen. You just have to find your sombrero among all the other sombreros.

It’s an eye-pleasing dance of engaging colours, all those greens and blues and yellows, with the skewed perspective drawing the eye into the centre of the scene.

Wait – skewed perspective? It can take a moment to register that this vibrant scene is being reflected at us in the mirrored lens of a fellow punter’s aviator sunglasses. (Or “sunnies”, as Australians call them, because who has the energy to finish entire words?)

I love this particular stamp because it’s so unexpected. The others in this set do a fine and proper job of bringing us exactly what we’d expect of the brief, and good on them. But giving a photo like this the immortal honour of placement on an actual, official stamp represents a fun and insouciance that speaks to the good cheer and irreverence commonly found during a big day out at the cricket. The sunnie-wearer’s face frames the scene in a muted grey, offsetting the riotous colour of the reflected sporting enthusiasm.

But it gets better. On looking into this stamp, I learned that every image was selected in a competition that was open to the public, and this fantastic photo was shot by amateur photographer Katelyn Wall of Nambour. She tells the Sunshine Coast Daily a little more about how the snap came about:

Ms Wall snapped the winning shot in 2008, during the third day of a Test match between Australia and India. The model was her younger brother, Matthew.

She purchased the aviator sunglasses used in the shot just before the game from a nearby pharmacy after leaving her pair at home.

“It was during a drinks break and I was just playing around with the camera until I finally caught that moment,” she said.

“It’s appropriate that the photo was in the family and mates category because that’s what cricket means to me,” she said.

“It was just us going out and enjoying being Australian with beer and having a good life.”

Living Australian? Nailed it.


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Cold War propaganda stamp of the day

Poland 1973 30th Anniversary of Polish People's Army 1zl T-55 tank stampPolitics and human rights abuses aside, I love propaganda stamps. When I was very young, almost everything I knew of life behind the Iron Curtain came from my kiddie stamp collection. Countries like Poland, Romania and Hungary must have earned some sweet forex coin getting their stamps into the Western collector market. Eastern Europeans, I knew, were mad for Lenin, space, the Winter Olympics and military hardware.

This stamp isn’t the most propaganda-y of my propaganda collection, but it was always a fave (despite the damage at the bottom, marking this as a genuine Punk Philatelist artefact of the era).

I looked into it this week, and found that it was one of a 1973 set marking the thirtieth anniversary of the Polish People’s Army. That’s the kind of thing they called armies when the Soviets ruled the roost.

Look at that stamp again: it’s so action. It says more than “We have tanks.” It says “We have tanks and they are coming for YOU!”

Poland 1973 30th Anniversary of Polish People's Army 1zl MiG-21 D fighter stampThe issue also featured a plane, a ship, and a missile, all of which are also coming for YOU.

What makes them so dynamic? Sure, there are streaks of color representing the dust being kicked up, and the turbulence caused by the various aircraft, and there are the foamy breakers against the battleship’s hull.

The answer lies in one simple design feature: Continue reading

A glimpse into the future…

I made a more concise version of my last post. It’s Instagram-friendly!

All I’m saying is, if you’re a US voter, spare a thought for the ramifications of your vote upon future stamp issues by the US Postal Service.

usps-presidents

Thank you.

© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities

A small serving of win

Japan 2015 Traditional Dietary Culture 82y Kenchinjiru stamp

Was this the most adorable stamp issue of 2015?

Apparently on November 24, Traditional Japanese Food Day is a thing, and this issue depicted a variety of family favourites served up at the kitchen table. You have to  love it. YOU HAVE TO.

Because, as if these morsels of tempura and egg custard aren’t delicious enough already, the design features an added twist that makes this particular Japanese issue the Japanesiest of them all. Can you spot it?

Japan 2015 Traditional Dietary Culture sheetlet

Continue reading

Stamp of the Day: Sorrow

ZiggyI’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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Finland punks collectors to celebrate Eurovision

Finland 2015 PKN Eurovision Stamp

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

Busy Punk!

China Revolutionary Ballet Company

Whoa, where have I been? One moment I’m slapping stamp posts up on the internet like a ’60s actor slapping arses on a bus full of French nurses, and the next, I’ve gone AWOL.

The truth, dear readers, is that I work in a freelance world, and sometimes, a punk’s just gotta drop everything to hit a deadline. It’ll be rough for the next few months, but I’ll still be loitering around, even if I’m not always posting.

Despite that, I’ve been so excited to see people still find and enjoy this site, and a big welcome to those who have followed my Facebook page!

China Revolutionary Ballet CompanyOne of them was Stampboards (the Facebook arm of the chat board), who kindly said they enjoyed my post on China’s revolutionary ballet, and supplied a stamp of the full company. Not to be messed with! Not only are they armed, but they’re ballerinas, so they’re probably hungry.

As for me, I’m cooking up a few new posts, so stay tuned. They’ll cross your feed soon enough.

Love, Punk x

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© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities

Thank You Stamp of the Day

1970 France Edgar Degas balletJust a quick word to say thank you to WordPress for featuring one of my blog posts (this one) on their Freshly Pressed page a few weeks back, and thanks to everyone who has stopped by and followed my site since! I’ll be endeavoring to follow back everyone who’s not a spammer.

Thanks especially to those who have commented. I was afraid that only boring people would be interested in my efforts, but I’ve been lurking on many of your blogs and it seems that, as I suspected, there are other closet, latent and vicarious philatelists who are not boring at all.

I’ve been a bit snowed under at work lately, but I’ll keep the posts coming. Feel free to ask questions. This Punk don’t bite. You might inspire a post!

In the meantime, here is a Stamp of the Day, France’s 1970 release honoring Edgar Degas’s La Danseuse Au Bouquet (The Dancer with Bouquet). It’s a little bit how I felt last week, though I was wearing less girly clothes and my lighting was far more professional. x

 

© Philatelic product images remain the copyright of issuing postal administrations and successor authorities