Category Archives: Fontastic

Typography and the erotic ways of hot metal

Revisiting San Serriffe

The most excellent Strange Maps blog has just published an article about The Guardian‘s fondly remembered 1977 April Fool supplement on the island of San Serriffe.

(Well, I say fondly remembered, though I do not personally remember the, fondly or otherwise, seeing as I was only rising one at the time. Over the years I became aware of it, though, by way of the 1999 reboot of the spoof, and also in much the same osmotic way as I know about the Tomorrow’s World piece on spaghetti trees.)

Talking of fake-stories-as-Grauniad-news, I am reminded of the (and correct me if I am wrong) 1976 piece the paper published in which a reporter related the story of his chance encounter with a member of the SAS on a train.

The journalist – a sceptic of the British military strategy in Northern Ireland – had recently been writing about the deployment of SAS troops to the province, and in none too complimentary terms. IIRC he suggested they were swaggering cowboys who offered little to the peaceful resolution of the Troubles.

And lo, by complete serendipity he happened to meet one such soldier (in civvies) on an InterCity, who, during the course of a spontaneously-struck up conversation, turned out to be articulate, erudite, and anything but macho. His opinions on British policy in Ulster shifted slightly, and he wrote up the story for the paper.

Then many years later it transpired that the whole ‘chance encounter’ had been a psyops fabrication; the journalist had been picked out as a possible target and a well-briefed and affable serviceman been placed on a train he was known to be travelling on in order to casually strike up a conversation with a view to modifying his opinions.

I’ve no idea whether that is a true story, as I can’t remember where I read it. Perhaps I imagined it? But it sounds like it might be a Colin Wallace one. I know the original story exists, as I read it in one of those Guardian Yearbook thingummies which they used to publish.

Can anyone fill in the details? The source of this tale swimming round my rapidly-shrinking brain? The journalist it seems to be about? The year, even?

A Royal Futura beckons

royal futura

I’ve been watching Wes Anderson films recently (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) and came across an interesting if brief page about his repeated use of the Futura family of typefaces:

Mark Simonson ‘Royal Tenenbaum’s World Of Futura’

MFIWWCNPE #003: Women of letters


One of my favourite links, this: 2000 AD Review – Annie Parkhouse & Ellie De Ville Interview.

It’s a wonderful interview from back in April 2005 with two letterers (the unsung heroes of the world of comics), who have some rather fascinating things to say about the ninth art, much of it unflattering.

Misogyny, health problems, pretentious writers, difficult artists, arsey editors, crappy money, agoraphobia and, um, kinesiology – it’s all in this interview. And their take on the shift from hand-lettering to DTP fonts is well worth reading by anyone with even the slightest of interests in such matters… Though letting letterers use computers seems a bit like handing Tantalos a step ladder and a bucket – surely we shouldn’t be making things this easy for them? Surely we want them to suffer with “failing eyesight, clawed fingers and bent back…no social life or interesting conversation”?

As something of a postscript, I’m saddened to discover veteran letterer Tom Frame died last summer. I didn’t realise, I’m very much out of the 2000AD loop. But a big shame nonetheless. ‘Tom Frame’ is just one of those phrases I’ll always associate with what comics gave me.

MFIWWCNPE #002: Movies+Typefaces=*HEART*

The Slave Of The Cannibal God

Steven Hill’s Movie Title Screens Page does as it says.

A unique catalog of movies…specifically, screen captures of movie title screens!

That is all.

Captive Wild Woman

Filthy fonts

Memory Lapses (font)

Looking for some dirty, wobbly, sketchy fonts? Then have a ganders at Eduardo Recife’s Misprinted Type site – 19 free fonts, as well as 5 paid-for ones…