Monday, March 05, 2007

Pepto-Bismol and the Encyclopaedia of Ephemera

Bloody virus won't go away; despairing, I went and meeped at the pharmacist in Boots and he sold me a wonderful pink bottle of Pepto-Bismol. I've been carrying it around like a trophy all day- i didn't realise how much I wanted one till I got it!
It took me ages to get to Colindale on the tube to the Newspaper Library- I had three little references from Sounds to complete. But on the way i finished the lyric to a song called Apple; and when I got there, while I was waiting, I found, next to The Shipwreck Index of the British Isles, The Encyclopaedia of Ephemera. What a great book! I found out that in Victorian times, there were things called Long Songs; 50 to 100 ballads all printed on one sheet of paper, sold in streamers from hand-held staves at places like 7 Dials in Covent Garden; apparently when someone made up a new ballad they could be printed overnight for sale the next day, often paid for by a pint of ale, and were often pirated within 24 hours.
And in 1925 the Fez was banned in Turkey, in an attempt to modernise ( i.e. suppress Muslims) and there are loads of unused Fez wrappers around, many of which were printed in Czechoslovakia.
Apart from the microfilm spool whizzing off its spindle and nearly catching me in the face, it went swimmingly well; I'm only three days behind, but need sleep.


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