So, a little more about As It Is To-Day.
Firstly, if you haven’t looked at Open Library or the texts section of the Internet Archive, or Google Books recently, you’re missing out. It’s provoked many a sharp intake of breath, as reems of books about any topic you happen to type in appear. It’s the closest to the Total Perspective Vortex I’ve encountered – the weight of previous thought compressed into all these books is mindblowing. I’m reading a few hundred at a time using Stanza on the iPhone (sure, OCRing old books often has problems, and lack of annotation sync is annoying, but it’s better than anything else I’ve found so far). The Archive just keeps on growing – and I thank all those universities and libraries for keeping random, obscure books on all sorts of topics for us to enjoy now.
The original plan was to take some great books from the 1800s (such as London As It Is To-Day), break it into readable chunks, and blog them, with geotags and metadata to make it easy to find and digest. This will still happen – eventually – but I was reading so many books, and finding more books referenced or mentioned by them, that it’s become a project of a far different scale to what I’d imagined. Rather than let it fester, I thought I’d start by throwing together a newspaper or two, featuring bits of books I found interesting, especially pieces that would be rather too long to read on screen happily.
Here are the books used in the first issue:
The London Adviser & Guide, John Trusler, 1790
The Great Western Railway Guide, James Wyld, 1839
London As It Is To-Day, H G Clarke & Co., 1851
Hints to Railway Travellers, “By an old stager” (R.S. Surtees), 1852
London of To-Day, Charles Eyre Pascoe, 1890
Inns and Taverns of old London, Henry C. Shelley, 1909
The Gourmet’s Guide to London, Liuet.-Col. Newnham-Davis, 1914
London Restaurants, “Diner-Out” (Alfred Manning Foster), 1924
The Heart of London, H.V. Morton, 1925
London in Pictures, LCC, 1937
For what it’s worth, most of the layout could have been done using Newspaper Club’s ARTHR engine, but I created the layout myself, using 10pt Times and Grotesk No 9 in various sizes (and then printed by the good folks at Newspaper Club). Do stick exactly to the size requirements they have – I went a little over, and I think the paper has been scaled slightly to fit.
More on the trials and tribulations of posting such objects another time…
But – please buy one. (yes, Paypal is a bit flaky at the moment – apologies)
If this one sells well, there are plans for more – possibly on food & drink. Or railways. Or cowboys.
Looks kewl. Would really like to see it. Ship to Denmark? (couldn’t via the paypal-link)
email: chris is at anti-mega.com