The words are taken from “Inside The Golden Days Of Missing You”, a song written by David Berman, American poet and songwriter with the band The Silver Jews.
My attention was recently drawn to the work of Dad’s Paper Signs from New Hampshire, USA.
Poster lettering has, I imagine, suffered an even worse decline than signwriting since the advent of cheap digital print shops and home printers, which is a shame as it appears to me to represent hand-lettering in its purest form as work of this nature seems more dependent on instinct in both the lettering style of the painter and his / her eye for layout, spacing and colour.
Again, it’s something I remember seeing a lot as a child, spending time at the family workshop – rolls of fluorescent paper adorned with fat, bold letters advertising sales and special offers – bright and visually striking.
The Southbourne Cliffs was a pub that I lived very close to for a few years in my twenties and frequented from time to time without ever stepping up to becoming a full-blown “regular”. A few years back the pub closed and was torn down.
Last year I saw the original pub sign for The Cliffs in it’s new home – hanging upon the wall in a lovely barbers shop in Southbourne that we were working on. The barber shop owner had happened upon it at a car-boot sale and managed to obtain it for a reasonable price, thinking it would sit perfectly amongst the vintage stylings of his new shop. It did.
Last weekend, while leafing through a book about pub signs by Paul Corballis that lives under my dad’s coffee table, I happened upon this photo of the very same pub sign in its infancy, being worked upon by staff at Brewery Artists, a subsidiary of Whitbread brewery:
I couldn’t find the date for the photo although, going by the beards, perhaps the seventies. But I loved seeing these two photos together – the pristine new sign with glossed frame being painted under close professional scrutiny; against the later version with its scuffed frame and still-bright but blemished and time-worn featured image, now taking it’s rightful place as something of value, an antique.