Gavin Scott | 2016 March
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austerity britain
The Age of Austerity

One of the many books of social history I consulted while researching The Age of Treachery was David Kynaston’s wonderful Austerity Britain. Here are some fascinating snippets about Britain in 1946 from its pages. By September 1946 the number of married women at work was down from a wartime peak of 7.2 million to 5.8 million. 4 million British servicemen were demobilized between June 1945 and January 1947 and couples who might not have seen each other for years found themselves having to get used to each other again, which the divorce figures...

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Progress at the airport!

Some of you may remember my video diary last month urging Santa Monica City Council to remove as soon as possible the parked planes from the part of Santa Monica Airport to make way for a park. This is what the first 6 acres looked like not long after the video, as photographed by my friend and fellow campaigner Michael Brodsky. Here's Michael's picture of what the same 6 acres looks like today. Bravo our council, plus Rick Cole and Nelson Hernandez! And here's what I'd personally like to see when park designer Mark Rios...

boldness be my friend
More Wonderful Old Pan Paperbacks

Here are four more of the memorable if artistically challenged Pan paperback covers from the 40's and 50's, such as might have been read on trains by Duncan Forrester, the hero of The Age of Treachery.     #pan paperbacks #age of treachery...

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Aunts (1946) Part III

I have received many eager requests for the answer to the question mentioned in the previous post, which was Here is the answer: Which allows us to move on to question Number Five. But I think we are not ready for question Number Six. We must pace ourselves. Mustn't we, people? ...

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Strange Scene

Every now and then I find two or three items from my collection of juvenile ephemera (otherwise known as toys and games) that demand to be put together in the same narrative. Here is the latest, for which the legend reads THE GIANT DUCK OF TOPEKA HAD CLAIMED YET ANOTHER VICTIM PS IF THIS AMUSES YOU, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE YOU THINK MIGHT LIKE IT TOO!...

margaret ruthrford 3
Aunts (1946) Part II

Another installment of the enthralling form by H.F. Ellis from 1946. Coming soon: the answer to a question which might be troubling some of you.   PS IF THIS AMUSES YOU, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE YOU THINK MIGHT LIKE IT TOO! THE SHARE BUTTON IS AT THE TOP ...

george and thebeatles
George Martin & Nellie the Elephant & Me

I was a fan of George Martin long before I was a fan of the Beatles – though I didn’t know it until just now, when I read Mark Lewinsohn’s extraordinary Tune In, the first of his projected three volume biography of the band. What I learnt there was that in his role as head of the EMI record label Parlophone, George had produced some of the records I’d adored as a child in the 1950’s – including Nellie the Elephant (Off she went with a trumpety trump, trump, trump...

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An important form to fill in about your Aunts

Britain in 1946 was awash with official forms, many a hangover from wartime regulations, others brought in by the new Labour government. H.F. Ellis,who wrote for Punch, felt there needed to be yet another one, about Aunts. Coming soon:Part Two: How Many Aunts Must I have in order to make a claim?       PS IF THIS AMUSES YOU, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE YOU THINK MIGHT LIKE IT TOO!      ...

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Restoring a sculpture

When I'm not writing I make sculptures using old toys and games as my medium, and I've just finished restoring and adding LEDs to a sculpture I call Uptown Saturday Night. Here it is by day and by night. PS IF THIS AMUSES YOU, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE YOU THINK MIGHT LIKE IT TOO! THE SHARE BUTTON IS AT THE TOP ...

operation heartbreak
The Beauty of Pan Paperbacks

When I was growing up Penguin books were ubiquitous, elegantly presented and cheap. But also a little bit austere and even - for the under ten set -forbidding. For sheer excitement, on the other hand, Penguin's rival Pan went all out to make their books irresistable on the bookstand, and I still take great delight in their cover art to this day. Even if - perhaps even because - some of the draughtsmanship is rather gloriously bad. Here are three from my collection of Pan books dealing with World War Two adventures, of which there were...

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Airport video diary #2

My second video diary about the battle to turn Santa Monica Airport into a park. http://airport2park.org/video-diary-park-progress-episode-2/  ...

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A quiet place to work

Great Replies of Our Time Volume One: My very talented Production Designer daughter Rebecca Facebooked a picture of the eerie shrine she has just made for a murder show she's working on, and one of her fans asked "Is this something you're building for the TV show?" "No," replied Rebecca within seconds, "I was just looking for a quiet place to work." ...

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A Train called Thomas

Among the cultural event of 1946 we must not forget the appearance of a small blue railway engine. Duncan Forrester did not buy the first in the series, a book called Three Railway Engines by the Reverend Wilbert Vere Awdry, when it was published in 1945: at that moment he was driving a stolen German motor cycle along a mountain road in Bavaria. But he was back in England for the publication of the Rev. Awdry’s second book, Thomas the Tank Engine, in 1946, and saw it in Brown’s Book Shop,...

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I Know Where I’m Going

I've been giving some thought to the movies which might have been seen in 1946 by Duncan Forrester, the hero of The Age of Treachery, the detective thriller set in that year which Titan Books and Random House are publishing next month. One of the first he saw, had in fact been released in 1945, but he was still able to catch up with it in early 1946 at the Astoria cinema on Holderness Road in Hull, where his mother lived. The film was I Know Where I'm Going, written...

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The Punch of 1946

The venerable British humorous magazine Punch, which began life in 1841, was still going strong in 1946, the year my novel The Age of Treachery takes place. I've been able to get hold of one of the bound editions of the magazine from that year, and from time to time I'll post things you might find interesting. Nothing, I think, gives a better feel of a period than the things people might have been reading in trains, planes or in taxis, on their way to meet friends and enemies, chuckling gently at the gentle...