Category Archives: books

Ladybird Book Covers from the 737 Leaders Series (the 70’s)

The Ladybird Leaders 737 series were a collection of factual books aimed at young readers who had progressed beyond basic texts and wanted something more stimulating than Janet & John. Released throughout the 70’s, and totaling over 40 by the end of the series, the simple, bold style of the covers was one that stood out in the local Woolworths when I was a young reader. Being a boy, the Dinosaurs and Soldiers books were amongst the first bought, but the wonderful cover images conveyed the subject matter with grace and power. Here is a selection of them;

Links!!!  -brief overview of the 737 Leaders series. – interview with Patrick Armstrong, an author of several of the Leaders series.

all images courtesy of
Ladybird 737 Covers and Prints

The Horror of….the New English Library Book Covers (70’s and 80’s)

New English Library paperbacks. The penny dreadful of the 70’s and 80’s, the B Movie of the book world. Those well known residents of car boot sales, charity shops and landfill. The yellowed pages, with the first page marked in the top right corner with a 5p / 10p/ 25p value. The cracked and worn spines, the smell of mildew, the forlorn look of neglect. What NEL lacked in sophistication, they made up for in their cover presentation. While some covers explicity advertised the contents, others were a bit more obtuse. TWLB presents a small selection of some of the NEL horror back catalouge;


Post Apocalypse VII – The list (link)

Following on from the rather splendid photos of ‘The Road’ that have become available recently, is an exhaustive list of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction on Wikipedia – it is well worth a look, and gives me an excuse to put the poster of ‘La Jetee’ at the top of this post, for no better reason than it looks good and is included in the list;

Remembering Ice Lollies, pop men, Corona, Cresta, Sports Day and assorted junk food with The Cobwebbed Room &

On sports day at Longwood Primary School, one of the treats, alongside the fact there were no lessons on that day, was the arrival of the Ice Cream van. Either a blue & white or a yellow & white affair, with the Lyons Maid or Walls logo emblazoned on the back and sides and the various wares advertised with stickers on the serving windows. This symbol of our after school life, at school, was a very pleasant juxtaposition. Whats with the reminiscing? I’m coming to it.

Walls and Lyons Maid were the Lords of Lollies in the Seventies – Funny Face, Funny Feet, Bionic Lolly, Choc-a-bloc, Lord Toffingham, Haunted House, Pineapple Mivvi or, if your folks were particularly skint, a Lemonade Sparkle or Mini-Milk ….

Back to the point! The reason for my reverie is that 2 wonderful blogsites have reawakened my childhood memories of one of the best ice lollies I have tasted, and reminded me of the ice cream vans at sports day. This particular lolly was the one I always asked for after the egg and spoon race – it was called ‘Count Draculas Deadly Secret’, and not only did it have an amazing name, it also had a ‘deadly secret’ – that secret was the blood red jelly centre once you had eaten through the black lolly and white ice cream – aaagggghhhhhhhh!

Here is one of the press adverts, usually seen in comics of the time (around the mid 70’s) courtesy of both the the cobwebbed room and lewstringer.blogspot;

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That really does just jolt me back 30 years in an instant – amazing. This is where I found it;

and this site has loads more goodies – for instance, remember ‘Horror Bags’of crisps by Smiths?

not only, but also……Lew Stringers blog manages to drag a big carrier bag of junk food and drink related advertising goodness back to his site – there’s Cresta (which was up against Corona in a low budget British pepsi vs coke war) amongst other stuff. Does anyone else remember the pop man? He used to deliver Corona pop and you got ‘busy with the fizzy’ stickers and pop bottles in crates…..Anyway, Lew Stringers site is amazing – his blog is a real treat. Here’s the post – but the site is just great in general;

Fascinating history of Lyons Maid with lots of great pictures (like the ice lolly wrappers at the top of this post)

If you like food and nostalgia, this book could be for you – ‘Let Me Eat Cake’ by Paul Arnott

If you look here there’s an old advert for Anglo Bubbly bubble gum from waaaay back.

A request – Can anyone provide me with a link or a picture of a Lord Toffingham lolly wrapper? I remember it being a brown wrapper with a ‘Lord Snooty’ type illustration of a young man wearing a monocle. I would love to see one of those….

By the way, I found this on youtube – did you pass the Corona fizzical???

The Road by Cormac McCarthy – initial thoughts and George Monbiots view

I have just begun reading ‘The Road’, the 2007 Pulitzer Award winning book by American author Cormac McCarthy. Gripping, tragic, beautiful are all superlatives that do not do justice to the brilliance of this work. Set in a post-apocalyptic landscape (its terrible condition described in muted grey tones, dead twisted trees and clouds of ash), this is a story of 2 survivors, a Father and his young Son. The nameless pair travel this dying landscape trying to head South, towards some promise of hope.

McCarthys use of words is potent, the tone biblical and raging at times, poignant at others. I am only 50 pages in and I dont want it to end. Its a book I wish I could have written, but its a book created by a writer who is supremely gifted.

It is interesting as the comic book ‘The Walking Dead’ seems to be taking a direction that is vaguely similar to ‘The Road’. In that series, following cataclysmic events in issue 48, the focus will now shift to concentrate on a Father and Son surviving in a post-apocalytpic world. From issue #49 of that series we will see how closely these two works do resemble each other.

I intend to write more when I read the whole book. For now, I would like to direct you to an article George Monbiot (author of ‘Captive State’ amongst others) has written, praising ‘The Road’.

George Monbiot article from The Guardian newspaper praising ‘The Road’

The Road (novel) at Wikipedia

George Monbiot biography at Wikipedia

Cormac McCarthy biography at Wikipedia

Random House publishers – The Road

Indie Hits of the Eighties – from Spizzenergi to Electronic, and Bob!!

The May edition of Mojo has arrived. I dont get the same excitement from receiving it that I did a couple of years ago, but that is probably more to do with me than the quality of Mojo, which is generally very good. It’s just that now I get more of a buzz from holding the latest issues of ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘Infinite Horizon’ in my hands.

Anyway, Mojo can still produce fantastic issues full of articles that I want to read and this month is one of them – there is a big article on The Specials and The Black Keys, both well written, informative and great photos. In the ‘Ask Fred’ section, where there is a regular section on music resources on the internet, a short piece can send you into Indie raptures. That is, if you were an Indie fan between 1980 and 1989, then you really should check this out;

it is the online version of a book that Cherry Red publishes. Compiled by the late Barry Lazell, this is an exhaustive but thoroughly enjoyable resource cataloguing the Indie hits between 1980 and 1989. To clarify, this was at a time when the Indie charts were a seperate entity, detailing the burgeoning ‘DIY’ scene that incoporated such disparate talents as The Smiths, Dead Kennedys, Toyah & Half Man Half Biscuit (and so many more). For example, here is the first and last Indie number ones of the 1980s;

Where’s Captain Kirk? – Spizzenergi

Getting Away With It – Electronic

There’s an A-Z section covering all the bands whoever had an entry in the charts, and various stats lists (artists with most weeks at no.1, longest chart runs by albums).

As a child I would read Smash Hits (my first issue had David Sylvian on the cover, posing in a raincoat with a brolly). In Smash Hits they had the Indie top 10, and the summer of 1981 had such exotic entries as ‘Neu Smell’ by Flux Of Pink Indians. I would try to impress my primary school companions with this knowledge, but they were not impressed. Maybe I can try the same trick with my work colleagues now I have this resource available online? If nothing else, it will probably jog my memory on some of the stuff I have forgtten about after I embraced Indie (from about 1986 onwards). For example, Bands like Bob;

London-based guitar-pop quartet noted for their sharp songwriting, jointly fronted by vocalist/guitarists Richard Blackborow and Simon Armstrong, along with Jem Morris (bass) and Dean Leggett (drums).
KIRSTY (Sombrero OMBRER 2) (12″ only) 17 2 11/6/88
ESMERELDA BROOKLYN (House Of Teeth HOT 003) 12 2 28/10/89


You see, I have learned something already – the only single I have by Bob is called ‘Convenience’, and it obviously never made the charts. That is an injustice that I doubt we can fix with an online petition.


Cherry Red Records

Mojo Magazine

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