My shiny little online spot to help y'all keep track of me while I galavant around London.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Front Page

I had a few hours to kill on Friday before heading back to Dan's -- as I don't have a key yet -- so I wandered over to the British Library to see an exhibition on newspapers.

I've previously gone to the Library (and yes, it deserves a capital letter) to do research. It has every possible book you could imagine and then some. Previously located in the British Museum, the collection needed more space and was moved to this new building a few years ago. And keep in mind how massive the BM building is... so yeah, the collection is ridiculous.

It's the kind of library where you look up your selection, write it on a card and then hand it to staff, who will fetch it for you while you wait at a numbered desk. Rifle thru the shelves yourself? Ha, don't be silly! Take the book home with you? Don't be absurd.

So much fun. When I die, if there is indeed a heaven, and I'm somehow allowed in it, I would not be disappointed if it looked something like this library.

Anyway, that's a major digression. I had time to kill, and the Library had a cool and free exhibition called Front Page, which chronicles the past hundred-plus years of British newspapers.

Well-curated, the pages are not done chronologically, but by subject area, so you can compare how a paper in 1895 and 1914 and 1962 and 1989 and 2003 dealt with disasters, politics, sports and -- of course -- royalty. It's all very well explained, and it's cool -- for a news geek, anyhow -- to see classic covers and ones from major events. And, intriguing to see all the different design and layout looks from over the years.

Moreover, it's a celebration of how totally awesome the newspaper is. As the British Library people write in their program -- wonderfully produced in newspaper format in newsprint -- for the price of less than a cup of coffee, you get comment, opinion, fact and entertainment which will make you think. Can't argue with that.

Also in that publication is a note on subeditors, and how they are often derided (by editors and writers alike) at work and ignored/unknown by everyone else. In honor of subs, the exhibition picked a headline they think sums up how creative the best subs are... A Scot on a sports desk wrote this gem after Inverness Caledonian trounced Glasgow Celtic: "Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious". Worthy of a pulitzer, that is.

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Blogger Will said...

Respect to that sub, but you have to take into account the fact that he clearly thought it up three years then had to wait for the story to happen.

I have a few like that in my head, ready to go. Just you wait...


Blogger Daorcey said...

Wha?! Advertising on your blog? I'm shocked!

Even if I did click on it ;)


Blogger Dinah said...

The British Library has just popped onto one of the places I need to go. It sounds great.



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